Servant of the People (political party)

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Servant of the People

Слуга народу
LeaderOleksandr Kornienko[1]
Faction leaderDavyd Arakhamia[2]
FounderEugene Yurdiga
Founded2 December 2017 (formation)
31 March 2018 (registered)
Preceded byParty of Decisive Change[3][4]
HeadquartersKyiv, Ukraine
Membership"500–1000"[nb 1]
IdeologyCentrism[6]
Populism[7]
Direct democracy[8]
Anti-corruption[9]
Pro-Europeanism[10]
Political positionCentre[6]
Colors  Green
Verkhovna Rada
245 / 450
Regions[11]
6,400 / 43,122
Website
sluganarodu.ua

Servant of the People (Ukrainian: Слуга народу, romanizedSluha Narodu) is a centrist political party in Ukraine.

It was formed in late 2017 and was officially registered on 31 March 2018 on the basis of the previously registered party of Decisive Changes.[12][13][14] The party is named after the Ukrainian hit TV series Servant of the People.[15][14] In the 2019 parliamentary election the party won 124 seats on the nationwide party list and 130 constituency seats.[16] The current president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky is a member of the party.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

Legally, the party is the successor of the Party of Decisive Change (Ukrainian: Партія рішучих змін)[3][4] that existed since April 2016 and was founded by Eugene Yurdiga.[17]

The party was renamed in December 2017 after the eponymous Ukrainian hit TV series Servant of the People that starred Volodymyr Zelensky and was made by his TV production company Kvartal 95.[15][14] The rebranded/renamed party's first leader was the CEO of Kvartal 95 Ivan Bakanov.[13][15] At the time Kvartal 95 created the party, they claimed it was important to do so to prevent others from stealing the name of the eponymous series for "cynical political purposes".[3] According to Zelensky in the summer of 2017 "some rogues" had almost registered a party called "Servant of the People" and that because of this Kvartal 95 had registered their Servant of the People party so voters would not be mislead to think they would vote for a party that was not related to the TV series of the same name.[17] Early 2018 Zelensky stated that the party was "not yet a political project", and said about its future: "Let's see."[17]

In December 2017 4% of Ukrainians polled by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center declared their readiness to vote for a party named "Servant of the People" in parliamentary elections, and in May 2018 this number had grown to 5% (the minimum necessary to pass Ukraine's election threshold).[17] When democracy watchdog Chesno tried to contact Zelensky and party representatives in September 2018 in an attempt to ask if the party would take part in elections a spokeswoman for Kvartal 95 responded "Unfortunately, party representatives are unable to comment on your request. There is currently no information that might be of interest to you."[17] The press service of Kvartal 95 could (also) not provide Chesno a picture of party leader Bakanov.[17] Chesno was able to find out that the leadership of the party only consisted of people related to Kvartal-95.[17]

Billboards advertising "Servants of the People" appeared on the streets of Ukrainian cities in November 2018.[18] Zelensky later admitted that these billboards were legally only advertising the third season of the TV series "Servant of the People" but were also part of his election campaign so his campaign could "save a lot of money."[18] The party's first financiers were either NGO's that did not have to report the origins of their donations or companies that all changed their addresses in the same week, this led Chesno to believe these companies were interconnected.[18] Almost all of the 2018 funds were received on the eve of Zelensky's 2019 New Year's speech in which he announced his candidacy in the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election.[18]

Party winning the 2019 presidential and parliamentary election[edit]

In late December 2018 Zelensky was declared a presidential candidate from the party at the 2019 presidential election.[19] While lagging behind in January 2019, Zelensky began to lead the polls by March.[20] He would go on to win the first round of the presidential elections, taking first place and moving on to the run off against incumbent President Poroshenko on 21 April 2019,[21] winning the election with over 73% of the votes cast.[22] Zelensky stated that the party would not enter a coalition government with the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, nor with Opposition Platform — For Life.[23]

