Elections to United Territorial Communities: Results, Trends and Prospects of the Parliamentary Political Parties

The first phase of local elections to UTCs was won by the party of power "BPP-Solidarity", which with the help of technological projects "Nash krai" (eng. Our Land), "Agrarian party" and non-affiliated candidates will form its majority in a significant number of territorial communities. With high probability, the government will use this winning scheme in the next parliamentary elections. Second place went to the party "Batkivshchyna", which was able to take a clear niche of opposition against Petro Poroshenko. "Batkivshchyna" received high scores due to the operation at the local level, pension and land reforms. However, against the background of the campaign of the Radical party of Liashko and the Opposition bloc, technological projects of power – "Nash krai" and "Agrarian party" significantly strengthened their positions, and maintaining the existing electoral dynamics they have a good chance   to get into the new parliament. The presidential administration went to the elections in several columns, which allowed the authorities to obtain very good results. In particular, in the East and South of Ukraine the project "Nash krai" showed very good results, which allowed to get ahead of the "Opposition bloc", which is in the midst of the organizational, ideological and financial crisis. In turn, new technological power project "Agrarian party" was able to impose electoral fight to the "Batkivshchyna" and the Radical Party of Oleh Liashko, whose voters are concentrated in villages and small towns. "Agrarian party" also criticized land and pension reforms, which allowed it to compete for voters in the opposition. The presence of significant financial resources and strong human asset on the ground, allowed the "Agrarian party" to get the high fourth result. Also, the presidential administration can record the considerable part of deputies-independent candidates who, after winning the election will come in the ruling party, or will support "BPP-Solidarity". According to the data of CEC, totally 269 of independents won in the elections. Thus, the results of local elections in the UTCs a landslide victory was obtained by the ruling party "BPP Solidarity", which with the help of independents and party-affiliated projects received about 60% of the seats in local councils. Second place was awarded to the party "Batkivshchyna", which at the local level had a successful campaign based on critics of land and pension reforms. It is also worth noting that the party "Batkivshchyna" has one of the strongest party and organizational structures in Ukraine, which for the past 15 years regularly took part in election campaigns. The analysis of the results of local elections shows that the best results belong to the party of Yulia Tymoshenko in the central and southern regions of Ukraine. In these areas small and middle-sized farms are particularly developed, they very painfully react to the sale of land that is actively used by the party "Batkivshchyna" in the process of political competition. The low results of the elections in the communities were also demonstrated by the Radical Party of Liashko, whose main competitors were "Batkivshchyna" and "Agrarian party". Also the parliamentary party "Samopomich" and "People’s Front" also took part in the electoral process and they showed very weak results. This is due to the overall drop in ratings of the parties of Yatsenyuk and Sadovyi, as well as very weak institutional and party structures. It is interesting to note that "People’s Front" decided to keep distance from "BPP", and in some regions still prepared their candidates who won the election. The party "UKROP" demonstrated very good performance in its base region Volyn and Western Ukraine in general. The relative success of the party "UKROP" was due to the failure of another nationalist party "Svoboda", which failed to gain a foothold in Central Ukraine. Another player on the right wing – "National Corps" of Biletskyi did not participate in local elections. The new party of Valentyn Nalyvaichenko "Sparevedlyvist" (eng. Justice) appeared, and it received 20 seats in the community. The party of Nalyvaichenko was trying to push the maximum number of its candidates for all districts, thereby demonstrating its desire to participate in the next parliamentary elections. One of the main trends of local elections is the participation in the election campaign of regional political projects, such as "Cherkashchany" or "United center", focused on the regional elite, with large resources and strong influence in the certain communities. Elections were held in conditions of mobilization of the administrative resource by the party authorities, who tried at the expense of independents to maximize their representation in the local councils. Local elections in the UTCs demonstrated the fact that political parties have actively fought for financial sponsors who are already eyeing the potential of successful projects that can be funded in the next parliamentary elections. Thus, without exception, all political parties consider local elections to UTCs as a rehearsal before the parliamentary elections. The administration of the President can count on the continued electoral success through independent candidates, the project "Nash krai", which competes with the Opposition bloc and the "Agrarian party", which is seen in Bankova Str. as the main electoral opponent of Radial Party and the "Batkivshchyna." For Yulia Tymoshenko, this election showed that her party is perceived as one of the few opposition alternatives regarding the structure of government of Petro Poroshenko. The ideological and organizational weakness of the Opposition bloc, voter fatigue from radicals and nationalists opens for "Batkivshchyna" a good electoral prospects. The first results of elections in UTCs also showed the increased influence among nationalist voters of the party "UKROP" which gradually absorbs the people’s and organizational network of "Svoboda" and other right-wing parties....

Anatoliy Oktysiuk