Ukraine holds first local elections since 2010
For the first time since 2010, when the country was still being led by former President Viktor Yanukovych, the people of Ukraine will go to the polls today in local government elections.
They will be choosing from 350,000 candidates to fill 168,450 positions in oblasts (provincial councils) and local councils. Of these there are 209,546 candidates contesting 28,589 councillor seats in oblasts and local councils. In city mayoral races there are 2,763 candidates contesting 358 positions. Candidates for the mayoral contests in the 35 largest cities have to gain more than 50% of the vote to get elected. Where that does not happen, a second round runoff will take place on 15th November.
Local elections will not be taking place in the separatist controlled Donetsk (91 councils) and Luhansk (31 councils) oblasts or in Crimea. There are 29,815,753 voters as of 5th October, with 132 political parties vying for their votes. As a result the vote is likely to be very segmented.
An IFES poll put President Poroshenko’s and Kyiv Mayor, Vitali Klitschko’s Solidarity bloc on top, but with just 12.8% of the vote. Poroshenko has been struggling recently and his popularity has fallen with the same IFES poll suggesting that only 32% have confidence in the president.
Poroshenko is likely to be challenged by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her Batkivshchyna party if they do well and the IFES poll suggests that they are on 10.5% support.