BMB Ukraine: Runoffs of local elections despite Covid-19 pandemic

“Servant of the People” teamed up last week with “Opposition Platform” to defeat the incumbent mayor in Kramatorsk. Today it teams up with “European Solidarity” in Cherkasy for the same purpose.

Brief published on the website of BMB Ukraine, on 21/11/2020

Local elections are still ongoing in Ukraine, as second rounds in mayoral races unfolded last Sunday amid a record-low turnout of 24% — 8% less than during the main election day in late October (NV)

Here are some of the main results:

  • The only defeat of an incumbent mayor in the second round came in Kramatorsk, the main administrative center in Ukrainian-controlled Donbass. A marketing director at local metallurgic factory “Energomashspetsstal,” Aleksandr Goncharenko won (57,85%) thanks to a local alliance between Servant of the People and the “Opposition Platform — For Life” party (Ukrainska Pravda).
  • After an unexpectedly poor first round, Odessa incumbent mayor Hennady Trukhanov secured his reelection with 56,7% of the vote (NV).
  • In the Western part of the country, the candidate from the Kolomoisky-backed “For the Future” party Igor Polychuk won the Lutsk race (RBC UA). Polychuk had previously been Lutsk’s acting mayor following the 2017 death of Nikolay Romaniuk.
  • In he south of the country, Igor Kolikhaev, a local businessman and MP in the “For the Future” parliamentary group is set to become the new mayor of Kherson after winning 63,59% of the vote in the second round (Espreso). Kolikhaev did not win against the incumbent but his main opponent was still a local heavyweight, three times Kherson mayor Volodymyr Saldo.

Mayoral runoff contests will continue this weekend. Most eyes will be turned on Lviv, where incumbent mayor Andriy Sadoviy faces Oleh Synutka, who is running for Poroshenko’s “European Solidarity” party. Sadoviy won nearly 10% more votes than Synutka in the first round, but he has been hotly contested and can’t count on an easy victory. An interesting dynamic will also play out this weekend in the central city of Cherkasy, where Servant of the People and European Solidarity — arch rivals on the national scene — agreed to a tactical alliance to support the Golos party candidate. Viktor Yevpak will be facing incumbent mayor Anatoliy Bondarenko, who secured a clear lead in the first round (37,6% of the vote, 19,14% for Yevpak).

Finally, in Volodymyr Zelensky’s native city of Kryvyi Rih, the surprise decision of local strongman Oleksandr Vilkul to pull out from the race for health reasons could pave the way for the first victory of a Servant of the People candidate in a major city. We won’t know just yet, as the second round was delayed to December 6.

Read more news from Ukraine here (Volodymyr Zelensky’s call with IMF director Kristalina Georgieva / What’s going at Motor Sich, the Ukrainian jet engine manufacturer torn between China and the US / The latest in the coronavirus pandemic and whether the country’s “weekend lockdown” was successful)

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