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Mid-term election results Ukraine – What do they mean?

July 21, 2016

It is perhaps time, now that all of last week’s 7 mid-term election results have been declared in Ukraine, to ponder what, if anything, the election results reflect.

Who are the winners, and who are the losers in the big, and perhaps slightly nefarious and opaque picture?

Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party took two of the 7 contests seats, and thus have two more parliamentarians within the Verkhovna Rada.  Not enough to make any difference to party successes – or more accurately stated party failures – within the current Verkhovna Rada.

Alone, and outside the majority coalition it remains an impotent political force within the national legislature, with few other “democratic opposition” parties keen to ally with Yulia Tymoshenko, or alternatively, with Yulia Tymoshenko unwilling to ally with other “democratic opposition” parties.

The result does however, perhaps point to a significant improvement in the Batkivshchyna Party fortunes as and when the next Verkhovna Rada elections occur (be they early or scheduled in nature).  Nevertheless, there would be few genuinely willing political parties keen to join a coalition under Yulia Tymoshenko coming out of the other side of any forthcoming Verkhovna Rada elections.  There is far more to Ukrainian politics than simply winning parliamentary seats – successful coalition building is a requirement on the way to power.

A win for Batkivshchyna, though perhaps of limited current or future use.  What it will do is increase the on-going efforts of Batkivshchyna centre, to find and market future regional candidates early via the party provincial offices.

It was, if not a prima facie good result for the Presidential Administration and presidential parliamentary party, not an especially bad result either.

Irina Konstankevich and Victor Shevchenko, winners in Volyn and Carpathia, regardless of the party label under which they were elected are very close to people who are very close to Ihor Kolomoiski.

So small is the current coalition majority within the existing Verkhovna Rada, it has become apparent that when votes that really matter occur, the Kolomoisky backed “Will of the People” often vote along coalition lines – even if his other political parties and “owned/rented” parliamentarians don’t.

The inference being a grubby deal has struck between President Poroshenko and Mr Kolomoisky behind the curtain to provide “enough” votes when it truly matters.  A reader can only speculate upon the exact nature and scope regarding the reward Mr Kolomoisky gets in return.

Ergo, there will be few that will be surprised if these new, closely Kolomoisky associated parliamentarians vote with the government on crucial issues per grubby Poroshenko-Kolomoisky deals behind the curtain.

Thus far, Ms Tymoshenko is up 2, Ihor Kolomoisky is up 2, and President Poroshenko can perhaps borrow 2 under certain conditions.

Maksym Mykytas and Tetyana Rychkova also won seats running as “independents” with perhaps more than the tacit backing of the Presidential Administration – a clear indication of where their vote will go far more often than not.

Further, Serhiy Shakhov of Nash Krai took Luhansk.  Nash Krai was created by the Presidential Administration as a party of ex-Regionaires that will be reasonably supportive, take the presidential line on crucial votes, and is also a party created to split the old Party of Regions voter base with the intention of preventing it consolidating behind the “Opposition Block” that limply crawled from the ashes of Party of Regions immediately following the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych.

In short, if not by transparent hook, then by an opaque and perhaps grubby hook, the president and his party have not done badly at all.  Through smoke and mirrors they are up 3, with the possibility of borrowing 2 in a crisis.

Which brings about the losers,

The unambiguous loser has been the Opposition Block who traditionally could have expected to win 3 of the regional seats up for grabs where they historically held very safe seats in the nation’s south and east as the former Party of Regions.

Indeed these elections are perhaps most notable not for the electoral gains, be those gains direct or indirect, nor for any shift in power within the national legislature, but for the loses within traditional Party of Regions/Opposition Block political turf.

toxic

Opposition Block therefore, perhaps can be perceived to be down 3 – and remain toxic.

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