Elections better than protests

Piotr Andrusieczko

The Ukrainians prefer to vote in an election than to protest. It has just been confirmed by the recent sociological survey. In the next presidential election existing President Petro Poroshenko will compete mostly with former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. At the same time 74% of young people do not put faith in present politicians and some Ukrainians are ready to vote for the leader of the popular rock group ‘Okean Elzy’.

Most Ukrainians (68.2%) believe that the current situation in Ukraine is tense, 21.9% consider it ‘explosive – dangerous’. 59.9%  Ukrainians does not support mass protests – a New Majdan’. Participation in election is the best method of political activity for 58.9% of those who took part in a survey.

Recent sociological studies conducted by SOCIS, KMIS, Rejting and the Razumkov Center have shown not only social tempers but also political preferences in relation to specific politicians and parties.

Although the next presidential elections in Ukraine will take place in 2019, the preparations are ongoing. Some politicians have already confirmed their participation, and sociologists have identified current front-runners of the presidential race .

There are no surprises – existing President Petro Poroshenko (16.1%) is currently winning among people who declare taking part in election and who are certain on  whom to vote. Its main competitor is former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (14.4%).

On the other hand the third place is pretty surprising. 12.1% Ukrainians are ready to vote for Svyatoslav Vakarchuk , the leader of a popular rock group ‘Okean Elzy’. Vakarchuk, who has been in a music business since the mid-1990s, remains a role model for many young people. He impresses them not only as a good musician but also as a law-abiding citizen. And he has some political experience. He took part in the Orange Revolution in 2004 and he became a deputy to the Ukrainian Parliament in 2007. However he resigned after spending a year there. – I was aware there have always been complicated political processes in the Verkhovna Rada. The problem is that nowadays this is a fight for a fight itself – explained Vakarchuk.

Music and political popularity of ‘Okeanu Elzy’ leader consorts with the opinions of the young generation. 74% of young people do not trust the current political leaders according to another survey which has recently been made by the sociological agency GfK Ukraine on order of the center ‘Nowa Europa’ and the Friedrich Ebert Found . Young politicians, usually called reformers and euro optimists: Serhiy Leshchenko, Mustafa Nayyem and Svitlana Zalishchuk are not trusted enough either. They were not able to create a separate political force before the recent parliamentary elections in 2014 so they entered the Parliament as candidates from lists of different parties.

Svyatoslav Vakarchuk has not confirmed his participation in presidential election so far. Still, his popularity worries some observers who forewarn of naive thinking and naive election. Especially in Ukrainian conditions, where politics and  powers have little in common with idealism.

It is possible that parliamentary elections will also take place in 2019. In opposition to presidential election forecast, the first place in parliamentary projection is occupied by The All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland (Batkivshchyna) of Yulia Tymoshenko. 16% of people who are sure they will take part in election declare support for the former Prime Minister party. 15.4% are willing to vote for Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Opposition Bloc (10.5%), Civil Position (10.2%), ‘Za Życie’ (9.4%), Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko (7.8%) and Self Help (7.7%) may exceed the 5% election threshold.

The nationalist All-Ukrainian Union ‘Svoboda’ (4.6%) can also enter the Parliament whereas Mikheil Saakashvili’s ‘Movement of New Forces’ is supported by only 2.6% of Ukrainians.

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