Far-right party renaissance during Ukraine's local elections

Source : 112 Ukraine

Svoboda party, after its political agony, gains new electoral areas
14:56, 29 October 2015

Regular local elections, held on October 25, indicated the uprising level of support of far right and nationalistic party Svoboda (leader – Oleh Tyahnybok). Surprisingly, the far-right force embraces new electoral areas within the country and new cleavages take place. According to figures of exit polls, parallel calculations, and official reports, there is the next picture for Svoboda party in regions of Central Ukraine: 6.2% of votes in Zhytomyr region, 8% in Sumy, 8% in Kyiv region and near 11% - in Kyiv city, 7% in Cherkasy, and 5% in Kirovohrad. For comparison, in Lviv region, basic for the nationalists, representatives of Svoboda received 13%


Traditional electoral base of the party is Western Ukraine, more precisely – Lviv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, consisting so-called Halychyna. Electoral success of Svoboda and its reaching local councils in regions of Central Ukraine demonstrates that the political force is restoring its former influence. 

Popularity of Svoboda rises despite of scandals than occurred at the party organization after the incident on August 31, which took place on protests near the Verkhovna Rada against passing amendments to the Constitution. Then, someone from the mob, gathered by nationalistic parties including Svoboda, threw a combat grenade on the law enforces, causing four soldiers of the National Guard to death and more than hundred – to different wounds. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has accused Svoboda and its leader Tyahnybok in involvement into this crime. Several party members were arrested.

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Recalling, on 2012 parliamentary elections Svoboda received 10% of votes nationwide, with more than 5% in all regions of the West and Center. During the Maidan, far nationalists from Svoboda were one of the most active parties of anti-Yanukovych opposition. After the dramatic events of Revolution of Dignity, Svoboda suffered some electoral decrease – Tyahnybok received only 1.5% on presidential elections, the party wasn’t able to reach 5% barrier and create a fraction on parliamentary elections year ago.

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