People overboard: What will happen to parties that fail to get to the Parliament?

Author : Natalia Lebed

Source : 112 Ukraine

According to the surveys of the Rating group, among the impassable parties are Strength and Honor, which 3.8% of voters are ready to support, then comes the Opposition Bloc with 3.1%, followed by the Ukrainian Strategy of Groysman (2.8 %), Civil Position of Anatoly Grytsenko, the Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko (both have 2.4% each) and Svoboda party (2.3%)
22:14, 10 July 2019

The latest polls confirm that five political forces will receive seats in the Verkhovna Rada. However, life rages even below the waterline, that is, the passage barrier. According to the measurements from the Rating group, among the impassable parties are Strength and Honor, which 3.8% of voters are ready to support, then comes the Opposition Bloc with 3.1%, followed by the Ukrainian Strategy of Groysman (2.8 %), Civil Position of Anatoly Grytsenko, the Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko (both have 2.4% each) and Svoboda (2.3%).

Some of the listed political forces, however, retain a chance to jump over the 5 percent barrier. After all, all sociologists know a simple law: the lower the voter turnout, the lower (in absolute votes) the passing barrier is. In the recent elections in the districts, the turnout was 45%, so it is likely that it will be about the same in the early parliamentary elections. It is calculated that with a turnout of 60%, in order to overcome the passing barrier, political parties need to collect a million votes, and at 45% - only 600 000.

Still, Fortune may not be so favorable to the outsiders of the current races. And then the question arises, what will they all do after the election? The answer directly depends on the purpose for which the mentioned parties were generally involved in this fight.

Groysman: the goal is the premiership

Take, for example, Ukrainian strategy of Groysman. The rebranding of this party was timed to the elections, and it was nominated for the race as a purely technical one, in particular to intercept votes from the European solidarity of Poroshenko. Even its name is similar in structure to the name of the political power of the ex-president: a “geographical” adjective plus a noun meaning an abstract concept. Although it is a miserable one, it’s still a chance that a not very attentive voter will confuse “European solidarity” with “Ukrainian strategy”.

However, the main thing is not this, but the prime minister ambitions of Volodymyr Groysman. His calculation was not to become the head of his own faction, as to retain the post of head of government. Just a month ago, this seemed impossible: the newly elected president Zelensky publicly humiliated his colleague right during the inauguration, demanding resignation from Groysman. However, the prime minister managed to gain confidence among the Zelensky team.

Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine's PM

As Vadym Karasev, Director of the Institute of Global Strategies commented, the current friendship between Groysman and Zelensky is based on the premier’s complete loyalty to the appointment of new governors. The latter would not have received their posts without the consent of the Cabinet of Ministers, and it was provided by Groysman. A political scientist Kyrylo Sazonov draws attention to the recent words of Zelensky’s colleague Dmytro Razumkov. “The chairman of the Servant of the People party said that the next prime minister is likely to be acting figure. That is Groysman,” Sazonov stresses. And he adds: it is significant that such statements are heard not from the president himself, but from his inner circle. It seems that everything has already been decided, even without the participation of Zelensky.

Returning to the Ukrainian Strategy, we note that in the event of its failure to enter parliament, the fate of the party will depend on the career success of the leader. If Groysman maintains the current status quo, he will have a resource for the development of the party, and if not, the Ukrainian strategy will probably be pushed to the sidelines. At least until the next election.

Political old-timers: the goal is to stay afloat

The Civil position of Grytsenko, the Lyashko Radical Party, and Svoboda of Tyagnybok — it is difficult to imagine the political landscape of Ukraine without these names. But at the same time (here's the paradox!), the parliamentary successes of these parties are rather modest. The Civil position, being registered by the Justice Ministry in 2005, never won the parliamentary elections at all, and its leader also never won the presidential elections.

Svoboda is in a better situation. Once, namely in the 2012 elections, the party managed to overcome the passing barrier. In addition, the party has existed for much longer than the Civil Position: under various names, Svoboda has operated since 1991. It has repeatedly won the elections to local authorities and majoritarian districts, even now it has several representatives in the Verkhovna Rada and will lead them to the next convocation. That is, this party will still be present in parliament.

