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Elections in Ukraine

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Title: Elections in Ukraine  
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Elections in Ukraine

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

Elections in Ukraine are held to choose the President (head of state), Verkhovna Rada (legislature body), and local governments. Referendums may be held on special occasions. Ukraine has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which often not a single party has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.


  • Legislation 1
    • Local elections 1.1
    • Past legislation 1.2
  • Voting patterns 2
  • Voter turnout 3
  • Perceived flaws in legislation 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Elections in Ukraine are held to choose the President (head of state) and Verkhovna Rada (legislature). The president is elected for a five-year term. The Verkhovna Rada has 450 members and is also elected for a five-year term, but may be dissolved earlier by the president in the case of a failure to form a government.[1][2][3] Currently the Verkhovna Rada is elected using a mixed election system. Half of the representatives are elected from national closed party lists distributed between the parties using the Hare quota with a 5% threshold. The remaining half are elected from constituencies using first-past-the-post voting. This system was adopted for the 2012 elections[4][1] and was also used for the most recent (2014) election, as a new draft law moving to electing all members using open party lists failed to gather necessary support in the Rada.[5]

A snap poll must have a voter turnout higher than 50%.[6]

Ukraine’s election law forbids outside financing of political parties or campaigns.[7]

Presidential candidates must had residence in Ukraine for the past ten years prior to election day.[8]

The election laws were slightly modified on 20 December 2013.[9]

Local elections

Under the Constitution of Ukraine, the term of office of the heads of villages and towns and the council members of these villages and towns is five years.[10]

Past legislation

The parliamentary election law has been changed 4 times since 1991.[1][11] Before 1998 all the members of the Parliament were elected by single-seat constituencies (from each electoral district). In 1998 and in 2002 half of the members were elected by proportional representation (faction vote) and the other half by single-seat constituencies. In the 2006 and 2007 parliamentary election, all 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada where elected by party-list proportional representation with closed lists[12][13][14] (the same goes for local elections).[15]

In the 2010 Ukrainian local elections four years was set for the office of the heads of villages and towns and the council members of these villages and towns.[10][16]

Voting patterns

In the elections since 2002 voters of Western and Central Ukrainian oblasts voted mostly for parties (Our Ukraine, Batkivshchyna, UDAR, Self Reliance, Radical Party, Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People's Front) and presidential candidates (Viktor Yuschenko, Yulia Tymoshenko) with a pro-Western and state reform platform, while voters in Southern and Eastern oblasts of Ukraine voted for parties (CPU, Party of Regions and Opposition Bloc) and presidential candidates (Viktor Yanukovych) with a pro-Russian and status quo platform.[17][18][19][20][21][17][22] Although this geographical division is decreasing.[23][17][24] Till the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election the electorate of CPU and Party of Regions was very loyal to them.[21] But in the 2014 parliamentary election Party of Regions did not to participate (because of a perceived lack of legitimacy (of the election), because not every resident of the Donbas could vote) and the CPU come 1,12% short to overcome the 5% election threshold.[25][26]

A 2010 study by the Institute of Social and Political Psychology of Ukraine found that in general, Yulia Tymoshenko supporters are more optimistic compared with Viktor Yanukovych supporters. 46 percent of the Tymoshenko’s backers expect improvement in their well-being in the next year compared to 30 percent for Yanukovych.[27]

Voter turnout

From 1994 till 2007 the average voter turnout for the Verkhovna Rada elections was 68.13%[28][29] The total voter turnout in the 2012 parliamentary elections was then the lowest ever with 57.99%;[30] The lowest turnout in these elections was in Crimea (with 49.46%), the highest in Lviv Oblast (67.13%).[30] In the 2014 parliamentary elections the official voter turnout was set (by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine) at 52.42%.[31] This figure was determined after the Central Electoral Commission deducted the eligible voters in areas were voting was impossible.[17] Because of the ongoing War in Donbass and the unilateral annexation of Crimea by Russia, the 2014 parliamentary elections were not held in Crimea and also not held in parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast.[32][33] The lowest turnout in these elections was in Donetsk Oblast (with 32.4%), the highest in again in Lviv Oblast (70%).[34] According to Tadeusz Olszański, of the Centre for Eastern Studies, the low turnout in Donetsk Oblast (and also Luhansk Oblast) is explained by the end of an artificial increase of voter turnout there by Party of Regions officials.[17]

