18:06 16.10.2020

Zelensky needs poll on Oct 25 to create agenda for Servants of People campaign in early parliamentary elections – opinion

4 min read

KYIV. Oct 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Political analysts admit that the presidential poll of voters is necessary for head of state Volodymyr Zelensky to form the agenda of the election campaign of the Servant of the People party in possible early parliamentary elections.

"Maybe these questions and polls are being prepared for the parliamentary elections, and the future agenda is being worked out, with which the Servant of the People party can participate in the future election campaign," Director of the Institute of Global Strategies Vadym Karasev said during a roundtable conference on local elections at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Friday.

He said that the president managed to disrupt the information agenda before the local elections, and as a result, the subjects of the poll, and not the problems of cities and local government, have been discussed for a week.

According to Karasev, one of the goals of such polls is so that the problems of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the economy, tariffs, and the situation in the social sphere, which are losing to the authorities, do not become key issues of the political order of the day.

According to Director of the Ukrainian Barometer sociological service Viktor Nebozhenko, the poll will have political consequences.

"This means that soon the Verkhovna Rada will impose an agenda on how quickly, in the printer mode, to pass the law on the legalization of drugs, what to do with free [economic] areas," Nebozhenko said.

In his opinion, the poll will not benefit the authorities and will become a precedent for local authorities.

"We know where the next polls will appear on unsuccessful and dangerous issues for Ukraine. Such polls will appear in the southeast: about the Russian language, about the war, about peace, about proximity with Russia," Nebozhenko said.

Political scientist, co-founder of the Dialogue for Peace and Safe Reintegration national platform Oleh Sahakyan believes that the initiative to conduct the poll discredits the very idea of democracy.

"As for the initiative of the poll, or is it better to say [...] a quasi-poll, or a quasi-referendum [...] In fact, the idea of democracy in the form of a referendum is being discredited, because a certain allusion is created that this is not just a poll, but a kind of referendum probe […] On the one hand, the legitimization of such an idea from the president is being created, so that in the future it would be possible to submit, perhaps, some other issue to a referendum," Sahakyan said.

According to him, on the other hand, public immunity is being eroded as to what the referendum should be like.

"In fact, we are now deprived of the sense of standards, of what is a referendum, and thus discredit it," the political scientist said.

According to him, "this is a very irresponsible form of behavior of the political elite."

"In the conditions of total digitalization, public opinion can be learned very easily and very quickly, and in this case a referendum becomes no longer an instrument for determining public opinion [...] but an instrument for shifting responsibility from the political elite," Sahakyan said.

Expert at the Hardarika Strategic Consulting Corporation Kostiantyn Matviyenko believes that the president is trying to enter polling stations with campaigning, which is prohibited on election day.

"As for me, this is an ugly manipulative technique [...] unworthy of the head of state," Matviyenko said.

According to him, it is impossible to speak about the representativeness of such a poll, since according to optimistic forecasts the turnout will be up to 50%, but "in reality – somewhere around 42-43%."

Matviyenko considers the question of reducing the number of members of the Ukrainian parliament to be populist.

"As for the 300 MPs of the Verkhovna Rada. A deputy is the entry point of voters into power. A reduction in the number of deputies means a reduction in these entry points. This means that the MPs will be farther from the citizens than they are now. It is an absolutely populist idea. The MPs will have a greater burden," the expert said.

Matviyenko also called the poll on the Budapest Memorandum interesting.

"For the first time, the president finally remembered that there is the Budapest Memorandum, and there are some guarantees on it [...] However, he does not specify exactly what guarantees these might be," Matviyenko said.