Kyiv mayoral elections: Political configuration of key candidates

Author : Natalia Lebed

Ruling Servant of the People party is interested in holding early elections in the capital as soon as possible, but there is no evidence that the race will take place in early December
11:17, 16 October 2019

Elections in Kyiv
112 Agency

Director of the sociological service "Ukrainian Barometer" Viktor Nebozhenko said that "many interesting people" would appear in the upcoming mayoral elections in Kyiv – Roman Bezsmertny, Oleh Lyashko, Volodymyr Groysman, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, and Oleksandr Turchynov.

Moreover, Vadym Karasiov, the director of the Institute for Global Strategies, also adds MP David Arakhamia. Andriy Zolotariov, the head of the Third Sector center, adds Andriy Palchevsky, and political scientist Oleksiy Yakubin mentions Yevhen Koshevoy, businessman Garik Korogodsky, ex-mayor of Kyiv Oleksandr Omelchenko, and ex-head of the Kyiv City State Administration Oleksandr Popov. Korogodsky is really going to self-nominate (this is confirmed, in particular, by journalist Sonya Koshkina). Perhaps Omelchenko also has a desire to do it.

But if we put those who can (at least in theory) take the post of the capital's mayor on the list, it might include: 1) current mayor Vitaliy Klitschko; 2) a candidate (or candidates) from the Servant of the People who (or who) have a chance to go on a high rating of Zelensky and his political forces (though, if there are two such candidates, this will greatly complicate their task); 3) one vivid candidate from the conditional opposition (it might be Serhiy Prytula); and 4) one self-nominee who is not associated with political parties (for example, aforementioned Palchevsky).

Vitaliy Klitschko

Vitaly Klitschko

Vitaliy Klitschko

The latest attempts by the authorities to kick Klitschko off the Kyiv City State Administration office, obviously, only added to the sympathies of potential voters. We say “obviously” because today there is no sufficiently balanced sociology on the election of the Kyiv mayor. The opinion poll conducted by the Rating group indicates that Vitaliy leads the top three. Oleksandr Tkachenko and Serhiy Prytula go right behind him.

Related: Klitschko about dismissal from post of Kyiv City State Administration Head: It is illegal

“The defeat of Klitschko is equal to Kolomoysky’s victory in the battle for Kyiv,” says Vadym Karasiov. “And everyone who does not want this will be forced to bet on Klitschko because there is no other candidate. In a certain way, Palchevsky could have played such a role, he is an independent figure and he would unlikely enjoy the support of Zelensky’s team."

Candidate from the Servant of the People

This political force is extremely heterogeneous, and now the Kolomoysky group is waging an active undercover struggle against the Soros group, as Karasiov points out. Kolomoysky’s group is represented by Oleksandr Tkachenko, the former CEO of 1+1 TV channel. Tkachenko has a rather high rating, but what will happen to him if another candidate suddenly starts running from Servant of the People?


MP Davyd Arakhamia

It would seem that party discipline should exclude such an option. But the recent demarche of Oleksandr Dubinsky, with his sharp accusations against the party, proves once again: anything is possible in Ukrainian politics. According to Karasiov, current head of the Servant of the People faction Arakhamia might be nominated to Tkachenko’s sparring partners. But this is not the only option.

Related: Klitschko vs Zelesnky’s team: All you need to know about elections in Kyiv

“Today, two teams are fighting inside the Servant of the People for the right to go from Zelensky to the mayors of Kyiv. There is the Privat team, represented by Tkachenko, but he does not suit a significant part of the party. But the final decision on who exactly to nominate from Zelensky has not yet been made. This might not be Tkachenko, nor another representative of Privat,” Ruslan Bortnyk, the director of the Ukrainian Institute for Analysis and Policy Management, comments.

Opposition candidate

Now neither the Opposition Platform - For Life, nor European Solidarity, nor Batkivshchyna have articulated the names of their potential candidates. Therefore, Serhiy Prytula from Holos party is a potential candidate.

"No party has nominated anyone yet. Every three days some kind of unknown polls appear, predicting a new candidate for mayor. Now it’s more important not to invest in the manipulation of candidates, but to support prestigious party brands that enable organic rating growth," says political analyst Mykola Davydyuk in an interview with the media.

But let's imagine that Prytula will go to the polls. Would Servant of the People nominate showman Koshevy then? And what would be the “battle” between the two applicants?

Since Prytula has recently been away from big politics, this might mean his desire to “tie up” with party affiliation and with any electoral plans. Actually, while everyone carefully weighed Pritula’s chances for mayor, he himself did not say anything specific about whether he wants it or not.

Related: Mayor Klitschko urges Ukraine’s parliament to dissolve Kyiv Council

Independent candidate

The situation with Andriy Palchevsky looks almost similar. He has not yet made any decision. Andriy Zolotariov does not exclude that the Servant of the People might not support Palchevsky’s candidature. “Tkachenko has no 100% chance of being nominated from the Servant of the People. He is a non-public figure and, accordingly, little-known to the general public," says Zolotariov.

However, in the end, neither the origin nor the personal merits of the candidate will have advantages where everything is decided by political expediency. Perhaps Zelensky will support Palchevsky.

Political scientist Oleksiy Yakubin notes that the party of the Servant of the People is interested in holding early elections in the capital as soon as possible, but there is no evidence that the race will take place in early December. Actually, no one is sure of this. The capital is waiting for the election and the mayor.

Related: Klitschko arranges helicopter tour over Kyiv for Tom Cruise


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