The voting turnout for Presidential elections is always higher than for Verkhovna Rada elections with an average voter turnout of 72% from 2004 till 2010 (67.95% in the 2010 Presidential election).[28][35] In the 2014 Presidential election the Central Election Commission of Ukraine set the turnout at over 60%; just as in the 2014 parliamentary elections, these elections were not held in Crimea and also not held in parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast.[36][37] The most popular presidential elections were the first one in 1991 where nearly 30.6 millions people voted and in the 2004 election which gathered some 28 millions. There were only three presidential candidates who have gathered over 10 millions votes: Leonid Kravchuk (1991 - 19.6, 1994 - 10.0), Viktor Yushchenko (2004 - 11.1), and Viktor Yanukovych (2004 - 11.0). The 10 million voters mark was almost reached by Leonid Kuchma in 1999, but he only managed to gain trust of 9.6 millions. To this day Kravchuk and Petro Poroshenko are the only presidential candidates who managed to win the elections after the first round obtaining over 50% of votes, respective in 1991 and 2014. The person most frequently participating in presidential elections is Oleksandr Moroz who stood in every presidential election since 1994 when he gained the biggest support of some 3.5 millions, while in 2010 for him voted less than 0.1 million. Viktor Yanukiovych became the strongest runner-up in the history of presidential elections, while Leonid Kuchma - the only runner-up of the first round who managed to pull a win in the second one. Thus far the top two presidential candidates always would get support of over 5 million voters each.

Perceived flaws in legislation

Despite a clear system for declaring donations to campaign funds, officials and experts say that Ukraine’s election law is consistently flouted, with spending from candidates’ official funds representing only a fraction of the amount truly spent while it’s rarely clear where the funding comes from.[38]

