Elections in Ukraine

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This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Ukraine

Elections in Ukraine are held to choose the President (head of state), Verkhovna Rada (legislature body), and local governments. Referendums may be held on special occasions. Ukraine has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which often not a single party has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Legislation[edit]

Elections in Ukraine are held to choose the President (head of state) and Verkhovna Rada (legislature). The president is elected for a five-year term. The Verkhovna Rada has 450 members and is also elected for a five-year term.[1][2][3] In the last (2012) parliamentary election a mixed election system (50% under party lists and 50% under constituencies) was used.[1]

A snap poll must have a voter turnout higher than 50%.[4]

Ukraine’s election law forbids outside financing of political parties or campaigns.[5]

Presidential candidates must had residence in Ukraine for the past ten years prior to election day.[6]

The election laws were slightly modified on 20 December 2013.[7]

Local elections[edit]

Under the Constitution of Ukraine, the term of office of the heads of villages and towns and the council members of these villages and towns is five years.[8]

Past legislation[edit]

The parliamentary election law has been changed 4 times since 1991.[1][9] Before 1998 all the members of the Parliament were elected by single-seat constituencies (from each electoral district). In 1998 and in 2002 half of the members were elected by proportional representation (faction vote) and the other half by single-seat constituencies. In the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary election, all 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada where elected by party-list proportional representation with closed lists[10][11][12] (the same goes for local elections).[13]

In the 2010 Ukrainian local elections four years was set for the office of the heads of villages and towns and the council members of these villages and towns.[8][14]

Voting patterns[edit]

In the elections since 2002 voters of Western and Central Ukrainian oblasts voted mostly for parties (Our Ukraine, Batkivshchyna)[15] and presidential candidates (Viktor Yuschenko, Yulia Tymoshenko) with a pro-Western and state reform platform, while voters in Southern and Eastern oblasts of Ukraine voted for parties (CPU, Party of Regions) and presidential candidates (Viktor Yanukovych) with a pro-Russian and status quo platform.[16][17][18] Although this geographical division is decreasing.[19] The electorate of CPU and Party of Regions is very loyal to them.[18]

A 2010 study by the Institute of Social and Political Psychology of Ukraine found that in general, Yulia Tymoshenko supporters are more optimistic compared with Viktor Yanukovych supporters. 46 percent of the Tymoshenko’s backers expect improvement in their well-being in the next year compared to 30 percent for Yanukovych.[20]

Voter turnout[edit]

From 1994 till 2007 the average voter turnout for the Verkhovna Rada elections had been 68.13%[21][22] The total voter turnout in the last (2012) parliamentary elections was the lowest ever with 57.99%;[23] The lowest turnout in these elections was in Crimea (with 49.46%), the highest in Lviv Oblast (67.13%).[23] The voting turnout for Presidential elections is always higher than for Verkhovna Rada elections with an average voter turnout of 72% since 2004 (67.95% in the last (2010) Presidential election).[21][24]

The most popular presidential elections were the first one in 1991 where nearly 30.6 millions people voted and in the 2004 election which gathered some 28 millions. There were only three presidential candidates who have gathered over 10 millions votes: Leonid Kravchuk (1991 - 19.6, 1994 - 10.0), Viktor Yushchenko (2004 - 11.1), and Viktor Yanukovych (2004 - 11.0). The 10 million voters mark was almost reached by Leonid Kuchma in 1999, but he only managed to gain trust of 9.6 millions. To this day Kravchuk is the only presidential candidate who managed to win the elections after the first round obtaining over 50% of votes in 1991. The person most frequently participating in presidential elections is Oleksandr Moroz who stood in every presidential election since 1994 when he gained the biggest support of some 3.5 millions, while in 2010 for him voted less than 0.1 million. Viktor Yanukiovych became the strongest runner-up in the history of presidential elections, while Leonid Kuchma - the only runner-up of the first round who managed to pull a win in the second one. Thus far the top two presidential candidates always would get support of over 5 million voters each.

