Zhittya – Rabinovych rebrandsJuly 27, 2016
In mid-May an entry appeared relating to the less than harmonious departure of Vadim Rabinovych and his “Centre Party” which formed part of, and exited the Oppo Block Party. Indeed to say it was less than harmonious is to be charitable, with Mr Rabinovych and Mykola Skoryk trading very public, barbed and acrimonious statements.
The “Centre Party” is now no more. It was renamed and re-branded on 26th July. It is now called Zhittya (meaning Life in Ukrainian).
The “new” (renamed) political entity will pursue a platform of a neutral Ukraine with pragmatic relations with its neighbours, focusing upon transforming the national economy to one led by agriculture, IT/Hi-Tech, and banking – which is very much the transitional economic trajectory Ukraine is already on. Ergo no change in the priorities for economic and market development.
The usual declarations of a serious fight against corruption, the defence of human rights, and a splash of populism regarding “extortionate rates” are needless to say also part of the party manifesto and rhetoric.
The party will also court the SME and entrepreneurial votes that are definitely the target demographic of the Dem Alliance and Khvylya too. It will be a very congested contest for this demographic it seems, and despite the fact that Mr Rabinovich is a sly, prickly, entertaining, certainly not stupid, long-standing politician, it is somewhat questionable as to whether he will gather significant traction within his target voter base.
He is wealthy, but not wealthy enough to finance and promote a new/re-branded political party. Thus this is either a particularly brave political move, which is doubtful for a politician as long in the tooth as he, or a backer for the Zhittya Party has been secured with sufficient money and influence to promote the party in a forthcoming election that will feature several new and/or invigorated parties.
Mr Rabinovych has already been joined by another (until 3rd June when he left) Oppo Block faction parliamentarian, Evgen Muraev, owner of NewsOne media, who arrived in parliament as an independent. However, even together it seems unlikely they can fund an effective political campaign without further backing from somewhere, or somebody (probably from behind the curtain).
How many parliamentarians are Zhittya expecting/hoping to have elected when the next elections arrive? Which seats will it contest, for it is unlikely to pass the 5% proportional representation threshold if standing and financing entirely unsupported by “others”.
If reduced to single seat mandates its electoral successes will be very limited indeed even if its energy draws several frustrated Oppo Block parliamentarians to it who are tired of doing very little in the comatose ranks of the Oppo Block.
Whatever the case its chances of implementing any of its declared political manifesto are naturally zero if alone, and extremely limited as part of a larger vehicle unless there is policy overlap.
Therefore, to which political faction would it gravitate and join? Will it return to the Oppo Block Party fold as a constituent part despite a fairly fractious recent history – or the more encompassing yet looser association of the Oppo Block faction – or will Mr Rabinovych head away from his traditional “Regionaires” comfort zone?
Numerous ex-regionaires feature in Nash Krai. They also do within Block Poroshenko. Potential political faction resting places perhaps? Nash Krai would seem the most obvious alternative to the Oppo Block, but would they want Zhittya and Mr Rabinovych even if he wanted them?
Maybe the issue has already been sorted out prior to the re-branding and it will be from these unknown quarters that sufficient electoral funds and backing will come – with faction membership following thereafter.
Whatever the case, it is always rather fun, albeit occasionally a distasteful experience, to follow the exploits of Mr Rabinovych – perhaps more so now he will wish to give Zhittya a bit of a PR lift post re-branding.