In his inauguration speech to parliament on 21 May 2019 President Zelensky dissolved parliament and decreed an early election to be held on 21 July 2019.[24] On 27 May 2019 Dmytro Razumkov was appointed as party chairman in place of Ivan Bakanov.[25] Oleksandr Kornienko had been made head of the party's election headquarters, and Mykhailo Fedorov was installed as the party's chief of digital strategies.[25] On 2 June 2019, the registration of potential candidates to run for the party in majority constituencies during the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary election ended.[26] Party leader Razumkov assured on 7 June 2019 that no incumbent MPs would be on the party list for the 2019 parliamentary election, but that the election list would consist of "new ambitious politicians."[27]

The party held its first congress on 9 June 2019.[28] It took place in Kyiv's Hryshko National Botanical Garden and was attended by President Zelensky and party leader Razumkov, among others. During the congress the first names of the party's majority constituency candidates and the 97 candidates of the nationwide closed party list were made public.[29] Well-known names in the nationwide party list were: Olympic athletes Olha Saladukha, Vadym Gutzeit and Zhan Beleniuk and long-term CEO of 1+1 Media Group Oleksandr Tkachenko.[29] Three days later Gutzeit and two other candidates had withdrawn themselves from the election, whilst a fourth was excluded from the list "after additional checks".[30][31] During the post-primaries, press and activists highlighted the most controversial representatives of the party, such as Oleksandr Dubinsky and Max Buzhanskiy.[citation needed] Both of them were not withdrawn from the final list of the party after the registration deadlines.[32][nb 2] The party excluded seven candidates from its list on 7 July 2019; five candidates were removed “as a result of information submitted [to the party] via the website and chat bot”, whilst two others requested to be removed from the list, including the No. 31 candidate.[34] On 19 July 2019, the leader of the Movement of New Forces party Mikheil Saakashvili called on his supporters to vote for the Servant of the People party at the parliamentary election.[35]

In the (21 July) 2019 parliamentary election the he top ten party candidates[36] were Dmytro Razumkov, Ruslan Stefanchuk, Iryna Venediktova, Davyd Arakhamia, Halyna Yanchenko, Mykhailo Fedorov, Oleksandr Kornienko, Anastasia Krasnosilska, Oleksandr Tkachenko and Zhan Beleniuk.[37] In the election the party won 124 seats on the nationwide party list (43.16% of the votes) and 130 constituency seats.[16] Several members of the political party UKROP (a party that has openly been supported by Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi) won constituency seats as candidates for Servant of the People (the two parties had no formal allegiance).[38] In parliament Davyd Arakhamia became the party's faction leader.[2]

Party since winning the 2019 parliamentary election[edit]

On 11 November 2019 Oleksandr Kornienko replaced Razumkov as party chairman.[1]

The party won about 25% of the votes in December 2019 local United territorial community elections (non-aligned candidates gained 44% of the votes).[39]

In June 2020 the party started to create its local organisation by appointing "Cell leaders".[5] In May 2020 the party had no official registered local branch.[5][nb 3]

In the 2020 Ukrainian local elections the party won more seats then the other parties participating, 17.59% of local seats were won by the party.[41] Observers pointed out that the party (as other national parties) did suffer setbacks in Ukraine's largest cities across the country, including the capital Kyiv.[42][43] In Kyiv the party mayoral candidate Iryna Vereshchuk and the party itself finished in fifth place.[44][45] While Servant of the People had been in the 2019 parliamentary election the most popular party among Kyivites with 36.46%.[46] 225 Servant of the People candidates (30.74% of all elected mayors nominated by a political party) were elected village, town or city mayors.[47] Independent candidates won 661 mayoral elections.[47] Although the party had not allowed incumbent MPs but only "new ambitious politicians" to be their candidate in the 2019 parliamentary election,[27] in the 2020 Ukrainian local elections Servant of the People candidates were incumbent mayors and local council members and (other) former members of Party of Regions, Batkivshchyna, Petro Poroshenko Bloc and other political parties.[48] In the elections held in places with a population of less than 10,000 voters the party won 2 seats.[49]

Ideology and positions[edit]

