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A week later and no election result – Odessa (& Ukraine)

November 2, 2015

Voting in the local elections across Ukraine occurred exactly one week ago – yet the results are not officially in.

Today the OSCE Long Term Observers left Odessa heading to Kyiv and then onwards to observe 2nd Round voting on the 15th November where “run offs” for mayors will occur.  Clearly that they have left Odessa indicates there will be no 2nd Round of voting in Odessa for the position of mayor and that Gennady Trukhanov will remain in post.

The 64 City Hall Deputies are already known, though there appears to be no official confirmation – perhaps due to on-going issues before the courts over election rigging – some of which the courts are in agreement with – in this alleged case ballot stuffing in favour of Sergei Kivalov.

The international observers all leave despite the votes for the Oblast Rada still being counted some 7 days after election day, and no official results announced.  Why so slow?

snailxing

However, the Oblast results will be as follows, even though the counting of ballots continues and theoretically are still an unknown:

Solidarity/Block Poroshenko – 22 seats

Opposition Block – 23 seats

Trust Affair (Trukhanov) – 11 seats

Batkivshchyna – 11 seats

Nash Krai (Anton Kisse) – 7 seats

Vidrodedzhennya (Kolomoisky front) – 7 seats

This is “a known outcome” within the local political circles, despite the fact counting continues and results are therefore not officially known nor announced.

It creates an interesting question as to who will form a coalition with whom?  To that, as of the time of writing, there is no answer, for the grubby and nefarious deals are still being struck.

Theoretically the Kolomoisky backed Vidrodedzhennya with Trukhanov’s Party (he is a backer of Mayor Trukhanov) = 18 seats.  Firtash/Liovochkin via the Opposition Block = 23 seats.  Poroshenko 22 seats.  All 3 oligarchs fairly evenly represented.

Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna would be loathed to be in a coalition with Opposition Block due to the personal hostility between Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Firtash.  They made decide upon either Poroshenko, per the national coalition agreement, or perhaps less likely, Kolomoisky and the  Vidrodedzhennya/Truth Affair tandem.  A decision there will be however, in order to remain relevant.

Anton Kisse’s Nash Krai some may surmise will be naturally orientated to Opposition Block where many fellow ex-members of Party of Regions sit, but there are also ex-members of Party Regions within Solidarity.  Mr Kisse’s priority is the continued uninterrupted patriarchy and network arrangements that have served Ukraine so badly over the past 25 years.  As the “party of businessmen” those “businessmen” rely on their patriarchy network.  As the Governor, prosecutor, police and customs chief are all the “Governor’s people” and thus Poroshenko people, it seems most likely Nash Krai will side with them and thus Solidarity – until a power shift at which point across the aisle it will go.

Nevertheless, grubby deals are still being struck and allegiances will be made upon what is best for the leaders of the minor parties (rather than their constituents).

It also raises the question of who will be the next Oblast Rada Chairperson.

The candidates would appear to be Mykola Skoryk of the Opposition Block, a current MP in the Verkhovna Rada and a previous Governor – who is also a Firtash/Liovochkin man through and through, tasked with protecting their interests in the Oblast.

There is also Maria Gaidar, Governor Saakashvili’s preferred Oblast Chair and part of “Team Saakashvili” – a format that may well morph into an official political faction/party in due course.

It is also clear that another Solidarity/Block Poroshenko election seat winner, Yuri Maslov actually wants the role.

None of these candidates seems likely to easily garner enough votes from the newly successfully returned Oblast Rada deputies to get the job of Chair.

However, your author knowing the results before the results are known is not the point of this short entry.  The point of this entry is that an entire week, and counting, has passed for the Oblast Rada election result, yet counting still continues (after all international and many domestic observers have left).

Is there any credible reason why it takes more than a week to count the electoral ballots in the Oblast?  In a cynical and skeptical society, this hardly does anything to give trust in the process or the eventual officially announced results – to say nothing of any private eyebrow raising by the international community.

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