Early May 2009 the "The Committee of Voters of Ukraine" stated they believe that the use of the state’s OPORA, one in five Ukrainians were willing to sell his or her vote in the then upcoming 2010 Ukrainian local elections.[40] But according to (then) Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov these elections "were absolutely without the use of administrative resources, naturally. Nobody interfered with our citizens."[41]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Parliament passes law on parliamentary elections".  
  2. ^ Q&A: Ukrainian parliamentary election, BBC News (23 October 2012)
  3. ^ (Ukrainian) Law of Ukraine "On Elections of People's Deputies of Ukraine " dated 17 November 2011, Verkhovna Rada
  4. ^ "Ukraine: The Law on Election of the People's Deputies (Unofficial translation by IFES), 2011" (PDF). 17 November 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Rada fails to put on today's agenda three bills on elections of MPs".  
  6. ^ "Voters Committee Predicting 60% Snap Election Turnout".  
  7. ^ Hacked PR documents accelerate political war, Kyiv Post (11 January 2013)
  8. ^ Vitali Klitschko says intends to run for president in Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (24 October 2013)
    Parliament passes law that could prevent Klitschko from running for president, Interfax-Ukraine (24 October 2013)
  9. ^ Yanukovych signs EU integration law on elections, Interfax-Ukraine (20 December 2013)
  10. ^ a b CEC member: Kyiv City Council to be elected for five years in upcoming election, Interfax-Ukraine (16 February 2013)
  11. ^ Experts: Proposed election law casts cloud over next year’s parliamentary contest, Kyiv Post (October 3, 2011)
  12. ^ Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics, And Institutional Design by Paul D'Anieri, M.E. Sharpe, 2006, ISBN 0-7656-1811-7 (page 251)
  13. ^ Black Sea Fleet vote: Know thy turncoats, Kyiv Post (May 6, 2010)
  14. ^ Ukraine needs constitutional change now, Kyiv Post (May 7, 2009)
  15. ^ Parliament rejects bill on local elections under open lists, Kyiv Post (July 1, 2010)
  16. ^ European Parliament EU-Ukraine PCC Members' delegation to Ukraine observing local and regional elections of 31 October 2010, European Parliament (10 November 2010)
  17. ^ a b c d e Olszański, Tadeusz A. (29 October 2014), A strong vote for reform: Ukraine after the parliamentary elections, OSW—Centre for Eastern Studies 
  18. ^ Центральна виборча комісія України - WWW відображення ІАС "Вибори народних депутатів України 2012"
    CEC substitues Tymoshenko, Lutsenko in voting papers
  19. ^ Communist and Post-Communist Parties in Europe by Uwe Backes and Patrick Moreau, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-36912-8 (page 396)
  20. ^ Ukraine right-wing politics: is the genie out of the bottle?, (January 3, 2011)
  21. ^ a b Eight Reasons Why Ukraine’s Party of Regions Will Win the 2012 Elections by Taras Kuzio, The Jamestown Foundation (17 October 2012)
    UKRAINE: Yushchenko needs Tymoshenko as ally again by Taras Kuzio, Oxford Analytica (5 October 2007)
  22. ^ After the parliamentary elections in Ukraine: a tough victory for the Party of Regions, Centre for Eastern Studies (7 November 2012)
  23. ^ Election winner lacks strong voter mandate, Kyiv Post (February 11, 2010)
    Ukraine's Party of Regions: A pyrrhic victory, (16 November 2012)
    Ukraine vote ushers in new constellation of power, Deutsche Welle (30 October 2012)
  24. ^ Olszański, Tadeusz A. (28 May 2014), Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, OSW—Centre for Eastern Studies 
  25. ^ General official results of Rada election, Interfax-Ukraine (11 November 2014)
    Central Election Commission announces official results of Rada election on party tickets, Interfax-Ukraine (11 November 2014)
  26. ^ Ukraine's Party of Regions Refuses to Participate in Rada Elections, RIA Novosti (23 September 2014)
  27. ^ Disappointment, pessimism high among nation’s voters, Kyiv Post (January 15, 2010)
  28. ^ a b Country View Ukraine International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance
  29. ^ Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  30. ^ a b CEC:Turnout in Ukraine's parliamentary elections 57.99%, Kyiv Post (29 October 2012)
  31. ^ Voter turnout at Rada election 52.42% at all 198 constituencies - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (27 October 2014)
  32. ^ "Ukraine crisis: President calls snap vote amid fighting".  
  33. ^ "Ukraine elections: Runners and risks".  
  34. ^ Voter turnout at Rada election 52.42% at all 198 constituencies, National Radio Company of Ukraine (27 October 2014)
  35. ^ "Swiss President, Luxembourg PM join others in congratulating Yushchenko".  
  36. ^ "CEC chair: Ukrainian presidential election turnout tops 60 percent". 26 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  37. ^ Poroshenko Declares Victory in Ukraine Presidential Election, The Wall Street Journal (25 May 2014)
  38. ^ More than $1 billion will be spent on campaign, but no one knows for sure, Kyiv Post (January 14, 2010)
  39. ^ Committee Of Voters: Use Of State’s Administrative Resources No Longer Decisive Factor In Outcome Of Elections, Ukrainian News Agency (May 8, 2009)
  40. ^ Survey Shows Every Fifth Ukrainian Ready To Sell Vote, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (October 22, 2010)
  41. ^ Yanukovych's Party Looks To Victory Amid Claims Of Election Fraud, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (November 01, 2010)

External links

  • Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  • Adam Carr's Election Archive
  • Parties and Elections
  • Serhiy Vasylchenko: Electoral Geography of Ukraine 1991 - 2010
  • If parliamentary elections were held next Sunday how would you vote? (Recurrent poll since 2010) by Razumkov Centre
  • Rating of parties since 2006 by Sociological group "RATING"
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