Comment on Ukrainian Candidates' Regional Ties

Candidate information is beginning to appear on Ukraine's Central Electoral Commission site. The re-introduction of the mixed system is likely to enhance the importance of candidate connections to regional constituencies as competitors seek ways to increase electability. Although the previous two elections used rules that de-emphasized local connections, parties appeared to be mindful of the importance of nominating candidates with regional ties on their national lists. The local capacity that parties and politicians have developed over the last few cycles should be especially useful in the upcoming election.

I generated the following maps using data collected from the Central Electoral Commission (in a collaboration with Nazar Boyko). The first map displays reported candidate residency from the 2007 snap elections for 1,899 candidates with clearly defined location data (apologies for the pie charts, but the BatchGeo platform uses them as a standard tool to display data. As a side note, pie charts have their detractors and proponents...).

View Ukraine Residency 2007 by Party in a full screen map

While more than a third of candidates declared Kyiv or its environs to be their place of residence, the remaining candidates were distributed in all corners of Ukraine. Regional divisions are unsurprisingly evident, with the Party of Regions and Communists offering a higher proportion of candidates claiming eastern residency than other parties, and Our Ukraine-People's Self Defense and the Bloc of Yuliya Tymoshenko offering a higher proportion of candidates claiming western residency. These data suggest that the major parties have developed local capacity across the country that could be valuable under the mixed system.

The picture from 2007 is a bit different when we look at winners: Kyiv residency is dominant, accounting for more than half of all elected deputies. The Party of Regions is better represented through the reported residency of its elected deputies in some eastern areas (e.g., Donetsk) and the opposition is better represented in western areas (e.g., BYuT in Galicia). But, parties can also claim elected deputies who report residency in "enemy" territory.

View Ukraine 2007 Residency by Party (Winners) in a full screen map

Of course, the party system has changed in important ways since 2007, especially for the opposition, with the decline of OU-PSD, the collaboration of BYuT and Yatseniuk's Front of Change, and the independent participation of UDAR. It is also important to note that residency and localness may not have been decisive the last time the mixed system was used. In 2002, two-thirds of candidates in single-member districts (2,133 of 3,086) claimed residency in or around the districts they contested. However, 126 of the 223 district deputies initially elected did not claim local ties, compared to 97 who did. I plan to do some additional analysis, taking into account various factors such as the choice set in the districts, the qualities of candidates, and so on. But, as we look toward the 2012 parliamentary election, it will be instructive to see how party nominations reflect regional connections.

Note: The maps have some missing values, generally due to coding (either information availability or geocoding problems). In some cases, the geocoder could not identify villages. I will explore these issues as they may be a function of transliteration choices.

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