The presidential election in Ukraine will take place in less than two months, on March 31, 2019. The date of the runoff election, if any, is scheduled for the end of April. This second round of voting will most likely happen to be, if we believe the ratings. Let’s take a closer look at the subject.
According to the State Voter Register, about 35.6 million Ukrainians could vote in this election. This figure will actually be much lower. Circa 42 million people live in Ukraine (statistics of 2017), with nearly 70% of urban population and the medium age of 40 years. The country’s population has declined sharply since the last 2001 census. The reason is the annexation of Crimea by Russia (~2 million of voters), military actions in the east of the country (~5 million of voters), and the outflow of residents to the EU or Russia. Indeed, approximately 2 to 3 million Ukrainians are working abroad, very often, illegally. Moreover, every fourth citizen does not plan to participate in the elections. The main argument for this is the absence of a proper candidate to vote for.
As for the candidates, this year the number of people willing to become a president is off scale, Ukrainians can choose from 44 people. This quantity could be explained by the fact that the registration procedure is very simple this year: no need to collect signatures, the package of documents is quite easy to put together, and a cash deposit of almost $100,000, which candidates must pay, turned out to be quite reasonable. Though, quantity does not always mean quality. The main struggle is may unfold between three candidates whose ratings have changed (have a tendancy to change) throughout the entire election campaign.
The current president Petro Poroshenko is balancing between second and third place, never coming in top place. The campaign start was marked for him by the lowest possible ratings of just over 6%. Meanwhile, at the beginning of February Poroshenko has already had about 15% of voter’s support. In his program, Poroshenko focuses on patriotism and construction of a national state (partnership with the church, language and cultural identity). But the failure in his reforms, economic slowdown, tensions with EU neighbors and increased authoritarian tendencies don’t let Poroshenko to rise in ratings. Actions, not promises, that’s the Poroshenko’s slogan.
Yulia Timoshenko is the main representative of the opposition. Politically experienced, Yulia was already prime minister, was in prison, was released and acquitted. She is leading in ratings since the beginning of the campaign. On the contrary, she speaks of the need for change, promises strong social support and the fight against oligarchs and corruption. Her program finds support among retirees or young people on the right side of 30. Stability and prosperity, which can’t be done without change, the main Timoshenko’s speech.
The third candidate, Vladimir Zelensky, is a “Ukrainian Ronald Reagan”, an actor and a showman. Before starting his television career, Zelensky graduated with a Master’s degree in economics and law. He owns a production company and is rather popular among young people. So popular that in the latest ratings he managed to outrun Timoshenko. The fight against corruption, and not even an end to the war in the east of the country, is Zelensky’s main goal.
The presidential election in Ukraine will take place in less than two months, and there is not yet an evident leader. In the meantime, the Minister of Agriculture of Ukraine resigned and was replaced. Poroshenko extended moratorium on farm land sales despite his ministry’s recommendation and endorsed a bill from parliament. Let’s wait till the end of March to see if the situation can change for the country in general and for the agricultural markets in particular.