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Sunday, March 30, 2008

March 30, 2008: 56 days to elections

In order to keep the skates sharp, will try to keep this blog current for the next two months.

The snap Kyiv city council and mayor election campaign officially kicked off March 26, two months before capital city residents go to the polls in a vote of confidence in the current mayor and a test of cohesion for the orange/democratic forces at the Kyiv city level.

Elected in March 2006, Leonid Chernovetsky has just completed half of his four year term. His election came as a surprise to some, but was seen as the logical conclusion to a multi-year campaign for the mayoralty comprised of small gifts and acts of charity by the banker who saw the light and became an ambassador for Pastor Sunday Andelaja’s Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations Under his leadership, Kyiv city council saw the redistribution of massive amounts of land in Kyiv, with deals benefiting politicians of all stripes and colors.

Chernovetsky’s 2006 victory was facilitated by votes being split between his opponents and an electoral system that is “first past the post.”

A similar situation may arise in these elections, with anti-Chernovetsky votes being dispersed by several candidates. Committee of Voters of Ukraine spokesman Oleksandr Chernenko suggested that a two round mayoral election, like the presidentials, may “significantly reduce the risk” of “accidental persons showing up” at polling stations “on the wave of some PR or general voter apathy.” Chernovetsky said he will not challenge the snap election in the courts (Deutsche Welle).

The new poll was supported by 246 MPs in the Rada across party lines. The Party of the Regions did not take part in the March 18 vote, and 13 Nasha Ukrayina MPs did not vote in support of the snap elections. With Byut providing the core, the vote would have passed without the abstainers from Nasha, but the Communists and Lytvyn Bloc provided the “yeas” to ensure the vote went through:

  • 155 of 156 Byut MPs voted for the elections (V.M Sushkevych was absent).

  • 59 of 72 Nasha Ukrayina Narodna Samo-oborona MPs (Bilozir, Martvienko, Plyushch abstained, did not vote/absent: S.O. Dovhy, Yu. Klyuchkovsky, I. Kril, P. Zhebrivsky, V. Petyovka, M. Polyanych, V. Topolov, V. Poliachenko, P. Yushchenko, Z. Shkutiak )

  • 26 of 27 Communists (V.O. Demyanchuk did not vote)

  • 6 of 20 Lytvyn Bloc (including V. Lytvyn, O. Zarubinksy, M. Syrota, but not I. Sharov)
Speaking live on 1+1’s Ya tak dumayu Yulia Tymoshenko said she will lead the Byut list in the race for Kyiv city
March 18 Rada vote:
May 25: Election Day
Official "go plant your potatos" holiday: April 26 to May 4

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