Facts about Ukraine's snap parliamentary poll

19th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's snap general election on October 26 is seen as a key test for the war-torn nation as voters replace lawmakers allied to Kremlin-backed former president Viktor Yanukovych, ousted in February.

DISSOLUTION -- Pro-European President Petro Poroshenko, elected in May with some 55 percent of the vote, fired the starting gun for the long-awaited vote by formally dissolving parliament in August after lawmakers agreed to break up the majority coalition.

MANDATE -- The 450 deputies are elected for a term of five years.

ELECTORAL SYSTEM -- Half of the lawmakers are elected by a proportional representation system where voters choose from a national party list. There is a minimum five percent threshold required for each party to enter parliament.

The other half of the legislators are chosen by a first-past-the-post constituency system.

CANDIDATES -- No less than 29 parties have put themselves forward for the national lists while 3,468 are competing to represent the 225 constituencies nationwide.

VOTERS -- In theory, some 36.5 million people over the age of 18 are eligible to vote. However not all the country's voters are set to go to the ballots.

SEPARATIST REGIONS -- 12 MPs are not going to be elected from Crimea -- home to 1.8 million voters -- after it was occupied by Russia troops and annexed by Moscow in March. Kiev says elections will take place there when Ukrainian control is reinstated over the Black Sea peninsula.

In the industrial east of the country, pro-Russian rebels battling Kiev forces say the areas under their control -- roughly three percent of Ukraine's territory -- will boycott the election.

While Kiev insists that the vote must be held there, there is little chance of that happening and the separatists are planning their own leadership polls for November 2.

Ukraine's central election commission vowed to hold the polls in government-controlled areas of the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, making it possible for just over two million of the 5.2 million registered voters in the two regions to cast ballots.

IN THE RUNNING -- The party of the president, the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, is ahead in the polls but looks like it will fall well short of getting a majority, with an October survey from Rating Group giving it 33 percent of the vote.

In second was the party of radical nationalist Oleg Lyashko with 13 percent, while the People's Front of current premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk was on nine percent and the Fatherland party of ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko languished at seven percent.

All of the frontrunners -- seen as possible coalition partners for Poroshenko -- support Ukraine's tilt to the West but some have criticised holding negotiations with the separatist rebels.

The once-dominant Regions Party of former leader Yanukovych is boycotting the vote and a proxy, Opposition Bloc, is currently polling at five percent.

Another party whose leader once backed Yanukovych, Strong Ukraine, is polling at eight percent.

The pro-Russian communist party looks set to not make it past the five percent barrier.

EXPANDED POWERS -- Those who are elected will join a strengthened parliament after lawmakers in February passed constitutional amendments handing a raft of key powers from the president to the legislative body.

Parliament will be in charge of naming the prime minister and most of the cabinet.


© 2014 AFP

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