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Local Elections: Low Turnout, Falling Support for “Servants of the People” and Growing Popularity of Pro-Russian Forces

elections voting

More than 10.5 million eligible voters took part in the local elections in Ukraine on Sunday, 25 October. This is 36.88% of the total number of voters.

The Press Service of the Central Election Commission reports about it.

They also noted that the highest turnout was in the Ternopil region – 44.68 %; the lowest one was in Donetsk – 31.67 %.

In fact, the voting took place amid an increase in the number of people infected with the COVID-19 virus throughout Ukraine.

According to a poll, one in five voters did not go to the polls due to health problems, some people could not vote due to a residence permit, and there were those who did not know who to vote for.

The Committee of Voters of Ukraine stated that the results of the local elections cannot be questioned, and the voting itself will be recognised as valid, despite the low turnout.

Meanwhile, the Civil Network “OPORA” stressed that local elections in Ukraine were competitive, and they were held. Each campaign within the territorial communities is unique, so the overall assessment is positive.

“The general assessment is positive; however, it does not indicate the absence of problems during the election process. “OPORA” recorded quite mass violations of the procedure for organising and conducting elections, campaigning, incidents related to violations of the rules of campaigning and their financing,” said “OPORA” coordinator Olha Aivazovska.

According to her, if the Parliament had approved amendments to the Electoral Code of Ukraine in advance, all participants would have been on equal terms. Currently, only parties could run in community elections, giving rise to the notion of a “party franchise.” Aivazovska stressed that the state did not fully provide anti-election funds with election commissions, so some members of such commissions refused to work.

According to experts, the result of the presidential party “Servant of the People” is significant in this local election. In the largest cities, candidates from this force did not even go to the second round in the fight for the mayoral seat, and according to party lists, the party is in third place (for example, in Kyiv, wherein the 2019 parliamentary elections in all major constituencies of Kyiv the representatives of “Servant of the People” won) or even lower.

The Chairman of the “Servant of the People” party, Oleksandr Kornienko, has already stated that he does not consider the 2020 local elections a failure for the majority. According to him, this is an important event for the country, which should change the lives of Ukrainians for the better.

At the same time, experts note the growing popularity of opposition parties with pro-Russian views, in particular, the “Opposition Platform – For Life.” These forces received significant representation in the south and east of Ukraine. Accordingly, they will try to develop this success in order to make the most of the situation in the next parliamentary elections, which may be held early.

The final results of the local elections in most local communities can be established in three to five days. However, the Central Election Commission stressed that they expect a judicial test of the election results, and in some territorial communities there will be a second ballot in the mayoral election.

Bohdan Marusyak

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