New ‘old’ faces of local councils: treason or victory?

On October 25, 2015 local election was held. It became the last in the election cycle launched with early presidential election in May 2014.

As compared to the 2010 local election, the 2015 election process was distinguished for two circumstances. First – before its commencement the election legislation had been changed, the change presupposing introduction of the proportionate election system, with territorial election constituencies, for electing deputies of regional, raion (district) and city (town) councils. Second – the processes that had occurred in the country’s political environment over the last two years, had considerably changed the supply in the market of party projects. Political parties, which in total had got 40% of all representative mandates in local councils in 2010 – the Party of Regions (Partiya Rehioniv), the Communist Party of Ukraine, the Socialist Party of Ukraine, ‘Nasha Ukrayina’ (‘Our Ukraine’), ‘Front Zmin’ (‘Front of Changes’), due to different circumstances did not participate in the latest election campaign, while such political forces as the Petro Poroshenko Bloc ‘Solidarnist’ (‘Solidarity’), ‘Nash Kray’ (‘Our Land’), the ‘Opposition Bloc’, Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party, ‘UKROP’, ‘Samopomich’ Union’, which were among the top ten by the number of mandates acquired, were running in the local election for the first time.

The Monitoring-Analytical Group ‘CIFRA’ researched the latest election campaign had changed the local political landscape. On the basis of the results of election to raion (district) councils as well as monitoring of the process of raion (district) council heads election, we studied:

  • which political forces and to what extent are represented in the current local councils;
  • how far have local councils been reformed in terms of their members after the election;
  • which political forces managed to consolidate majorities in local councils around them.

81 political parties participated in the election to 462 raion (district) councils and nominated all in all 97,102 candidates for raion (district) council deputies. As the result, 15,052 deputies from 69 parties were elected to raion (district) councils. The largest number of representation mandates went to the Petro Poroshenko Bloc ‘Solidarnist’ (‘Solidarity’) (3,228), ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) (2,562), the ‘Opposition Bloc’ (1,331), Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party (1,266), the Agrarian Party of Ukraine (1,103), ‘Nash Kray’ (‘Our Land’) (914), UKROP (776), ‘Vidrodzhennia’ (‘Renaissance’) (659), ‘Svoboda’ (‘Freedom’) (634). All in all, those political parties are represented in raion (district) councils by 12,743 deputies, this making up 84.6% of the overall number of mandates.

The leader in the number of raions (districts) where the party got the highest voter support is the Petro Poroshenko Bloc ‘Solidarnist’ (173). Considerably lagging behind and following PPB are ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) (63), the ‘Opposition Bloc’ (59), and the Agrarian Party of Ukraine (42).

All political parties which got the largest number of votes in each of the raions (districts) are presented on the interactive map. Also, parties that got the second and the third place by the election results in each of the raions (districts) are presented there. To view it, use the menu in the top left corner of the screen.

Out of 97,102 candidates that applied for deputy mandate, 10,733 had won in the election to raion (district) councils in 2010. Each ninth candidate was contesting for renewal of his/her representative mandate.

According to the election results, almost each third deputy had been deputy of one of the raion (district) councils of the previous calling (4,597 out of 15,052). The interactive map represents the number of such deputies in each raion (district) council. To view, choose section ‘Deputies 2010-2015’ in the menu above the interactive map.

The two above cirsumstances – updating of party brands in the 2015 election as well as a considerable number of deputies re-elected to raion (district) councils from the previous calling – made the issue of the current political belonging of such deputies as compared to 2010 more topical.

Following number filter: >
  • 2010
  • 2015

The following hypothesis seemed to be obvious: deputies who used to be in ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) had to be re-elected as candidates from ‘Batkivshchyna’; those from ‘Narodnyi Front’ (‘People’s Front’) – from PPB, ‘Batkivshchyna’, etc.; the Party of Regions (‘Partiya Rehioniv’) – from the ‘Opposition Bloc’, ‘Nash Kray’ (‘Our Land’), the Agrarian Party of Ukraine, ‘Vidrodzhennia’ (‘Renaissance’), and other smaller regional party projects.

Some expectations came true. Thus, 625 deputies in the election to raion (district) councils in 2010 from ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) renewed their mandates from that political force in 2015. 336 former representatives of the Party of Regions were re-elected from the ‘Opposition Bloc’, 229 – from the Agrarian Party of Ukraine, 205 – from ‘Nash Kray’ (‘Our Land’), 138 – from ‘Vidrodzhennia’ (‘Renaissance’).

