Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
UPDATE: Social Science in the Caucasus has posted fabulous maps based on polling-station level data.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
However, authoritarian regimes usually have patronage networks that extract resources and provide support to the leadership. The creation of a new party apparatus could generate a conduit of material resources that may marginally modify the inner workings of Turkmenistan's political process (as the Registan post also suggests).
Local elections are taking place in Georgia tomorrow (IFES has a succinct description of the voting). Mayoral positions, especially in post-Soviet capital cities, are powerful posts. So, it is not surprising that the contest for Tbilisi mayor has been especially visible. This election is, not surprisingly, controversial, and it is particularly perceived as a "test" of embattled President Mikheil Saakashvili. [For a Russian view of the election's problems, see this RIA Novosti story.] Eurasianet also has some interesting coverage of IDPs and voting (here and here).
The OSCE has deployed observation teams for the Kyrgyz referendum and Georgian local elections.
Russia has also held local elections and a couple of the results have not been favorable for United Russia, with the Communist Party candidates winning mayoral races in Bratsk and Irkutsk.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Supplementary Table 1 = t-tests for turnout across all reporting periods. The tests for each reporting period show a statistically significant difference between monitored and unmonitored polling stations, with monitored polling stations consistently experiencing lower reported turnout than unmonitored polling stations.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The election challenge gambit is layered on top of another drama in Kyiv: efforts to oust Tymoshenko as prime minister. Forming a new coalition would require strange bedfellows. The idea of a grand coalition between the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine has been floated before, but pairing Our Ukraine and the Communists is a tougher sell to members and constituents of both groups. If Yanukovych's team comes up with a coalition, it could avoid the potential perils of early elections. But, its coalition might be weak and fractious. Moreover, coalition partners would expect cabinet posts (it is likely Our Ukraine would demand the prime minister's portfolio, with someone like Yuriy Yekhanurov taking the post). Alternatively, Yanukovych's team could engineer a collapse of the current coalition which has barely held together, and set up early parliamentary elections. Parliamentary elections are a risk, however, as they may not yield a coalition to Yanukovych's liking.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
UPDATE (4:15 p.m. local time): The CEC just released turnout data for the first two reporting periods. Eastern regions (Donetsk and Luhansk) lead the way with 57% of voters casting ballots by 3 p.m. Zakarpatska Oblast has reported lowest turnout (35%), and one oblast has not yet reported in (Chernivets). Turnout in many western regions where Tymoshenko is expected to be stronger is relatively low (L'viv Oblast reports 46%, Ivano-Frankivsk 41%). Regions where Tihipko performed the best in the first round did not generally report high turnout; Dnipropetrovsk was just about at the mean (49%) and Odesa was below the mean (42%). As I have noted before, Tymoshenko's areas of strength have lower populations than Yanukovych-leaning regions. Large-scale mobilization of core supporters is especially important for her to have a chance at victory. Volyn, Ternopil, and Rivne reported turnout above the mean, but lower than turnout in Yanukovych's core regions. While projecting outcomes from turnout data is problematic for several reasons, on their face the data suggest that Yanukovych is likely in a better position than Tymoshenko at this point in the day.
UPDATE (8:15 p.m. local time): All exit polls are giving the nod to Viktor Yanukovych. While results vary, Yanukovych is predicted to have around 49%, Tymoshenko 46%, and the remainder (5% or so) against all.
UPDATE (10:30 p.m. local time): Of course, as Tymoshenko herself noted, exit poll results are within the standard margin of error rendering a definitive prediction elusive. While the CEC site has not yet posted results, Ukrainska Pravda currently has information on about 1% of the votes and will be updating regularly.
UPDATE (1:00 a.m. (February 8) local time): With 25% of the votes counted, Viktor Yanukovych leads 51% to 43%. Based on the SOCIS exit poll, Ukrainska Pravda has published a "portrait" of the electorate for each candidate. In most demographic features, the candidates' supporters are essentially equivalent. While I do not have the raw data to run a quick test, I suspect that there would be a statistically significant difference in supporters based on residence - with rural regions favoring Tymoshenko and large urban areas favoring Yanukovych.
