Towards the elections

The Party of Regions is cutting a deal with former proponents on joint participation in the elections

The Party of Regions is cutting a deal with former proponents on joint participation in the elections
Over the past half year the Party of Regions ranks have significantly decreased
Photo: Konstantin Melnitsky

The Party of Regions has begun preparations for early elections to the Verkhovna Rada, which President Petro Poroshenko may announce next week. The party plans to wager on elections in first-past-the-post constituencies. Besides that, the political force is seriously considering the possibility of forming a joint election project with former members of the PoR.

Tricks of the Maidan

People’s deputy Anatoliy Blyznyuk (Party of Regions) told Capital that the former ruling party has already begun preparing for the next elections. He said at the moment the leadership of the PoR is actively considering the candidates to nominate for running in single-mandate constituencies. Deputy Chair of the Zaporizhzhya City Organization of the PoR Mykola Severyn confirmed this information. He said the party has already decided on some candidates that will run for office in the constituencies. «It is already a fact that people’s deputy Vyacheslav Bohuslayev will run in one of the four constituencies in Zaporizhzhya,» said Severyn.

People’s deputy Mykhailo Chechetov (Party of Regions) said the party in its election campaign will make a wager on the tagline about stopping the military actions in the Donbas region. «We will speak to people about peace and do not want to exploit the idea of a war,» Chechetov told Capital. This topic, in his words, will be the main thrust of the party’s campaign and that of nominees in the constituencies.

In his turn, Blyznyuk admits that there will be self-nominated candidates among those that will be supported by the PoR. «It is important to nominate candidates that have the support of the voters and can win the race,» said Blyznyuk.

A source of Capital in the PoR faction said the wager on majoritarian constituencies and self-nominated candidates is being made because the rating of the PoR is at the moment very low and the party faces the risk of failing to go over the 5% threshold in the parliament. «As a reminder, during the Maidan we managed to win in four of five constituencies in the re-elections to the parliament with the help of self-nominated candidates. For this reason, high-brow members of the party will run for post in the majoritarian constituencies, but self-nominated candidates will also run,» he assured.

Former people’s deputy Taras Chornovol in the PoR says the wager on the Party of Regions in the majoritarian constituency is today justifiable. «They see that their chances are slim to none which is why the bets will be placed on the majoritarians, not on the promotion of the party list,» said Chornovol.

He predicts that in the course of the campaign the PoR candidates will try to distance themselves from the party to the maximum in those constituencies where the party lost wide support of the people.

Together again

The strategy of the Party of Regions in the election campaign may somewhat change if electoral blocs are permitted to run in the elections. A source of Capital in the PoR faction said that the issue of joint participation in elections with former members is being considered.

People’s deputy Oleh Shablatovych (independent), who is in the inner circle of the leader of the Strong Ukraine party Serhiy Tihipko, told Capital that the PoR is holding talks with the Development of Ukraine party, the formation of which is led by the former head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkyn. «Both Strong Ukraine and the Party of Regions are in talks with the Development of Ukraine party. Strong Ukraine is more likely to unite its efforts with the Development of Ukraine party than with the PoR. But introducing blocs may change the entire scenario. Then the probability of the unification of three forces will become stronger,» says Shablatovych. At that, he added that a separate union of the PoR and Strong Ukraine is at this point impossible.

Neither representatives of the PoR nor the Development of Ukraine party officially confirmed information on such talks for Capital.

Andiry Yermolayev, who heads the New Ukraine Institute created by Serhiy Lyovochkyn, told Capital that at the moment the Party of Regions, Strong Ukraine and the Development of Ukraine party are seeking «a formula for representing the southeast of Ukraine in the new parliament». «Whether there will be a common bloc (if it is permitted) or a united bloc remains is under question,» said Yermolayev. He assures that if based on the results of the elections to the parliament the southeast of Ukraine will not be represented, then a political crisis will unfold. «President Petro Poroshenko is aware of the possibility of such a scenario,» Yermolayev added.

Political scientist Kost Bondarenko told Capital that participation in the elections of former and current members of the PoR in a united team is logical as this will allow them to not wash out the electorate.

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