NCSEJ
Ukraine Update #55: Elections; Donbas, 
Kharkiv, and Lviv Jewish communities report

WASHINGTON, D.C. October 27, 2014


TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Stephen M. Greenberg, NCSEJ Chairman;
Alexander Smukler, NCSEJ President;
Mark B. Levin, NCSEJ Executive Director
  

 

Ukraine Update #55

 

Ukrainians cast their votes yesterday in national parliamentary elections. Preliminary results show a strong victory for President Petro Poroshenko's Bloc and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People's Front, and other pro-European parties.

With 74% of votes counted, the People's Front led by Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is leading with 21.91% of voter support, closely followed by President Poroshenko's Bloc, at 21.50%.

Samopomich (Self-help), led by Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi, is in third place with 11.1%.

The Opposition Bloc, which includes politicians with ties to ousted President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions, received 9.65%, the populist Oleh Lyashko's Radical Party got 7.39%, and former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna received 5.67%.

All the other parties appear to have fallen short of the 5% threshold for parliamentary inclusion. The nationalist Svoboda Party as of now has 4.73%, according to the Central Election Commission of Ukraine. We will continue to monitor the official vote count.

International observers commended the elections for being largely in accordance with democratic standards. OSCE observers said that the vote "marked an important step in consolidating democratic elections in line with international commitments, and were characterized by many positive aspects, including... competitive contests that offered voters real choice, and general respect for fundamental freedoms." Nevertheless, instances of vote buying and other violations were reported in some constituencies.

Ukrainians in the government-controlled areas in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions were able to vote, but those in the territories occupied by pro-Russian rebels did not participate, and are planning to hold a separate vote on November 2.

NCSEJ spoke today with the Jewish communities in several regions of Ukraine. The Jewish community's vote in different regions of Ukraine mirrored the general population's preferences.

Chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine Josef Zissels said that Jews will be more represented in the new parliament and the government. He also added that the small number of right-wing radicals elected, who were voted into the parliament in single mandate districts, will not be able to significantly influence the legislature.

The Jewish community representatives in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions reported that the elections took place without incident, despite popular concern about potential provocations. However, they said that many members of the general community in these regions were disappointed with a lack of real choice among single mandate district candidates. Many voters in the Donbas area, including members of the Jewish community, supported the Opposition Bloc, which includes many politicians with ties to the previous regime.

NCSEJ also spoke with Jewish community leaders in Kharkiv. They reported that the situation in the city is stable. Many independent observers monitored the elections there, with no reported incidents of electoral violations. Members of Jewish community supported a number of parties, and all of which gained admission to parliament.

The Lviv Jewish community also said that no incidents were reported, either before or after the elections. The Jewish community is working as usual, and there were no noticeable political divisions among the community members.

All surveyed Jewish communities expressed hope that a new government will be formed quickly, and will be able to begin the work on resolving the crises.

 

About NCSEJ
Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union. 
 
Website: www.ncsej.org   
Email: ncsejinfo@ncsej.org 
Phone: 202-898-2500 
 
 
NCSEJ is a beneficiary of The Jewish Federations of North America and the National Federation/Agency Alliance through its network of Federations. 
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