Key points and trends:
Parliamentary elections were held democratically, freely and openly. Ukraine once again succeeded in passing test on democracy. Only few majoritarian electoral districts were detected involving dirty technologies, clones, illegal agitation and single cases of bribing voters.
The turnout was only 49.8% (as experts of Democracy House predicted), which is the smallest number in the entire history of the elections in Ukraine. The highest activity of voters was observed in the East and South of Ukraine, while the West, the North and the Centre had a relatively low turnout. However, according to forecasts by sociologists and experts, the turnout in industrial cities was expected to be lower than in rural areas.
The most accurate sociological survey before the parliamentary elections was made by the sociological service of the Razumkov Centre. Numbers of the Razumkov Centre and the national exit poll coincided with the results of the parallel counting of party votes and the official counting by the CEC.
According to the results of the exit polls and the first data of the CEC, the new Parliament will include the Servant of the People (43%), For Life (12.5%), European Solidarity (8%), Batkivshchyna (7.5%) and Voice (6% ) (at the time of preparation of this material, 40% of protocols were processed by the CEC).
There are 6 political parties that did not pass to Parliament, but overcame the 2% electoral threshold. They will receive state funding. Opposition bloc, “Strength and Honour”, Radical Party, Ukrainian Strategy, Svoboda, Party of Sharii are among them.
Based on the National exit poll data, the distribution of seats in the Verkhovna Rada of the new convocation by party lists will be approximately the following:
“Servant of the People” Faction – 126;
“Opposition Platform – For Life” Faction– 33;
“European Solidarity” Faction – 26;
“Batkivshchyna” Faction – 22;
“Voice” Faction – 18.
One of the main conclusions of this campaign is the victory of the “Servant of the People” brand over the regional elites and “money bags”. For the first time, known politicians like Serhii Kivalov, Viktor Baloha, Yaroslav Moskalenko, Ivan Rybak and other influential regional functionaries lost elections in their districts. Representatives of the party of Zelenskyi beat their rivals with great margin having neither reputation nor good experience.
The next task of Zelenskyi will be a reload of local authorities, and most importantly – elections in the capital (Kyiv). They may take place in October 2019.
Representatives of the “Servant of the People” project won in majoritarian constituencies. According to preliminary data, Servant of the People will have 125 to 130 mandates in the majority districts. Representatives of “For Life” (approximately 6-8 majoritarian MPs) and the Opposition Bloc (about 4) won in the single-mandate constituencies in Donbas. According to preliminary data, “Voice”, “Batkivshchyna”, and “European Solidarity” will have only two MPs each from the majoritarian districts. Presence of majoritarian MPs is a prerequisite for the creation of a full-fledged faction.
Thus, the “Servant of the People” forms a monopoly coalition with the number from 245 to 250 MPs without party partners. The main question is whether the “Servant of the People” manages to create a constitutional majority with the participation of the rest of the “deputy swamp” and potential partners from Batkivshchyna and Voice. The constitutional majority is needed to resolve the issues on Donbas, removal of parliamentary immunity and even the development and adoption of a new Constitution.
A strong parliamentary opposition to Zelenskyi will be the faction “For Life” (Medvedchuk’s faction may buy up MPs and count up to 60 MPs) and “Solidarity” (up to 30 MPs). However, there are risks that these parties will not receive positions in parliamentary committees, but use TV channels to form their own agenda.
Obviously, the posts of the Speaker and the Prime Minister, as well as the force block and anti-corruption infrastructure will go to the “Servant of the People”. Dmytro Razumkov (the quota of the oligarchs Surkis brothers) may be nominated for the Speaker’s position. The position of the Prime Minister will be discussed between the oligarchs and Zelenskyi.
The monopoly of the “Servant of the People” has a number of opportunities and risks. First, in the new Parliament there will be no balance of checks and balances, the Ze-team and the oligarchs will have absolute power. Secondly, Zelenskyi’s mega-faction will be difficult to control due to many groups of influence and oligarchic interests in it. Thirdly, poor preparedness and low level of competence of future MPs may have a bad effect on the quality of lawmaking. At the same time, Zelenskyi’s team has a very large window of opportunity for reform, fighting corruption and stabilizing and boosting the economy.
There is a risk that the absolute power of the team of Zelenskyi may lead him to a struggle for enrichment, creation of new conditions for friends-oligarchs, curtailment of freedom of speech and threats to democracy. Now Zelenskyi’s team will be responsible for everything happening in the state, and in the long run, this may lead to a loss of ratings and a crisis of legitimacy.
Western partners and lenders should put more pressure on the new future government in order to intensify the reforms, fight against corruption and the support country’s transition to democracy.