UPDATE (2:45 a.m. (February 8) local time): With just about 50% of the vote counted, the CEC reports that Yanukovych leads 49.52% to 44.85% with 4.49% of ballots cast against all and 1.12% invalid. Eleven regions have processed fewer than 50% of their protocols: Crimea (15%), Volyn (27%), Luhansk (31%), Ivano-Frankivsk (31%), L'viv (32%), Chernivets (35%), Kirovohrad (36%), Sumska (39%), Rivne (45%), Kyiv Oblast (47%), Zaporizka (47%). While many of these regions are in Tymoshenko's area of strength, other high-population areas of Yanukovych support still have many protocols to finalize.
Below is a table of turnout, with results sorted by oblast. The three results are reports from 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 8 p.m.. Given the stakes, and the decisive status of round 2, higher turnout is not surprising (although it surpassed round 1 by just a few percentage points where turnout was 66.76%). Areas with core supporters for both candidates seem to have been mobilized, but regions where alternate candidates performed well in round 1 have lower turnout (e.g., Yatseniuk's core area in Chernivets, Tihipko's regions of strength in Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa).
UPDATE (3:00 p.m. (February 8) local time): With 98.26% of the protocols in, the CEC is reporting that Yanukovych has received 48.56% of the vote and Yuliya Tymoshenko 45.85% of the vote, with 4.39% voting against all. The against all vote - citizens who come to the polls to record a vote against both candidates - could have changed the outcome if they voted for a single candidate. The against all vote could also have vaulted either candidate above 50%. I'll comment on the implications of Yanukovych's apparent win later.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Ukraine may be faced with a similar scenario on Monday morning. While conventional wisdom holds that it is Tymoshenko who will come up short in the vote count, it may be quite close depending on how effectively both campaigns have mobilized their supporters. Tymoshenko has promised to take demonstrators to the streets if democratic practices are not followed; both campaigns have requested permission to hold rallies in Kyiv.
The election, and its aftermath, may have important implications for Ukraine's democracy. Both the winner and loser - as well as supporters - need to accept the results and occupy their positions as leader of the executive, and leader of the opposition. The winner should resist the temptation to overreach in the assertion of his/her mandate. Moreover, constant change to political institutions undermines the development of stable competitive politics. The loser should resist the temptation to endlessly appeal the decision and disrupt governance practices. Power changes hands in democratic societies; if the loser learns lessons from failure and applies them to the next campaign, the outcome may be different.
Yanukovych himself may, perhaps ironically, serve as an example. If he wins tomorrow's election, his narrative turns into the tale of a political phoenix. He lost the 2004 election and suffered political humiliation. Recognizing that he needed to change his image, he hired consultants and followed their advice. His tone softened a bit, and he followed a set of talking points. His party's victory in the 2006 parliamentary election  marked his return as a viable electoral force. While he failed to extend his victory in the 2007 parliamentary election, the winning coalition had a bare majority, experienced infighting, and faced the economic crisis as the standing government. His team's actions, as well as some "luck," may take him from embarrassing defeat to victory.
1. Technically, the Party of Regions obtained the most votes, but did not "win" the election. However, Yanukovych's allies were able to cobble together a coalition that briefly ruled until early parliamentary elections tipped the balance to Tymoshenko's team in 2007.
Friday, February 5, 2010
On a related note, controversy has erupted over administrative practices for the second round. The Verkhovna Rada was convened for its 6th session this week, and amended aspects of the presidential election law which the president quickly signed. Changing the law days ahead of an election, and between rounds, is an unusual practice. But, Ukrainian politicians have amended election rules regularly ahead of the vote. The changes focused on minor administrative procedures, but may have serious implications for the vote count. The quorum rule for commissions was altered, allowing for decisions to be made without the previously mandated 2/3 attendance (instead, quorum is now a majority). Commission members may be replaced, and the rules do not require that they represent the same presidential candidate (only that they have approval of local government and the higher-level electoral commission).
Tymoshenko issued a statement about the rule changes, asserting that they were improper and undermine the electoral process. The Party of Regions countered that Tymoshenko's supporters were planning to undermine vote counting in areas where Yanukovych is strong by not showing up and preventing results from being counted and certified. Tymoshenko was lying about the effect of the new rules, according to the Party of Regions. Both parties have been willing to disrupt government activities in the Verkhovna Rada by blocking the Speaker's access to the dais, and creating noise that prevents deliberation and decision-making. In that context, the Party of Regions' allegations that BYuT might disrupt electoral practices are not out of the question. Also, a majority quorum rule is standard for bodies to convene (see Robert's Rules of Order). Nevertheless, last minute rule changes are generally inadvisable as they may lead to a perception of impropriety and may be difficult to implement.