While the degree of presence of former candidates from the Party of Regions (‘Partiya Rehioniv’) in PPB ‘Solidarnist’ turned out to be rather unexpected: each tenth PPB deputy in 2010 had been elected to the raion (district) council from the Party of Regions (‘Partiya Rehioniv’) (330 of 3,228). This figure exceeds the overall number of former deputies from ‘Nasha Ukrayina’ (‘Our Ukraine’) (105) and ‘Front Zmin’ (the ‘Front of Changes’) (98), who were running this-year election from PPB. 73 former deputies from the Party of Regions (‘Partiya Rehioniv’) were found in raion (district) councils among the ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) representatives. In total, more than one third of all the newly elected deputies in 2010 had been candidates and had won the election under the flag of the Party of Regions (‘Partiya Rehioniv’) (1,668 of 4,597).

Geographic distribution of the former representatives of the Party of Regions in the newly elected raion (district) councils is reflected on the interactive map. To view, use the menu section ‘Deputies of the Party of Regions in 2010’ in the top left corner of the screen (under the interactive map). Quite expectedly, their number increases from the west to the east.

Over two months after the election raion (district) councils were electing their leaders. In most cases the election of head and deputy heads of raion (district) councils was not faced with any major problems and conflicts. As of the date of data processing completion, heads of councils were elected in 459 raions (districts). In the Crimea, some raions (districts) of Donetsk and Luhansk regions where the election was not held heads of raion (district) councils were not elected. Also, in two raions of Luhansk region – Novoaydarivskyi and Stanychno-Luhanskyi – the respective territorial election commisions passed a decision that the election of deputies to raion (district) councils had not taken place. Respectively, these raions also could not elect heads of raion councils.

Representatives of 35 political parties became heads of raion (district) councils. The largest number of offices – 178 – went to PPB ‘Solidarnist’. The representatives of ‘Batkivshchyna’ (‘Motherland’) headed 58 councils, of the Agrarian Party of Ukraine – 46, the ‘Opposition Bloc’ – 31, ‘Vidrodzhennia’ (‘Renaissance’) – 26, ‘Nash kray’ (‘Our Land’) – 25, Oleh Liashko’s Radical Party – 14, UKROP – 12, ‘Svoboda’ (‘Freedom’) – 10. In total, quantitative distribution of heads of raion (district) councils between political parties, but for the ‘Opposition Bloc’, coincides with the number of raions (districts) where the respective parties got the largest number of voters. In case of the ‘Opposition Bloc’, its representatives got 31 offices of the head of raion (district) council, with the victory in 59 raions (districts).

The interactive map in the section ‘Political affiliation of heads of raion (district) councils’ reflects the geography of raion (district) council heads distribution depending on their patry belonging. Visuality enables to see in what raions (districts) the political parties that got the highest voter support converted it into its political control over the respective councils.

Among newly appointed heads of raion (district) councils 230 had been elected deputies to those councils in 2010. The largest number of such heads belonged to PPB ‘Solidarnist’ – 72, ‘Batkivshchyna’ (the ‘Motherland’) – 34, and the Agrarian Party of Ukraine – 28.

Among heads of raion (district) councils, having had representation experience in the councils of the previous calling the largest was the number of former representatives of the Party of Regions. Their overall number is 92 out of 230. The second place goes to the representatives of ‘Batkivshchyna’ (the ‘Motherland’), with 41 heads of raion (district) council who won in the 2010 election. From ‘Narodna Partiya’ (the People’s Party) and ‘Nasha Ukrayina’ (‘Our Ukraine’ – 24 and 18 respectively.

The 2010 election

The 2015 election

The results of election to raion (district) councils and the results of election of their heads give sufficient grounds to make a couple of conclusions.

First, 66% of the newly elected had not been deputis in the raion (district) councils of the previous calling. This allows speaking about considerable refreshing of the deputies of raion (district) councils. However, one can hardly speak about complete ‘re-loading’ of the respective councils.

Second, out of all the deputies of the previous cadence the highest level of mandate renewal was that of the former representatives of the Party of Regions. Former representatives of that party are to a certain extent present in the absolute majority of lists of political parties that got their representation in raion (district) councils. The results of the analysis show that in the second place by the number of ex-members of the Party of Regions, after the ‘Opposition Bloc’, is PPB ‘Solidarnist’. Absence of a wide public discussion of the issue prior to local election and the results of the election considerably level the lustration rhetoric which is actively used by a number of pro-government parties.

Third, involvement of a large number of representatives of political parties loyal to the former regime – the Party of Regions, ‘Sylna Ukrayina’ (‘Strong Ukraine’), the Communist Party of Ukraine – poses a number of latent risks. Primarily for those political parties that have provided such deputies with ‘political asylum’. The issue of loyalty of such political neophites and their readineness to get integrated into new political parties and projects becomes more topical. That may lead to inter-party conflicts and tension inside the parties.

Fourth, the results of election of heads of raion (district) councils show that more than a half of newly elected heads had been elected to raion (district) councils of the previous calling. 90 current heads of raion (district) councils five years ago won as the representatives of the Party of Regions.

Fifth, accoridng to the results of election of deputies and heads of raion (district) councils one may speak about appearance of several political forces with no representation on the central level but rather a substantial local presence. Such presence may be used by them for further growing of their political influence.