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14 January 2020

Opinion polling: the 2020 forecast

In a comment to Radio Liberty scientific director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Oleksiy Haran shared his forecast for the year 2020.

What will happen to President Zelenskyi, the government and the Parliament? “According to the new law, elections will be held on the proportional basis. In the last election ‘Sluha Narodu’ (Servant of the People) party scored 43 per cent, I guess they will score less in the present situation. Elections are always unpredictable. Approval rating of the authorities is objectively falling in any case. I think it is unlikely that Zelenskyi will be risking.

He succeeds in keeping his rating high, not least by means of populist decisions that we have been witnessing lately.

It will be hard to keep holding his rating high as he will need to make unpopular decisions, for example, on the land market.”

Actual reforms coming? “Authoritiesdo have accomplishments. The question is if they are going to listen to the demands of experts and of the civil society. For what it takes the land we see that the authorities have slowed down. They see the protests that are justly happening, and the law was not passed in the high-speed mode. If they keep listening and there is a dialogue, it will be right.

At the same time I don’t expect such openness in the future, because we see how some decisions and appointments are made. There are political persecutions, the Sheremet case is also very illustrative. The question is if the authorities are going to stick to the law or not.”

Are mass protests to be expected? “(The probability of) mass protests is 16 per cent (percentage of Ukrainians who expect mass protests in their cities, according to an opinion poll by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation). Sixteen per cent also claimed ready to take part in such protests. It comes obvious that they are a minority, but active minority should be enough for serious protests.

Some illegal actions by the authorities may cause mass protests. If the Sheremet case is falling apart or there is a move to discredit the veterans and the military while the arguments by the authorities will turn to be a failure and will fall apart in court, it is possible. Mass protests can also come as a response to economic failures: the land reform, (increased pressure on) registered entrepreneurs natural persons (FOP) and, definitely, should they give in to Russia.”