All change in general election today
Ukraine will go to the polls today in an early general election brought on by the fall of the government earlier this year, the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and the unrest in the east of the country. The next election was due to take place on or before 29th October 2017.
In theory, 450 seats are up for election to the Verkhovna Rada, but that is reduced to 423 seats with the loss of seats in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk. The Central Elections Commission has reported that the elections will not be held in nine of the 21 seats in Donetsk, six of the 11 seats in Luhansk and all 12 seats in Crimea. This means that 27 of the 225 seats that are elected in single member seats will not be elected. All the 225 members from the national proportional list system with a 5% threshold will be elected as normal. In all, some 4.4 million voters out of the 36,504,624 million registered voters will not be able to vote in the elections today.
Because of the upheaval in Ukraine earlier this year there is no real comparison with the 2012 election when the then President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions won 185 of the 450 seats in parliament.
In this election there are 29 parties and 6,627 candidates standing for election. The Party of Regions dropped in the opinion polls from 30% support in 2012 to less than 2% and has since been reorganised into the Party of Development of Ukraine.
Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna or the All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” has also flopped from 25.6% in 2012 to around 4.7% today, but another poll gives them 10.4% which would give them some seats.
The new party of choice appears to be President Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc which is on 24.2% of the vote. A pro-European populist party called the Radical party, formed in 2010 is on 8.6% of the vote and Civil Position is somewhere around the 5% threshold for representation. The far-right All-Ukrainian Union “Svoboda” looks like it won’t pick up seats in the new parliament. Although the People’s Front, a new party formed in March 2014 by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleksandr Turchynov (Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada) is on around 7% of the vote and should pick up seats.
Voting will take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.