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"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable" ~ President John F. Kennedy

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ukraine Election 2006: The Analysis

Two Exit Polls are claiming that President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine may come third in Parliamentary elections.

If this is the case the Orange team may be reunited, but under Tymoshenko's Premiership. Whilst this would be good in terms of quickly forming a government (the charismatic leader may dig her heels in if she can't get anything other than the P.M's job) it could be bad news for Ukraine. Yulia's bloc advocates strong state intervention for the Ukrainian economy, something likely to scare off investors. 4 years of such old-school economics and Kiev could find itself in a financially worse state than today.

Here is the only full exit poll I can find:

Regions (Yanukovych): 27.5%

Tymoshenko Bloc: 21.6%

Our Ukraine (Yushchenko): 15.6%

Socialist Party: 5.5%

Communists: 4.7%

Lytvyn Bloc: 5.1%

Vitrenko Bloc: 3.2%

I have no idea how this proportional system is working, a quick calculation of percentages using the method wikipedia describes, tells me that Regions will have 136 Deputies, Tymoshenko 104 Deputies, Our Ukraine 71 Deputies, Socialists 16 Deputies, Communists 12 Deputies, Lytvyn 14 Deputies, Vitrenko 4 Deputies. Obviously this falls short by about 100 Deputies, but gives you some idea of how things will look in the new parliament. The Orange camp should be able to form a government out of this.


I know I haven't commented much on the vote, so here is a bit of background.

Regions of Ukraine: Pro-Russian, Market Economics, Centrist Social Agenda (tainted by Kuchma association but now advocating protection of Opposition), Federalized Ukraine

Our Ukraine: Pro-European, Free Market Economics, Liberal Social Agenda, Unitary State

Tymoshenko Bloc: Moderately Pro-European/NATO-sceptic, State Intervention, Liberal Social Agenda, Unitary State

Socialists Bloc: Pro-European, Mixed Economy, Liberal Social Agenda, Unitary State

Communists: Pro-Russian, Nationalised Economy, Conservative Social Agenda, Unitary State

Lytvyn: Balanced between Europe and Russia, some State Intervention, Conservative Social Agenda, Decentralized Unitary State

Vitrenko: Staunchly Pro-Russian, State Intervention, Conservative Social Agenda, Federal Structure, Favourable to Joining Russia-Belarus Union.

As you can see the Russo-Euro political split is about 50:50, with Lytvyn clearly hoping to play kingmaker in Parliament. Whilst a clever tactic, the overall results may make his Bloc a small opposition grouping in the chamber. Of the other small parties; the Vitrenko bloc and Communists are extremely anti-European, and their view of economics unlikely to fit in with that of any party.

Short-Term Effects: Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko's Bloc and the Socialists will likely form a government, headed by Tymoshenko.

Party of Regions will be a strong opposition force in Parliament, possibly joined by the Lytvyn Bloc.

The Communists and Vitrenko - gaining their support largely from the elderly - will oppose much of the Orange government's eventual programme.

Long-Term Effects: Unless others are able to moderate Tymoshenko's economics, Ukraine may face a further slow-down in growth, creating political apathy and strengthening Yushchenko and the Socialists standing at the next election.

Regions of Ukraine will likely have to adapt their manifesto if hoping to form a coalition government before or after the next ballot. The party may be best served by reviving itself - perhaps ditching Yanukovych (tainted by association with Kuchma and a heavy-handed approach to opposition whilst PM). The Regions need not however abandon their Pro-Russian stance, something that could moderate radical pro-European's such as within Our Ukraine. It is possible, if a younger leader takes over the party showing a break with the past (something the British Conservative's have done), that Regions could find itself in government. The likelihood of Our Ukraine and the Socialists pulling out of a disfunctional Tymoshenko government, and working with a reformed Region's party, sometime in the next few years exists.

Lytvyn's best opportunity may now lie in moving to a slight pro-Russian stance. If he can build on his position as mild Conservative and advocate of a mixed economy, he can appear as a viable alternative to the Regions of Ukraine in 2011. If not his Bloc, unlikely to cause any hassle for the 3 pro-European parties, could be regarded as an ineffective choice in future elections.

The final two parties are unlikely to cross the 3% threshold in future elections - their Soviet nostalgia unappealing to any younger voters, their current support likely to die off by 2011.


Thats all for now, here are a few blogs to keep your Ukrainian minds at work: offers top analysis of the situation in Kiev gives a virtual minute by minute update on the situation

And check back to for constantly updated stories from various Agencies.



  • At 10:33 pm, Blogger jin said…

    'The final two parties are unlikely to cross the 3% threshold in future elections - their Soviet nostalgia unappealing to any younger voters, their current support likely to die off by 2011.'

    Hm, I would not agree. From my (Slovenia) perspective, nostalgia grows stronger as time passes. So there coul be more Soviet nostalgia in the years ahead and not less. You know, people tend to forget what really was and some then tend to see it more positive as it was, if the present situation isn't good.

    Interesting, that the 50%-50% split beetwen pro Russia and pro West is still there. I think it will remain so for a long time.

    What do you think?

  • At 11:14 pm, Blogger MattyJ said…

    An interesting point. However, support from the Communists has declined at each election since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The basis of my point rested on the fact that the elderly make up the back bone of members and supporters for the block.

    And..whilst some who were too young to remember the Soviet Union may become 'nostalgic' for communism, it is more likely they will be lured to the aims of youth groups such as Pora. Interestingly Pora were way off breaking the 3% barrier.

    I agree, the split will remain for a long time - the best bet for Ukraine in 2006 is to adopt a neutral foreign policy. As Norway, Iceland and others have shown, it is quite possible to stay out of superpower politics and have incredibly high standards of living within Europe. Perhaps once Russia becomes a full Democracy will these geo-political games ease

  • At 1:30 am, Anonymous Matthew Shugart said…

    On the PR system, if the percentages you list are correct (and all caveats about exit polls apply), then nearly 16.8% of the vote was "wasted" on parties that failed to cross the threshold.

    In that case, 27.5% of the total vote (Regions Party total) would be around a third of the "effective" vote (27.5/83.2). Based on 450 seats and single nationwide allocation, that should give Regions 149 seats, not 136.

    Continuing the process:
    Tymoshenko: 117
    Our Ukraine: 84

    Etc. If you carry that out, you get 450, plus or minus a few, depending on rounding.

    More at my blog (Fruits and Votes) about the Ukrainian electoral system, regional divisions, and the coalition-building process.

  • At 4:56 pm, Blogger MattyJ said…

    Cheers for that. I attempted to multiply the number of votes per party by the....ah I can't even remember! I shall add your site as a link.

  • At 5:42 pm, Anonymous Matthew said…

    Matt, that's splendid!

    I just discovered your site a couple of weeks ago (or less), and put it in the Blogroll then. I was searching on Belarus, and found your coverage.

    It was one of those cases of wondering how I had missed it for all this time!

    Thanks for the post below on Kyrgyzstan, which seems to have been pretty much forgotten otherwise.


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