Local elections result predictions – Odessa

August 28, 2015

Following on from yesterday’s entry and the numerous questions raised regarding prickly agendas and subsequent local election political fallout, extremely unfairly a reader emailed and asked for predictions regarding Odessa and the local elections – this before any candidates and party lists have been formalised.  Solidarity meets later today to select candidates and form lists, and it is probably going to be the first to reach agreement and publish.

But, for what it’s worth and based upon nothing more than living in Odessa for more than a decade and having a passing interest in politics, here is a (probably wildly inaccurate come the vote count) prediction as of the time of writing – including a very naughty (though legal) possibility.

It is of course necessary to deal with the City and the Oblast separately.

The first issue regarding the city, is who the assimilation of UDAR, National Front and Solidarity will put forward to run against the current Mayor, Gennady Trukhanov.

We will know later today, but to be blunt there are no good candidates.

The previous Mayor, Eduard Gurvitz?  At 67 years old and a “colourful” history?

If not him, who?  Who else has any current traction or political history with the city electorate (discounting Governor Saakashvili who features later)?  Sasha Borovik?  It seems unlikely the Governor would allow his “project manager for Odessa” to run when he would clearly lose to the current incumbent.

Obviously all numbers stated in this entry are “educated guesswork” but Mayor Trukhanov will probably garner anywhere between 55 – 60% of any votes cast for Mayor – possibly more being able to misuse city resources, owning almost all “big board” advertising space, having his on-line media, printed media, and TV channels – notwithstanding being the current incumbent and regularly in the local media as Mayor anyway.

Can Solidarity come up with a candidate to beat him?  No.

Short of an act of God – or an act of the rule of law, it seems highly likely that Mayor Trukhanov will comfortably remain Mayor Trukhanov.  His political party by association, will possibly garner somewhere between 15 – 20% and be a large party in the City Rada – though clearly not a majority, thus a coalition partner will be required.

Igor Markov’s Party Rodina will be a wipe out, as will Ihor Kolomoisky’s Ukrop.

Sergei Kivalov’s Morskaya Party will get somewhere between 5 – 7% (far less than the 10% he is aiming at).

Batkivshchyna and the Radical Party will probably both manage between 5 – 7% too.

Now for the difficult question of the Opposition Block.  As stated yesterday, “How toxic does it remain at a local level? It is important to draw a distinction between local and national politics. Perhaps it will do better than many think.”  In the city elections about 20 – 25% would be a realistic.  More in the Oblast, about which later.

Sergie Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine may get between 4 – 5% (and at 5% get over the line).

Samopomich, which will contest only the city and not the oblast elections, will possibly get between 10 – 15%.

Thus, for those doing the math, Solidarity may garner about 20 – 25%.

It follows then that City Hall will be messy – and a coalition of ex-Regionaires in Mayor Trukhanov, the Opposition Block and Kivalov’s Morskaya puts Solidarity in the opposition seats – and there are few if any remotely plausible coalitions that will put Solidarity into a majority.

And so to the Oblast.

This is far more difficult, as Samopomich will not contend the Oblast seats – probably because it would not do that well, so why spent the money and political energy?

Starting with the Opposition Block, a reasonable figure would be between 25 and 30% – possibly more.

Bativshchyna and the Radical Party about 5 – 7% each.

Solidarity about 20 – 25%.  Possibly more (but not much more) in the absence of Samopomich.

That leaves a massive 30% of unknown/undecided which is possibly more inclined to head toward the Opposition Block than Solidarity when it comes to a choice.


Now to Governor Saakashvili and his “pull” factor – which is probably about 30%.

The Governor is not a member of any political party, although he has been offered Number 1 spot on the UDAR list, which will become part of the Solidarity list after the announced assimilation.

Later today we will see if he accepts the nomination when the (combined) Solidarity list is thrashed out.

If so, he may very well be the difference between a Solidarity majority (or coalition with a minor party) or Solidarity finding itself in the minority in both City and Oblast Radas.  A minority in both would be something of a disaster for “the centre” in Kyiv.

Thus do not be surprised by the end of today, if Governor Saakashvili joins a political party and becomes their Number 1 name on the Odessa Oblast list.

If that be so, be further prepared for some legal, although not particularly ethical, political shenanigans.

The entire point will be to use Governor Saakashvili’s “pulling power” to try and get Solidarity as the majority (with or without minor coalition partner) in the Oblast Rada.

However Governor Saakashvili cannot be Governor – or Prefect following the “decentralisation amendments” on 31st August – and also an elected candidate for the Oblast Rada.  He would have to resign from one or the other positions after the vote count and results are known.

As Number 1 on somebody’s list, he will surely get elected, leaving him a choice of appointed and powerful “Prefect”, or elected, possibly in a minority, or majority coalition, subject to the whim of any appointed “Prefect” that replaces him.

Clearly he will decide to remain the appointed “Prefect” and assume the power that comes with the role.

Thus he would almost definitely resign from his newly elected role as Oblast Rada Deputy – after having used his “pull power” (or being used by “the centre”) to perhaps pull Solidarity over the Oblast “majority” line.  The voter however does not get an elected Misha Saakashvili, but continues with Governor/Prefect Saakashvili.  What they do (possibly) get is a Solidarity majority (with or without coalition partner) that otherwise would have been far less probable.

Perhaps a clue to the accuracy of the percentage guesstimates above will indeed be whether Solidarity (and UDAR plus the National Front) feel they need to use Governor Saakashvili in this way to be even remotely optimistic of an Oblast majority – knowing he will resign from the elected Oblast rada role to remain Governor/Prefect the entire time.

In short a legal, but rather underhand and ethically questionable politicking tactic.

Time will very soon tell just how accurate the political shenanigans and percentage guesstimates above actually prove to be.  The blog will either look rather well informed/insightful, or alternatively rather silly – however the caveat of being asked to make such predictions before candidates have even been selected is a rather useful “get out” clause!

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