On 23 May 2019, Ruslan Stefanchuk, Zelensky's representative in the Verkhovna Rada, announced that the party had chosen libertarianism as its core ideology.[50] On 3 June 2019, however, head of the party's election office Oleksandr Kornienko claimed, "go 20km or 100km out of Kyiv, and nobody will understand the issue of ideology there, who is right, left or centre here. The party will have its manifesto on its website, it will explain everything."[51] After Kornienko was elected as head the party in early November 2019, he stated that the then party ideology of "libertarianism"[52] would be changed, which was "needed to find a compromise within the party."[53] He claimed that the new party ideology "will be something between liberal and socialist views."[53] At the February 2020 Party Congress, Kornienko stated that the party's ideology is "Ukrainian centrism."[6] According to him, this is an ideology that "denies political extremes and radicalism. But it is creative centrism."[6]

In the election program for the 2019 parliamentary election, the party stated, "we will introduce the most favored regime for foreign investors of Ukrainian origin".[54] It also promised to introduce "a mechanism for withdrawing deputies who have lost the confidence of the voters".[54] The program also puts forward a number of direct democracy and anti-corruption proposals.[54] The party has also vowed to expand Ukraine's cooperation with the European Union and NATO.[54] The party also claimed that its key goal is to achieve a higher than average European income and quality of life for Ukrainians.[54][nb 4]

In early July 2019, Ruslan Stefanchuk, number 2 in the party's election list, expressed his belief that Ukrainian language should be promoted (in a process of the so-called "Ukrainization") but only "quite mildly" and that "one needs to fight for the language to provide quality." "Neither by bans, nor by persecution, but only by equality. When Ukrainian language content becomes more interesting and higher quality, then we will absolutely have another attitude. Meanwhile, the state should work out all mechanisms for that," he said.[56]

Electoral performance[edit]

Verkhovna Rada[edit]

Election Party leader Performance Rank Government
Votes % ± pp Seats +/–
2019 Dmytro Razumkov 6,307,793
43.16%
New
254 / 450
New Increase 1st Supermajority

Presidential elections[edit]

Election Candidate First round Second round Result
Votes % Votes %
2019 Volodymyr Zelensky 5,714,034
30.24%
13,541,528
73.22%
Elected Green tickY

Critics[edit]

In March 2019 Ukrainian writer and intellectual Yuriy Andrukhovych believed that Volodymyr Zelensky's team was a light version of the Party of Regions.[57]

