New parties with old faces perform well in local elections
Ukraine’s local elections on Oct. 25 saw a whole range of new parties gain seats across the country. Yet, behind the new facade, there were plenty of old faces.
The 94 percent of election results available on Nov. 9 show that three new political parties — Our Land (Nash Kray), Revival (Vidrodzhennia) and UKROP (Dill) — made it into top 10 country-wide in popularity.
Our Land already received more than 4,100 seats in the regional and local councils, becoming the third among party lists after the Bloc of President Petro Poroshenko and ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party. UKROP took seventh place among the parties with more than 1,800 seats in councils, following by Revival with more than 1,500 seats.
The experts say that Our Land and Revival have been largely formed to shelter the escapees from ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, while UKROP is a political project of billionaire oligarch and former Dnipropetrovsk governor Ihor Kolomoisky.
Now these parties have a local base from which to convert their electoral — and possible future governing — success into seats in the national parliament
Après les nouveaux habits du Parti des régions, un nouveau parti d’oligarques…
The success of UKROP party has absolutely different grounds.
A creation of billionaire Kolomoisky and infamous Dnipropetrovsk businessman Gennady Korban, the party positioned itself as a “patriotic force.” Party’s full name literally means “Ukrainian Union of Patriots.” UKROP (or dill) is also the way Russian-backed separatists derogatorily call the Ukrainian soldiers.
Kolomoisky and Korban were credited with preventing the separatist advancement in the summer of 2014 by financing volunteer battalions and various PR campaigns. Now the prosecutors accuse Korban of running an organized crime group.
Another factor which contributed to UKROP’s success is financial – the party had one of the most expensive campaigns with a massive number of billboards advertising the party.
… et les nouveaux micro-partis locaux.
The local elites are responsible for dozens of the new parties created this year.
This way they tried to create the illusion for the electorate that the new people and new ideas stand behind them, Fesenko of Penta said. The local elites also wanted to show the government that "they are neither for nor against Kyiv and can continue on as they always did,” he added.
One more reason — the local elites do not want to pay the unofficial fees to get on the lists of the bigger parties. Similarly, parties like Bloc Petro Poroshenko might not want these local elites for fear they could tarnish their reputations, especially if they are too close to Kyiv, Fesenko said.