The Old and the New: Who Will Form Ukraine's Next Parliament?
20 June, 2019
Almost half of Ukraine's new parliament will be composed of non-professional politicians. Artists, businesspeople, activists, journalists, and military will encompass perhaps the most diverse class in the history of Ukraine. Nonetheless, the list also contains experienced parliamentarians.

The lists of candidates the leading parties recently made public, along with the recent opinion polls, allow to roughly predict how many seats each Ukrainian political party can count on. Furthermore, it helps estimate who exactly will be part of the parliament version 9.0. 

READ MORE: Ukraine's Constitutional Court Rules for Snap Parliamentary Elections to Happen

Only parties that pass the 5% voting threshold will get to the parliament. The votes for the parties that won't make it to the parliament will be proportionally distributed among the parties that have passed the threshold.

In elections to the Ukrainian parliament, a mixed voting system is used. Half of the seats are distributed under party lists (proportionally to the percentage of votes the party receives), the other half is comprised of the first-past-the-post candidates. Since it is extremely difficult to predict who will win in the single-member constituencies, we are only analyzing the proportional representation candidates in this article, i.e. the 225 seats out of the total amount of 424 (see the graphic above). 

According to a survey conducted from June 6 to 9 by the sociological group Rating, five political forces will become part of parliament. The president’s Servant of the People party can count on attaining nearly half of the votes or 134 seats. The polls also indicate that the second most popular political force, the Opposition Platform-For Life party, will take around 29 seats. Following it are European Solidarity (with 22 seats), Batkivshchyna (with 21 seats), and Golos (with 19 seats).


The Old Faces

Opinion polls indicate that a few old political elites will hold positions in the new parliament. Most of them spur off the party list from Opposition Platform-For Life, a party formed in 2018 that merged the Opposition Bloc (formerly the Party of Regions, headed by ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych) with Vadim Rabinovich's party For Life.

Within this party’s list, Yuriy Boyko, a former vice prime minister of Ukraine and former leader of the Opposition Block, will take a seat in the new parliament. Another familiar face is Rabinovich, a former leader of the For Life party and 2014 presidential candidate.

One of Russian president Vladimir Putin’s most trusted associates, Viktor Medvedchuk, will most likely take a seat in parliament, too. A name, not unknown to Ukrainian politics, Medvedchuk is the former chief of staff to ex-president Leonid Kuchma.

A family of two familiar faces will probably join the parliament, too. Those are Serhiy Lyovochkin, the former chief of staff of Yanukovych, and his sister Yuliia Lyovochkina. 

Naturally, ex-president Petro Poroshenko takes a prime position on his party’s list, the recently rebranded European Solidarity. The party will also include the speaker of the parliament Andriy Parubiy and his first deputy Iryna Herashchenko. 

2019 Presidential candidate, Yulia Tymoshenko, is primed to pass in her party Batkivshchyna. Furthermore, new to this political force, but not to Ukrainian politics, the former head of Ukraine's Security Service of Ukraine, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, is also considered a top contender.

The Businesspeople

Ihor Surkis, best known for being an owner and the president of Dynamo Kyiv football club, will probably be making his third trip into the parliament. Furthermore, Serhiy Taruta, an oligarch from Donetsk will be taking a seat in the parliament. Unlike some other oligarchs from Donetsk, Taruta did not support the Russian occupation.

The founder of the private medical center Boris, Mykhailo Radutskiy, is also expected to have a seat in the future parliament. He is currently number 18 in Zelenskyy's Servant of the People party list. Within Zelenskyy's team, Radutskiy is in charge of the health and wellbeing issues.

The Activists

This is yet another trend among the parties going to the parliamentary elections. The volunteer David Arakhamia, the founder of the anti-corruption headquarters public organization Halyna Yanchenko, as well as the board member and advocacy director of the Anti-Corruption Center Anastasia Krasnosilska are all on the list of the Servant of the People party.

READ MORE: Second Wave: What Does Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People Party Promise to Ukraine?

Yanchenko assures that anti-corruption activities are a priority for the President Zelenskyy’s team. At the congress of the Servant of the People, she told Hromadske: “I can give you a guarantee that I will do everything in my power to make this [the fight against corruption] happen.

In the top ten of Golos (Voice), there is also Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, the former executive director of Transparency International Ukraine, and Oleksandra Ustinova, a member of the board of the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC).

The Journalists

There are only a few journalists who can expect to make it to the 2019 parliament. The chief director of the 1+1 television channel Oleksandr Tkachenko is the ninth number on the list of the Servant of the People party. Tkachenko publicly supported Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the lead up to the 2019 presidential election and provided plenty of airtime to the products of the Kvartal 95 studio, which Zelenskyy cofounded.

One famous journalist was found on the list of Svyatoslav Vakarchuk's Golos political party. Serhiy Rakhmanin, a political columnist for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Mirror of the Week) publication, was in the top ten of the list. Svyatoslav Vakarchuk does not hide his delight from the fact that Rakhmanin joined Golos: “The level of journalism of Serhiy Rakhmanin is the level of politics we want to achieve.”

The Creatives

The most famous representative of the "creatives" group is probably the leader of the Golos party, rock musician Svyatoslav Vakarchuk. During the presidential campaign, his surname often appeared in opinion polls, but Vakarchuk assured that there were no presidential ambitions. Later he decided to run for parliament and, on May 16, he presented the Golos party. Vakarchuk explained that “parliament is more important now” than presidential powers.

READ MORE: Rockstar Vakarchuk Announces First 10 Names on Golos Party List

In the party of ex-president Petro Poroshenko there are also singers. The fifth number in the list of the European Solidarity is Sofia Fedina. She is known for her public activities and open support of Petro Poroshenko. Fedina was an active member of Lviv Euromaidan.

READ MORE: Ukraine's Ex-President Poroshenko Revealed Key Members of His European Solidarity Party

At a forum organized by the civic organization Sprava Hromad (Affairs of Communities), which later signed a memorandum with the Poroshenko’s European Solidarity party, Fedina sharply criticized Volydymyr Zelenskyy’s voters. 

“'Peace for the whole world' is being offered to us. And the fact that [instead] we will all be in the 'Gulags' and in 'Solovki' seems to only be understood by the 25 percent,” Fedina said then, referring to the 24.45% of the votes that Poroshenko received in the 2019 presidential election.

There aren't so many creatives in the party lists of the president-actor's Servant of the People force. Under number 23 is the artist Geo Leros. He, in particular, is known for his work on various murals across Kyiv. He was also accused of embezzling funds in the redecoration project for Kyiv's Osokorky metro station.

In the top ten of the Servant of the People party list, there is also an athlete, Zhan Beleniuk.

"I will be responsible for the sports component of our country," Beleniuk explained his decision to go into politics to Hromadske. "We read books and we believe that we can do it."

READ MORE: President Zelenskyy Announces His Party Members

If the ratings of political forces do not change much, then the parliament elected on July 21 will probably be the most diverse one in the history of independent Ukraine. The representatives of the current political elites were forced to seek seats within the lists of the parties that will only constitute a minority in the new parliament.

/By Sashko Shevchenko

/Translated by Allison Martinez