[Hat tip to Maksym Palamarenko for the Left Bank citation and Mark Nigrini for the "data interrogation tests" phrase.]
Monday, February 1, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tihipko has an opportunity to "cash in" in the short term, extracting the best package from one of the campaigns. But, a strength of his campaign was his ability to avoid clear identification with either camp. If Tihipko thinks longer-term, he might be better off heading his own party in the next parliamentary election (which may come sooner rather than later). This strategy has greater risks - his star may not continue to rise as he engages in the messy politics in Kyiv - but has potentially great rewards. If he maintains his image as an "independent" voice and strong leader, he could fare much better in the next presidential contest. Five years is an eternity in politics, especially in Ukraine, which is why politicians typically seem to favor short-term benefits.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I have compiled, as a starting point, election results from the Central Electoral Commission at the national and regional levels. While I plan to acquire and assess precinct-level data, that is a more time-consuming task. In the short-run, I am focusing on data aggregated at the oblast level. A caveat before I continue: the analysis of data at this level of aggregation runs afoul of the ecological inference problem. Indeed, the behavior I am interested in assessing is at the individual-level, but the data are at a higher level of aggregation. A second caveat, always applied to projections of second-round contests, is that the composition of voters may change. In fact, changing the composition of voters is to the campaigns' advantages, as I will argue below. With these caveats in mind, here is some preliminary analysis.
While all of the ballots have not been included in the tally, the results are unlikely to change significantly (although they will change slightly). According to the data from the CEC, Yanukovych claimed 35.32%, Tymoshenko 25.05%, Tihipko 13.06%, Yatseniuk 6.96%, Yushchenko 5.45%, and the remaining 13 candidates and against all picking up the rest of the valid ballots. All of the losers are players, to one degree or another, in round 2, but Tihipko is in a particularly strong position to negotiate terms with both camps.
Using the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology's polling from a few weeks before the first round, I performed a little thought experiment. The KIIS poll asked likely voters for all candidates who they would support in a round 2 matchup between Yanukovych and Tymoshenko. For many minor candidates the number of respondents indicating support was small, rendering their answers on this question problematic (for example, if two people indicated support for candidate Protivsikh, and one supported Yanukovych in hypothetical round 2 and the other Tymoshenko, it could be problematic to project a 50-50 split in the Protivsikh vote). In addition, the poll was taken well before the round 1 moratorium and positions may change. Nevertheless, it is an interesting starting point to consider.
I used the preferences of respondents to estimate how votes could break in round 2. Yuliya begins with a 2.5 million vote gap. Support from losers narrows the gap by 500,000 (that is, Yuliya picks up a higher proportion of votes from losers than Yanukovych), but the estimates still leave roughly 4.2 million voters (around 17%) from round 1 unallocated. Of particular note, based on the KIIS survey results, Yanukovych takes more Tihipko supporters than Tymoshenko. But, nearly 40% of Tihipko's supporters did not express a preference.
In addition, I compiled data from the presidential election, as well as the last two parliamentary contests, and used ArcGIS to generate various maps displaying the results. You may click on the maps for larger versions.
This map displays Yanukovych's performance across the country, with oblasts color-coded by .15 increments. The choice of increments can exert a strong effect on the way we interpret maps, and I may generate some different versions in later posts. There are few surprises here, with Yanukovych performing well in the east, especially Donetsk and Luhansk. Perhaps his relatively weaker performance in Dnipropetrovsk is a surprise, at first glance, but this is an issue that I will return to momentarily.
Tymoshenko's results are also unsurprising. She performed well in the west, especially Volyn and Vinnystia. Her strongest regional performances fall below Yanukovych, a point which could prove to be advantageous in round 2.
The third-place finisher, Sergey Tihipko, showed several areas of strength. Most notably, he placed well in Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa, as well as in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizka, and Sevastopol. Please note that his performance is displayed in .05 increments. Two more maps, for Arseniy Yatseniuk and Viktor Yushchenko:
Like Tihipko, Yatseniuk's performance is displayed in smaller increments (Yushchenko is in .15 increments due to his performance in the west). Yatseniuk had some strength in Chernivtsy and Ivano-Frankivsk, and Yushchenko did well in L'viv, Ternopil, and Ivano-Frankivsk.
Now, some thoughts for both campaigns.