In December 2018 political commentator Mykhailo Basarab wrote on Den that Zelensky would "bring the most trouble to pro-Russian politicians and populists, because "he is their closest competitor" and will attract "part of the pro-Russian and demagogic voters."[58]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ According to party leader Oleksandr Kornienko in May 2020.[5] He also stated that a third of the party's parliamentary faction was a member of the party.[5]
  2. ^ On 21 June 2019 Ukrainian media reported that a businessman who had been a suspect in various embezzlement cases was a candidate for the party in a majority constituency.[33]
  3. ^ Party leader Oleksandr Kornienko stated, in a September 2020 interview, that in March–April local branches had been planned to be created but that this was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.[40] Kornienko also claimed that "the real party building will begin after the October 2010 local elections with those who will win them."[40]
  4. ^ In an interview in April 2019, party leader Zelensky stated that he supported the free distribution of medical cannabis, was a supporter of free abortion in Ukraine and would like to see the legalisation of prostitution and gambling in Ukraine.[23] He spoke out against the legalization of weapons.[23] None of these ideas were to be found in the party election program for the 2019 parliamentary election.[54] The program instead promises to legally regulate the right to own weapons.[55]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Razumkov resigns as head of Zelensky’s party, new leader elected, KyivPost (10 November 2019)
  2. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Factions were formed in the Rada, RBC Ukraine (29 August 2019)
    (in Ukrainian) Later, the new head of the Ministry of Health will be replaced by Radutsky - Arachamia, Ukrayinska Pravda (31 August 2019)
  3. ^ a b c "The boundary of a joke. As Zelensky prepares for the election" (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 25 October 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Party of Decisive Change" changed its name to "Servant of the people" (in Ukrainian). Left Bank. 2 December 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) Non-partisan Ukraine, The Ukrainian Week (24 June 2020)
  6. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) In the "Servant of the people" decided on the ideology of the party, RBC Ukraine (15 February 2020)
  7. ^ Bershidsky, Leonid (10 January 2019). "This Comedy Star Wants to Be Ukraine's Donald Trump". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  8. ^ Minich, Ruslan (19 February 2019). "How Ukraine's Leading Comedian Pulled Ahead in Polls". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  9. ^ "Zelensky names fighting corruption, raising investment as priorities". Kyiv Post. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Comedian who plays Ukraine's president on TV leads real race". The Lowell Sun. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  11. ^ Обрані депутати місцевих рад. www.cvk.gov.ua (in Ukrainian). 23 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Журналісти показали, хто фінансує партію "Слуга народу"". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  13. ^ a b ""Партія Рішучих змін" змінила назву на "Слуга народу"". LB.ua. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
  14. ^ a b c "The Ministry of Justice registered the party "Servant of the people" (in Russian). Ukrainian News Agency. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "Lawyer Zelensky has registered a new political party "Servant of the people" (in Ukrainian). UNIAN. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  16. ^ a b CEC counts 100 percent of vote in Ukraine's parliamentary elections, Ukrinform (26 July 2019)
    (in Russian) Results of the extraordinary elections of the People's Deputies of Ukraine 2019, Ukrayinska Pravda (21 July 2019)
  17. ^ a b c d e f g (in Ukrainian) "Servant of the people": Zelensky does not answer to the people whether the party will go to the polls, Civil movement "Chesno" (4 September 2018)
  18. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) How the "Servant of the People" was born and where she took over 200 million for the elections, Civil movement "Chesno" (13 February 2020)
  19. ^ "Zelensky: Party "Servant of the people" goes into politics" (in Ukrainian). Interfax-Ukraine. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  20. ^ "'Parallel universe': The front-runner seeking to be Ukraine's president plays one on TV". The Washington Post. 9 March 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  21. ^ "Results of 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  22. ^ "Results of 2019 Ukrainian Presidential Election". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. 31 March 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  23. ^ a b c "Vladimir Zelensky: It is beneficial for us to dissolve the Rada, but we will think and act according to the law" (in Russian). RBC Ukraine. 18 April 2019. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  24. ^ "Ukrainian Constitutional Court OKs Parliament's Dissolution, Early Elections". Radio Free Europe. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 6 July 2019.
    КСУ визнав конституційним указ Зеленського про розпуск Ради [The Constitutional Court recognised Zelensky's constitutional decree to dissolve the Council] (in Ukrainian). www.unian.ua. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  25. ^ a b Ukrainian President's Party Names New Head, Will 'Interview' Candidates For July Elections, Radio Free Europe (27 May 2019)
