Local elections in Ukraine

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31 October 2020
Dr. Olexiy Haran

Head of Research, Professor of Politics 

Biography: shorturl.at/CLSU9

Overview by Olexiy Haran, Prof. of Comparative Politics, University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Research Director Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), on recent local elections in Ukraine.

General background
•Benefits of decentralization and amalgamation of communities: high price of elections
•COVID-19 influence: local vs central authorities
•Ukrainians are more afraid of lockdown than pandemic
•40% of party mandates ought to be distributed to women
•New electoral law: partyzation of local elections in the communities (from 90,000 to 10,000 inhabitants)
•Coalitions (or ad hoc situation voting) in local radas seem to be inevitable
Only 34% know about party office in their city (DIF,Aug.2020)
Division of seats in oblast radas (SoP data)
•SoP — 20% (43% votes in party slates in 2019)
•European Solidarity — 16%
•Opposition Platform — 13%
•Batkivshchyna  — 10%
•For Future- 7%.
But it does not represent the real situation on the ground!
Parliamentary parties debate national, not local issues
•Opposition Platform for Life – social issues, peace in Donbas, pro-Russian slogans (1st  place in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Mykoliv, Kherson regions)
•European Solidarity – against Russian revanche
•Batkivshchyna – social issues (pensions, communal tariffs, salaries)
•Servant of the People is using President Zelenskyy’s trips around the country  (opening of roads, stadiums, social infrastructure).
Threat of Feudalization
•Parliamentary parties are using all-national divisive slogans
•MPs are heading parties’ local lists. 
•However, in Mariupol, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro Opposition Platform – For Life is competing with parties of local mayors.
•South and East are not controlled by one party as it was before 2014, more pluralistic picture
President uses party, not state symbols