- Mobilize core voters. While this is an obvious recommendation, it is particularly important because round 2 may be close. Not only do both campaigns need to energize voters who showed up to the polls, but they also need to engage voters who did not. Tymoshenko might face a greater challenge regarding the latter. Western oblasts had relatively high turnout. Yanukovych might be able to make gains increasing turnout in Odesa, Crimea, Kirovohrad, and Mykolaivsk (and perhaps in Kherson and Zakarpattya also). Tymoshenko may be able to benefit from higher turnout in Chernivets - a region that disproportionately supported Yatseniuk and had second-to-lowest regional turnout. But, the population of Chernivets is low compared to regions where Yanukovych may benefit from mobilization.
- De-mobilize potential voters for the opposition. Some of this strategy depends on how the campaigns perceive voter preferences among supporters of Yatseniuk and Yushchenko. If they are perceived as having anti-Yuliya attitudes, but even stronger anti-Yanukovych attitudes, then the Tymoshenko campaign benefits from some conciliatory gestures. Yanukovych benefits from reminding them how much they dislike Yuliya. If these voters are generally perceived as anti-Yuliya (especially Yushchenko voters given the personal animosity between the two), then Yanukovych benefits from attempting to mobilize them, and Yuliya benefits from de-mobilizing them.
- Get Tihipko Voters. Tihipko has many options to consider. It is unclear how loyal his supporters may be, so his endorsement may or may not bring these voters along. But, his supporters were strong in especially important areas. The following maps show how support for Tymoshenko and Yanukovych changed between 2006 and 2010, as well as 2007 and 2010. Another caveat: I am comparing parliamentary election results with presidential ones. The decision-making algorithm for voters, as well as the choice set, probably differs. But, the personalistic nature of parties and campaigns renders this comparison not wholly unreasonable.
These maps show Yanukovych's changes in fortune between the the parliamentary elections and the first round of the presidential contest. Note especially Yanukovych losses in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizka.
Similar to the Yanukovych maps, the Tymoshenko maps reveal some losses in areas of Tihipko gain (again, Dnipropetrovsk looms large).
Expect to see strong efforts to gain Dnipropetrovsk from both campaigns. In addition, the Kyiv region, Kharkiv, Kherson, Odesa, and Zaporizka could be strongly contested.
- Picking up votes. For Yanukovych, Yuliya's potential to pick up votes from competitors in the West is a potential problem. In Yuliya's best region (Volyn), she beat Yanukovych by 44 points. In Yanukovych's best region, he beat Tymoshenko by 72 points. This map shows the gap between the candidates. Regions leaning to Yanukovych are reflected by positive values.
Yanukovych's top competitors were not as strong as Yuliya's in their respective regions of strength. But, while Yanukovych has less to gain in terms of the percentage of voters that he might acquire from competitors, his areas of strength have substantially larger populations.
Monday, January 18, 2010
- How can they ensure that their supporters turn out in the second round? Turnout was lower in 2010 than in other elections, but this may be partly due to falsification in earlier contests. Core supporters seem likely to return to the polls. But, how can they mobilize new supporters (and undermine turnout by opponents' supporters)?
- How costly are endorsements from the first round losers? To curry favor with other politicians, they have to get something in return.
- How much benefit do first round losers bring? While some first round losers performed well, especially Tihipko, the campaigns must assess if the losers have mobilizational leverage among their voters to convince many to participate in the second round and vote in a particular manner. If voters would naturally gravitate to one of the candidates, the campaigns have to assess if they worth buying off (e.g., Petro Symonenko supporters are likely to choose Yanukovych in large numbers. Symonenko's support is likely to be less valuable - and less costly - than other candidates' endorsements).
Results are still being counted, but outcome yields no big surprises (official CEC results are here). With 78% of the vote finalized, Yanukovych leads with 36%, followed by Tymoshenko with 25%. [UPDATE: No real change with 95% counted: Yanukovych now has 35%, Tymoshenko 25%, and Tihipko 13%. Turnout is reported to be 66.7%] Sergey Tihipko indeed surged, but did not approach surviving into the second round. He will be a major player, however, as the two front-runners prepare for the February 7th runoff.
These results track closely with exit polls released right after voting ended. The geographic distribution is also as anticipated, with Yanukovych taking the east and south, and Tymoshenko dominating in the west and center. The only exception is the Zakarpatska region, where the SDPU(o) was dominant historically, supported Yanukovych. I will review the spatial distribution of votes once the final results are in, as they may give us valuable information for round 2.
