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Mayor of Kyiv – Yulia Tymoshenko?

August 6, 2015

Currently it appears that, despite the fact that the Samopomich Party will probably not vote in favour of the constitutional amendments that provide for “decentralisation”, the Constitution changing required 300 plus Rada votes are there to be had – either at an extraordinary Rada session to be held sometime between 24 – 28 August, or in September when it reconvenes.

The basic broad brush strokes of what “decentralisation” means regarding power moving to the periphery is outlined within this entry.

The local elections at the end of October also include the office of Mayor in several key cities – Kyiv being one.

It is now almost a certainty that Yulia Tymoshenko will run for that office against current incumbent Vitaly Klitschko – and others candidates undoubtedly.

Tymo

Clearly, the ex-Prime Minister is not (and never would be) happy with the public role of being simply the leader of a minority coalition partner.  It is a role that carries far too little media space and (populist) political and policy weight.

As she is somebody that you work for, or by default are working against, but not with – and being the (media grabbing) head of the capital city may be a far smaller pond than being Prime Minister of the nation, but it is about being a (populist) political/policy big fish – even if it means down-sizing the pond to accomplish that.

As Mayor of Kyiv she would become the high profile big fish within the local governance of the capital city – something her ego would undoubtedly prefer to her current position.  Further, the new constitutional parameters both grant additional power and also protection to the role, notwithstanding so written are the constitutional amendments that Article 4 of the European Charter of Local Self Government potentially provides a great deal of scope for local government leaderships.

On the presumption that she will run for Mayor of Kyiv (and it is all-but guaranteed), it will be interesting to see how her campaign works (though fortunately in Odessa your author will be spared much of it).  She has clearly not abandoned her stock-in-trade populism, as her recent very public support for an economically illiterate law relating to foreign currency loan conversions illustrates.

That said, her opinion poll ratings have risen, albeit she would be no challenge to President Poroshenko (as of the time of writing).

This ratings rise however, may well be due to her name still being nationally known, but her current position providing greatly reduced policy resonance with the electoral constituency  – and thus with fewer people hearing (as opposed to listening to – there is a difference) her populist nonsense, it has the effect similar to that of her keeping her mouth (more or less) shut – This has allowed the perception of “too little, too slowly” to come to her political aid by default.

It follows therefore that how little and how late the actions of Mayor Klitschko have been in Kyiv may well translate into a surprisingly better result for Ms Tymoshenko than is perhaps to be expected prima facie – if (and only if) her campaign is more or less devoid of her trademark (empty) populist rhetoric/nonsense that would lead to her undoing by her own hand – or rather mouth.

Can she run a populism free, (sensible) policy first campaign, and how poorly has Mayor Klitshcko performed in the eyes of those in Kyiv?

If she loses, will she eventually take the hint that her political future will only be found within the safety of “party lists” and proportional representation, rather than single mandate, first past the post votes?

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