Do you know what insight means? I recently had a chance to experience it for myself. Two ordinary ladies, intuition suggests that they might be post officers, discussed an event so anticipated by many – elections of Oleksandr Popov. That’s right, they discussed elections of Popov and not mayor elections, which will most likely take place in March in their opinion since March will be the last month of free subscription of Kyiv Council newspaper for Kyiv residents. That was the time of my insight! These are the people who know everything. There is not much time left until March, therefore, we will get a chance to check whether predictions of these ladies, knowledgeable in matters of city governance, will come true.
The date for mayor elections in Kyiv is still open. It is unlikely that the elections would be held until May, when the five-year term of the current MPs of City Council expires. It is incredible that someone would wait until October of 2015, when the regular elections to local government bodies of Ukraine are scheduled. Although, as the leader of UDAR Party Vitalii Klitschko stated “we cannot rule out the chance that once again the elections could be rescheduled for next year in an unconstitutional way, there are even talks that there will be no elections in Kyiv until 2015.”
Equally uncertain is the question about who will compete to win “Popov elections.” Again, Batkivshchyna Party has already expressed its support to Klitschko as a candidate from the opposition. Polls held by Razumkov Center in Kyiv from February 5 until 13, 2013 showed that Klitschko has a better chance to be elected as an only candidate from the United Opposition with 49 percent of votes, while Popov received only 25.9 percent of votes polled. However, almost 16 percent of respondents have not yet made up their mind about who they would support and 4.8 percent of people would vote for a different candidate (the poll suggested a choice between Vasyl Horbal, Viktor Pylypyshyn, Oleksandr Omelchenko, Vitalii Klitschko, and Oleksandr Popov). Meanwhile, there are also other prominent figures like Petro Poroshenko, Ivan Salii, and even Oleh Liashko, who also have ambitions to become the mayor.
Abstracting from the long list of people, who are willing to get the position of Kyiv mayor, we asked the director of the Analytical Center “Politics” Mykola DAVYDIUK about what people in Kyiv expect from the elections.
“Kyiv residents don’t expect a new mayor to be either an economist or a clown. They want a good manger capable of solving the most pressing problems of the city. First, it is the problem of both public and private transport. Second is the problem of housing and public utilities service.
“If the opposition would not agree on something and would act the way they do now, when Arsenii Yatseniuk sets Klitschko up with some intrigues, Popov would be able to beat opposition candidate even by a landslide of 20 percent. It should be taken into account that the city always votes against someone, it always breaks any party plan regardless of whether it came from the ruling party or opposition. This happens because Kyiv has European level of Internet access, which means unrestrained access to uncensored information. There are many entrepreneurs here who are able to count money, know the law, and, after all, the parties will have to work with the intelligentsia and this requires a clear program, not just slogans.
“There are always 5-10 percent and sometimes even 25-30 percent of voters who consider their vote to be rather a commodity than their civic duty. These votes are the easiest to win.
“What concerns the time of the elections, unfortunately, nobody asks Kyiv residents about this. This will be decided by some backroom agreements. Perhaps, the elections will take place sometime in June or July. This is the time when the middle class usually plans their vacations and old ladies – Popov’s main electorate, are not yet gone for villages.”