Ukraine Parliamentary Elections: what the result mean for planning GR efforts?

On July 21, Ukraine held its early parliamentary elections. According to preliminary results, five parties will be represented in the Parliament (Verkhovna Rada):

1. “Sluha narodu” (“Servant of the People”) – 43,14%
2. “Opozitsyyna platforma – Za zhyttia” (“Opposition Platform – For Life”) – 13,06%.
3. “Batkivshchyna” (“Fatherland”) – 8,18%.
4. “Yevropeyska solidarnist” (“European Solidarity”) – 8,12%.
5. “Holos” (“Voice”) – 5,84%.

The main outcome of the election is the overwhelming victory of “Sluha Narodu” party led by the President Volodymyr Zelensky. Getting 253 as of 450 seats in the Parliament (124 by the party lists and 129 by single-member constituencies), Sluha Narodu will be able to form majority in the Parliament without inviting any other partner in the coalition.

A number of parties, represented in the previous Verkhovna Rada convocation (“Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko”, the “Opposition Bloc”, “Samopomich” (“Self Help”), “Volya narodu” (“People’s Will”), “Vidrodzhennya (“Revival”), including the “Narodnyy Front” (“Popular Front”) Party of Arseny Yatsenyuk (ex-Prime Minister) and Arsen Avakov (the Interior Minister), which formed the basis of the parliamentary coalition of the previous Rada convocation, will not be represented in the new Parliament. Therefore, we may expect their leaders and allied forces to lose influence and political importance.

The parliamentary overhaul is of such significance as Ukraine is a parliamentary-presidential republic. The current power-sharing structure between the institutions gives the Verkhovna Rada a central role. In particular, the Verkhovna Rada shall approve Presidential nominations for the positions of Prime Minister, Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, heads of the Security Service and the National Bank. The Verkhovna Rada shall also approve nominations of other ministers, heads of the Antimonopoly Committee, the State Property Fund and other departments made by the Prime Minister.

It is assumed that the new Verkhovna Rada will be able to start work not earlier than in September. Then, in September, we should expect a PM change and full government reshuffle.

It is expected that the actions of the government, the Parliament and the President in the first months after the election will incur high destabilization risks for the situation in the country as two factors will affect the power transition – possible start of the Minsk Agreements’ implementation and the resolution of the issue around the Russian gas transit through Ukraine from 2020 and gas supply to the country’s economy.

In addition, the results of the parliamentary election may prompt early municipal elections, including of the mayor of Kyiv, in the autumn.

Thus, by 2020, the power renewal that started with Mr. Zelensky’s victory in May 2019 may be accomplished at all power levels.

To read the full report from our Interel Global Partnership Member, Kesarev, click here.