Ukrainian Election Outcomes

October 28, 2014

Ms. Natalia Shapovalova, an Associate Fellow at a European think-tank for global action, Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior (FRIDE), has published an analysis of the results of Ukraine's recent election, as truncated below. 

The eighth Ukrainian parliament will be pro-Ukrainian, pro-European and hopefully pro-reform. Following the departure of Viktor Yanukovych from power in February, early parliamentary elections were one of the central demands of the Euromaidan protestors (presidential elections were held in May) as a necessary step towards genuine political change in the country.

While the victory of President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc was long predicted, the election results are surprising in many respects. For instance, the Popular Front party led by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and speaker of the parliament Oleksandr Turchynov came first.

The electoral campaign was marred by irregularities, such as attempts to buy votes, secretive campaign financing and a few cases of harassment of candidates. But these irregularities were less numerous and far less significant in terms of impact on the results than in the 2012 elections, according to non-governmental election watchdogs.

The composition of the new parliament should enable a strong pro-European majority to carry out promised reforms. These include the fight against corruption, reform of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, public administration reform and decentralisation, tax reform and business deregulation.

The new parliament will also host several dozens of members who have been associated with corruption and the previous regime. The old guard will be the main ‘brake-pushers’ of the reform process. Put simply, political corruption and the power of oligarchy in Ukraine will persist, unless a new electoral system based on proportional representation and open party lists combined with new legislation on transparent party and campaign financing are introduced.

The ‘gear-shifters’ of the reform process – civil society activists who are present in each party list of the main pro-European parties – are not many, but the hope that they will bring a wind of change to Ukraine’s politics is high. Ukraine does not have much time to start changing itself, and the costs of not reforming could become toxic for its statehood.



Read the full article on the FRIDE blog
Photo courtesy of National Democratic Institute


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