Perceived flaws in legislation[edit]

Despite a clear system for declaring donations to campaign funds, officials and experts say that Ukraine’s election law is consistently flouted, with spending from candidates’ official funds representing only a fraction of the amount truly spent while it’s rarely clear where the funding comes from.[25]

Early May 2009 the "The Committee of Voters of Ukraine" stated they believe that the use of the state’s administrative resources by political forces for their own national and local election campaigns is no longer a decisive factor in the outcome of Ukrainian elections.[26] According to a survey of 2,000 people conducted in October 2010 by two Ukrainian nongovernmental organizations, the Democratic Initiatives Fund and OPORA, one in five Ukrainians were willing to sell his or her vote in the then upcoming 2010 Ukrainian local elections.[27] But according to (then) Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov these elections "were absolutely without the use of administrative resources, naturally. Nobody interfered with our citizens."[28]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Parliament passes law on parliamentary elections, Kyiv Post (17 November 2011)
  2. ^ Q&A: Ukrainian parliamentary election, BBC News (23 October 2012)
  3. ^ (Ukrainian) Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine " dated 17 November 2011, Verkhovna Rada
  4. ^ "Voters Committee Predicting 60% Snap Election Turnout". Ukrainian News Agency. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 16 October 2008. 
  5. ^ Hacked PR documents accelerate political war, Kyiv Post (11 January 2013)
  6. ^ Vitali Klitschko says intends to run for president in Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (24 October 2013)
    Parliament passes law that could prevent Klitschko from running for president, Interfax-Ukraine (24 October 2013)
  7. ^ Yanukovych signs EU integration law on elections, Interfax-Ukraine (20 December 2013)
  8. ^ a b CEC member: Kyiv City Council to be elected for five years in upcoming election, Interfax-Ukraine (16 February 2013)
  9. ^ Experts: Proposed election law casts cloud over next year’s parliamentary contest, Kyiv Post (October 3, 2011)
  10. ^ Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, And Institutional Design by Paul D'Anieri, M.E. Sharpe, 2006, ISBN 0-7656-1811-7 (page 251)
  11. ^ Black Sea Fleet vote: Know thy turncoats, Kyiv Post (May 6, 2010)
  12. ^ Ukraine needs constitutional change now, Kyiv Post (May 7, 2009)
  13. ^ Parliament rejects bill on local elections under open lists, Kyiv Post (July 1, 2010)
  14. ^ European Parliament EU-Ukraine PCC Members' delegation to Ukraine observing local and regional elections of 31 October 2010, European Parliament (10 November 2010)
  15. ^ Центральна виборча комісія України - WWW відображення ІАС "Вибори народних депутатів України 2012"
    CEC substitues Tymoshenko, Lutsenko in voting papers
  16. ^ Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe by Uwe Backes and Patrick Moreau, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-36912-8 (page 396)
  17. ^ Ukraine right-wing politics: is the genie out of the bottle?, openDemocracy.net (January 3, 2011)
  18. ^ a b Eight Reasons Why Ukraine’s Party of Regions Will Win the 2012 Elections by Taras Kuzio, The Jamestown Foundation (17 October 2012)
    UKRAINE: Yushchenko needs Tymoshenko as ally again by Taras Kuzio, Oxford Analytica (5 October 2007)
  19. ^ Election winner lacks strong voter mandate, Kyiv Post (February 11, 2010)
    Ukraine's Party of Regions: A pyrrhic victory, EurActiv.com (16 November 2012)
    Ukraine vote ushers in new constellation of power, Deutsche Welle (30 October 2012)
  20. ^ Disappointment, pessimism high among nation’s voters, Kyiv Post (January 15, 2010)
  21. ^ a b Country View Ukraine International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
  22. ^ Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  23. ^ a b CEC:Turnout in Ukraine's parliamentary elections 57.99%, Kyiv Post (29 October 2012)
  24. ^ "Swiss President, Luxembourg PM join others in congratulating Yushchenko". Kyiv Post. 31 December 2004. 
  25. ^ More than $1 billion will be spent on campaign, but no one knows for sure, Kyiv Post (January 14, 2010)
  26. ^ Committee Of Voters: Use Of State’s Administrative Resources No Longer Decisive Factor In Outcome Of Elections, Ukrainian News Agency (May 8, 2009)
  27. ^ Survey Shows Every Fifth Ukrainian Ready To Sell Vote, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (October 22, 2010)
  28. ^ Yanukovych's Party Looks To Victory Amid Claims Of Election Fraud, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (November 01, 2010)

External links[edit]