My internet access is still down, so updates will be sporadic until my return to the US later this week.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
The contentious end to the campaign has continued on election day, with the Tymoshenko and Yanukovych camps trading accusations about efforts commit fraud (more here). In addition, a controversy about voting at home using the mobile ballot box has intensified.
At the moment, the CEC is posting updated turnout figures, based on 3:00 p.m. reporting from the polling sites. Turnout was 16.2% at 11:00 a.m. and is reported to be 39.47 at 3:00 p.m. (although it is not quite yet 3:00 here. The value may be based on partial results and will be updated as more electoral commissions report in).
I will continue to post updates as Internet access allows. My apartment's cable and Internet inexplicably went out 36 hours ago (supposedly the whole building is out). The provider claims to be working on the problem, but I have seen no evidence yet.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Earlier today, I attended a press conference from the major Ukrainian NGO the Committee of Voters of Ukraine. The CVU has been at the forefront of training election workers and monitoring election administration. The basic message was that the quality of election administration and the campaign has shown substantial progress and massive, systematic fraud is unlikely. Rather, the bigger problems are inadequate financing of the election, lack of professionalism among some lower-level electoral commissions, and the overly political character of decisions coming from the CEC.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Some campaigns have failed to engage with good PR specialists, however. Arseniy Yatsenyuk is a young politician whose star was on the rise. His stint as speaker of parliament was marred by his inability to herd Ukrainian cats (please note: Slavs in fact train cats although they have not yet made the Only In Ukraine blog...). He has recently fallen prey to a Michael Dukakis syndrome, trying to portray himself in ways that do not match his skills and abilities. While he has not been filmed in a tank, awkward tractor driving and bare-chested poses are ill-suited. The Kyiv Post article linked above attributes the Yatseniuk's errors to Russian political consultants who opted to portray him as a "military-style leader."
Tigipko has a strong profile: he was Vice-Premier for Economics in Pavlo Lazarenko's government, Minister of Economics in Viktor Yushchenko's government, elected an MP on the "For United Ukraine" list in 2002, and director of the Central Bank. He led Viktor Yanukovych's failed campaign in 2004, and left politics after that defeat. When he joined the election campaign in 2009, some suggested that he would be a technical candidate for Yuliya Tymoshenko. But, he has run a credible campaign.
To sum it up, Tigipko has been associated with all major contenders - and sides - but has been out of politics over the last five years. He has credible outsider credentials, and also is capable of projecting a strong public image. But, with poll numbers well below Tymoshenko (half or less), he is unlikely to catch up even though his trajectory was ticking upward. His name should pop up in the second round as he is courted - by both camps - perhaps with a cabinet position or as a potential prime minister down the line.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Based on my conversations with political observers over the past couple of days, the denial stems from decisions by actors on both sides of the debate. I was told that the Georgians were planning to stage an observation mission that would heavily oversample the east, implying that they were targeting the Party of Regions. In addition, CEC votes have reflected the "party line" on some issues, with the majority supporting the Party of Regions. Politicized electoral commissions created problems in the last presidential election (and I observed biased decision-making in polling stations that I would attribute to the capture of commissions through technical candidates). Misbehavior at the polls is likely to be more sophisticated and diffuse than in 2004, but both rounds are likely to feature allegations of improper behavior all over the country.
- The profile notes that Yuliya's leadership style is not democratic. This observation is hardly a surprise for a politician with an eponymous political party.
- Tymoshenko is a populist, and policy positions detailed on her website showcase this tendency. She directs barbs at oligarchs and promises a range of policy outcomes: anti-corruption measures, new technological and industrial development, energy independence, improved education (including free Internet access for all children) and health, poverty reduction (and significant state spending), a European orientation (but a veiled reference to NATO accession only through a referendum), cordial relations with Russia, and an end to a conscription-based armed forces. Like many populists, she makes promises beyond the capacity to pay for them, is associated with the very forces she criticizes, and seems to approach policies opportunistically rather than ideologically.
- The profile's characterization of Tymoshenko as a politician pursuing "absolute power" corresponds with the author's concerns that a Tymoshenko victory could lead to a "...short authoritarian experiment..." The failure to manage a party in a democratic manner hardly guarantees that the leader will rule a country in an authoritarian manner. Party organizations vary, with some featuring centralized decision-making that leaves little space for rank-and-file members to influence platform development, nominations, or strategies and others permitting more input from members. While Tymoshenko notes that she opposes constitutional changes that took effect in 2006, reducing the power of the presidency, enhancing presidential power is not equivalent to authoritarianism.