The Lyashko Radical Party was created in 2010; in 2012 it lost the parliamentary elections, but in 2014 it won. As for the attempts of the party leader to become president, there was a failure. The media have repeatedly pointed out that the figure of Rinat Akhmetov looms behind Lyashko: he is the main sponsor and beneficiary of this political force. And since there is no profit, the main investor can lose any interest in the Radical Party.

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Some alarm for Lyashko sounded already, when in April of this year the Chairman of executive committee Yury Zinchenko left the Radical Party. He is a person associated with Akhmetov. "Akhmetov will cut financing," was the unanimous opinion of the experts who commented on this situation. Whether this happened or not - the story is silent about this. Meanwhile, Lyashko himself is building his campaign on harsh criticism of President Zelensky. And Akhmetov, who is currently looking for approaches to the new government to compensate for the loss of Rotterdam +  may not like it. On the other hand, criticism of Zelensky can help Lyashko to win: dissatisfaction with power is growing, and the rating of Servant of the People began to fall and is approaching 40% of support (from a maximum of 51%).

Svoboda perhaps has the most advantageous position of all the political old-timers. This year, representatives of other right-wing forces are on its list, and their electorate is coming to the polls with them. “In summer, turnout will be traditionally low. And nationalist voter turnout will be close to 100%, because they are very responsible and mobilized. Svoboda can really overcome the 5% barrier,” said political scientist Petro Oleschuk.

But if it fails, then the future of this party becomes clear enough: Svoboda will live. After all, although the right-wing idea now does not find such a response, as it was several years ago - during the Revolution of dignity and at the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war, there is still a stable stratum of voters in the country who support nationalists.

Smeshko’s new face: all depends on luck

It would seem that Igor Smeshko has the best chances of passing to the parliament from political forces of the second echelon. However, not everything is so rosy here. No matter how hard Igor Smeshko tried, but only his memories remained of his presidential rating. And "Strength and Honor" froze in place, balancing on the verge of passing. And most importantly - the rating of the party is not growing. Obviously, they need to strengthen the campaign, otherwise they will not see the gallant general of the SBU in the parliament, Viktor Taran notes.

If Smeshko went to the presidential election in order to dilute Poroshenko’s electorate (this was the general opinion), then more successful players are dragging his own voter - the Servant of the People and Batkivshchyna, and Holos of Vakarchuk. In case of failure in the elections, Smeshko is unlikely to continue his political career, because, most likely, his goal was to play the role of technical candidate under Petro Poroshenko, and since the role was played, the actor can be free.

In general, newcomers with a claim to “new faces” (previously called “the third force”) do not take root in Ukrainian politics. The tradition to search for “new” was founded at a time when communists opposed the Narodnyi Rukh in the Rada. Vitaly Kononov and his Green Party tried to introduce the first fresh stream, and that was more than 20 years ago - in 1998.

In 2006, several parties went with the “new faces” - New Force headed by Yuri Zbitnev, PORA-PRP, where the first number was Vitali Klitschko, etc. And in the early elections in 2014, Samopomich played the role of the “third force”, and played quite successfully, but now Andryi Sadovy’s party doesn’t even come close to the passing barrier. And it seems to be returning to the level of the party of one city. No matter how Sadovy indulged himself with all-Ukrainian ambitions.

Akhmetov’s goal - the search for situational allies

Back to the current election. The last in the list of those who are within the limits of statistical error is the Opposition bloc of Rinat Akhmetov’s entourage. 3% support is, of course, too little for the ambitions of the richest oligarch. However, do not forget that half of the parliament will be elected by majority districts, and if the Civil position or Strength and honor cannot boast that they have “their own” districts, then in the Oppobloc they have such.

At the same time, for the Oppobloc itself, the unpleasant signal is that its nominees, such as Boris Kolesnikov and Vadym Novinsky, are running in single-mandate constituencies. And their choice testifies to a rather weak faith in the Oppobloc.

If the Opposition bloc does not go to the Parliament, which is very likely, then Akhmetov and his lobby will have to negotiate with individual MPs for individual votes. Regarding the Oppobloc, in the event of its failure to get into parliament, everything will depend on the readiness of the main "investor" to continue this project. Political analyst Andriy Zolotarev says that Akhmetov made a serious mistake by supporting the nominee from the Oppobloc in the presidential election "by residual principle", making the main bet on Petro Poroshenko.

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