  26. ^ "Клони атакують Зеленського. У Кривому Розі на виборах зареєструвалося кілька "слуг народу"". glavcom.ua.
  27. ^ a b "Лещенка не взяли у список партії "Слуга народу"". glavcom.ua.
  28. ^ "Servant of the People party to hold congress on June 9". www.ukrinform.net. Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  29. ^ a b Перша сотня партії Зеленського: без «95 кварталу», з олімпійськими чемпіонами і ЗеКомандою. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  30. ^ Із першої сотні “Слуги народу” вилетіли три кандидати. Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  31. ^ Екс-заступник міністра оборони передумав іти в Раду від "Слуги народу". Українська правда (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  32. ^ "Центральна виборча комісія - Вибори народних депутатів України 2019". www.cvk.gov.ua. Retrieved Jul 22, 2019.
  33. ^ The media found in the lists of "Servants of the people" candidate Majoritarian, who was repeatedly tried. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  34. ^ "Партія "Слуга народу" викреслила з виборчого списку 7 кандидатів". www.unian.ua. Retrieved Jul 22, 2019.
  35. ^ "Саакашвілі закликав прихильників віддати голоси за "Слугу народу"". LB.ua (in Ukrainian). 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2019-07-20.
  36. ^ "Party list of the Servant of the People". Central Election Commission of Ukraine. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  37. ^ "The party "Servant of the People" announced its list for the elections" – Партія "Слуга народу" оголосила список на вибори" (in Ukrainian). LB.ua. 9 June 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  38. ^ "Партійці Коломойського в обгортці "Слуги народу" (in Ukrainian). Deutsche Welle. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  39. ^ (in Ukrainian) Party long-term construction, The Ukrainian Week (28 July 2020)
  40. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Alexandr Kornienko: "We are discussing the main candidates for regional councils, for city councils, and the president looks at them too", LB.ua (8 September 2020)
  41. ^ (in Ukrainian) The CEC showed the top 10 parties that won the most seats in the election, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 November 2020)
  42. ^ "Ukraine's Zelensky suffers setback in local elections". France 24. 2020-10-25. Retrieved 2020-10-26.
  43. ^ Ukrainian local elections: Zelenskyy fairytale is over by Anders Åslund, Atlantic Council (26 October 2020)
  44. ^ Vitali Klitschko wins in first round of Kyiv mayor election, Ukrinform (6 November 2020)
  45. ^ Results of the 2020 elections of the Kyiv City Council, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  46. ^ How Kyiv voted: the final results of the election, Pryamiy kanal (23 July 2019)
  47. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) Mayoral and village mayoral elections: CEC shows ranking of winning parties, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 November 2020)
  48. ^ (in Ukrainian) "Servant of the people" in the Luhansk region. When quarrels do not show work, The Ukrainian Week (2 October 2020)
    (in Ukrainian) "Starometer", defectors, another Zelensky. How the leaders of key cities of Kharkiv region went to the polls, The Ukrainian Week (30 September 2020)
    Zelensky presented the Kherson team: former members of the BPP, the Party of Regions and other political forces, Civil movement "Chesno" (21 August 2020) (in Ukrainian)
    (in Ukrainian) Local elections. Transcarpathia: change of parties by favorites and galaxy of local projects, The Ukrainian Week (9 September 2020)
    #Dubinsky's team: former regionals, radicals and employees of "1 + 1" go to the regional council, Civil movement "Chesno" (21 October 2020) (in Ukrainian)
  49. ^ "Results of the 2020 Ukrainian local elections on the official web-server of the". Central Election Commission of Ukraine (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 12 January 2021.
  50. ^ Партия Зеленского выбрала своей идеологией либертарианство [Zelensky's party chose libertarianism as its ideology]. meduza.io (in Russian). Retrieved 2019-05-23.
  51. ^ Master of improvisation, The Ukrainian Week (23 June 2019)
  52. ^ "Партия Зеленского выбрала своей идеологией либертарианство". Meduza.io. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  53. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) "The "servant of the people" will change the ideology into something between the liberal and the socialist". Ukrainska Pravda. 12 November 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  54. ^ a b c d e f З якими обіцянками «Слуга народу» йде на вибори: 16 пунктів програми. glavcom.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-09.
  55. ^ ПЕРЕДВИБОРНА ПРОГРАМА ПОЛІТИЧНОЇ ПАРТІЇ «СЛУГА НАРОДУ». LB.ua (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  56. ^ "Ukrainization should be 'quite mild' – Zelensky's envoy to Verkhovna Rada". Interfax-Ukraine. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  57. ^ Vladimir Vladimir Z.'s career, which can still be stopped. Zbruc.eu, 05.04.2019
  58. ^ «Criticism and attack on politicians is good, but it is not enough to win - it is necessary to form a team», — expert // Den, 26 December 2018

External links[edit]


WEB

Official website sluganarodu.ua.Accessed March 2, 2020. Sites dedicated to Zelinsky's activities http://volodymyrzelenskyy.com/ https://www.president.gov.ua/ru