Monday, January 11, 2010
It may be more useful to look not at full support, but rather both flavors of support together. The graph below presents full and partial support combined (blue), along with dissatisfaction (orange). While the trends that UP points out generally persist, the intensity of change differs. For example, the change in attitudes about Yushchenko reflected in the June-October 2008 results are a small downward blip in the UP article; the decline is more precipitous with full and partial support added together. The increase in "no support" rises to 75.6% of respondents from June-October 2008 - an increase of 20 percentage points from the June 2008 poll. The financial crisis and President Yushchenko's failed bid to hold another early parliamentary election loom large over that period, and could constitute explanatory factors.
More than 50% of respondents trusted Yushchenko in almost all periods prior to and during the Orange Revolution. Since early 2008, trust has dissipated to only 19% in the October 2009 poll. No realistic scenario predicts Yushchenko's re-election. However, rumors have circulated of an agreement between Yushchenko and Yanukovych in which Yushchenko would be nominated for the post of prime minister (as well as receive some policy concessions) in exchange for help challenging Tymoshenko. Yushchenko's lack of popularity suggests that if the agreement were real, Yanukovych has a strong incentive to renege on his end of the bargain. While Yanukovych might benefit from a non-aggression deal with Yushchenko, and perhaps gain support from Yushchenko's administrative resources, Yanukovych gains little from nominating such an unpopular politician to be prime minister.
Moreover, since parliament gained more authority over the appointment of the prime minister after constitutional reforms took effect in 2006, it is not clear that Yushchenko could bring along enough deputies to scuttle the current coalition government and hand over the reins to Yanukovych.
- On election fraud in 2004: "Yanukovych indicates that the "fact of election falsification has not been proven in court... [and] that in the second round of the election in 2004 everything proceeded lawfully." Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, the Yanukovych campaign has been making the case that fraud may be in the works for the 2010 election - in the western parts of the country favoring his main rival Yuliya Tymoshenko. I have read an analysis, produced by the American political consulting group Davis Manafort, alleging that many polling stations in western Ukraine produced anomalous results detrimental to the Party of Regions and implying that fraud would be employed in the west in 2010. While I do not dispute the potential for fraud in many regions of Ukraine, the evidence supports contentions of fraud in 2004 (even though that evidence may not have been tested in court).
- On democracy and the Orange Revolution: "
- On NATO: " Yanukovych has been consistent in his opposition to NATO membership, noting that Ukraine should remain neutral. Neutrality is not really the objective. Instead, the target is a return to the Leonid Kuchma era "multi-vector" foreign policy which was rather successful in balancing Ukrainian independence, warmer relations with Europe, and civil relations with Russia. "
- On the status of Russian language: "Yanukovych's pledge to pass language legislation will be a real test, especially if he wins the presidency and manages to obtain a parliamentary majority in subsequent elections. In recent elections, his Party of Regions has turned to its bread-and-butter issues to mobilize voters as voting approaches. The most effective issues to engage core supporters have been NATO membership and the status of Russian-language speakers. Enacting and implementing legislation to elevate the status of Russian would remove this seemingly effective mobilization tool. "
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The road from Kyiv-Boryspil Airport to the city's center is lined with campaign advertisements. While the route from the airport does not give a representative sample of advertising, the impressions that one gathers from glancing at the signs can be useful. Yuliya Tymoshenko's image is ubiquitous; Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko were also advertising in force. Fewer billboards supported Sergey Tihipko, Lyudmila Suprun, and the other pretenders to the throne. However, even Vasyl Protivsikh (the recently re-named Vasyl Gumenyuk whose surname now means "Against All") had a few signs along the road. Campaign activity was understated on Maidan Nezalezhnosti, crowds milling around seemed to be more focused on the holiday season. More comments are forthcoming after I begin work on Monday.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
As the election approaches, contenders and the media will direct attention to election administration. Some of my Ukrainian colleagues at CIFRA have published an interesting analysis of electoral commission membership that is worth reading (in Russian).
Friday, January 1, 2010
January 10 - Uzbekistan's parliamentary election (Round 2 in 39 districts)
January 17 - Ukraine's presidential election (Round 1)
February 21 - Tajikistan's parliamentary election
October 2 - Latvia's parliamentary election
November 7 - Azerbaijan's parliamentary election
Fall (date TBA) - Moldova's pre-term parliamentary election
Political observers also expect efforts to dissolve Ukraine's parliament and hold early elections after the dust settles from the presidential election.