Why, despite the Maidan, did the Ukrainian opposition lose the repeat elections in the majority constituencies?

Posted by Valeriy Kucheruk on 19/12/13
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Except the events on the  Ukrainian Maidan, which the whole world is now talking about, Ukraine held repeat elections last Friday in the five so called “problematic” majority constituencies.

Their results shocked and surprised everybody – despite the general “revolutionary upsurge” in the country; the victory in the four out of the five constituencies was won not by the representatives of the opposition but the self-nominated candidates, who are indeed the representatives of the authorities. The opposition does not recognize the results of the elections and claims they were rigged but the majority of the Ukrainian experts have every reason to believe that the defeat of the opposition candidates was naturally determined.

A little bit of history. These five majority constituencies became “problematic” precisely one year ago when the country held the general parliamentary elections. Despite the fact that according to all the data the victory was obtained exactly by the representatives of the opposition, the pro-governmental candidates did everything possible to make the Central Election Commission disprove their results. It must be observed that it became an unprecedented step – neither the election law nor the actual election results provided for the cancellation of the results of the voting reflected in the protocols.

The question of calling the repeat elections in these constituencies became a reason for vigorous parliamentary discussions for many months and it was decided upon only in the autumn this year – when the Ukrainian parliament was fulfilling the requirements of so-called “Fule’s list” at a rapid pace. It must be remarked that calling these elections was one of the points on the mentioned list.

However, after the oppositionists managed to call the elections, all their work in the given constituencies …stopped. It is better to say it ceased to be so intensive and consolidated as it was a year ago. If a year ago every candidate constantly presented themselves as the representative of the united opposition, now this message was only delivered at the start of the campaign, and not very loudly. In fact, the candidates in most cases were left on their own – the leaders of the opposition parties in Kyiv engaged in the traditional intrigues against each other and then in organizing the Maidan and trying to head it.

The very candidates from the opposition could be seen more frequently in Kyiv’s squares rather than in the regions where they were supposed to be during the active phase of the election campaign. Thus, the main problem for the oppositionists was the lack of clear coordination and support on the central level and the exaggerated hopes for the ratings of one year ago.

At the same time it must be observed that the actual candidates from the authorities learnt their lessons from the previous campaign and conducted systematic work in their constituencies during the year. Yes, except concrete work, there was bribery of voters and the use of the administrative resources, and even removing the opponents through court. However it must be understood that: all these things have been practiced in the Ukrainian election process for decades; but if approaching this issue in earnest, it is possible to effective combat them. Every action of the opponents’ technologists can be parried with the counter action and there is an antidote for every poison.  Nobody seems to have dealt with it systematically hoping for the “consciousness” of the electorate and the dissatisfaction with the authorities on Kyiv’s Maidan. Nobody managed to finally understand that in fact the election – is a complicated technological process which has to be managed by the professionals with cold heads.

Today, visiting the Maidan, I often hear the appeals by the oppositionist for the early local, parliamentary and presidential elections to completely “restart” the authorities. However, the elections last Sunday showed that at the moment the opposition is practically unable to lead a quality election campaign and to effectively oppose the rivals. That is why no such appeals are needed, better – not.

 

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