Yushchenko’s undemocratic Constitutional reform

February 1, 2010

Based on analysis of the first round presidential vote held on January 17.

Yulia Tymoshenko was the highest polling candidate in 15 Oblasts/regions including Kyiv Metro region with 4.8 Million votes

Viktor Yanukovych was the highest polling candidate in 11 Oblasts/regions including Svestopol with a total of 6.8 million votes.

Oblasts and regions are not equal in size or the number of constituents. The smallest region has less then 500,000 voters and the largest over 3 million.
Under Yushchenko’s proposed Senate Tymoshenko (not including the additional senator representing Ukrainians abroad and the ex-offico ex-presidents’ seats for life) would have elected 45 Senators (3 senators per region) and Yanukovych who had 1.4 times Tymoshenko’s vote would have elected only 33 Senators.

The remaining 12 million (over 50%) constituents would have been unrepresented.

Table showing the highest polling candidates (per region)

Region Viktor Yanukovych Yulia Tymoshenko
Cherkasy Oblast 280790
Chernihiv Oblast 257579
Chernivtsi Oblast 140429
Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast 301820
Khmelnytsky Oblast 299723
Kirovohrad Oblast 175932
Kyiv Oblast 399681
Lviv Oblast 511979
m.Kyiv 511317
Poltava Oblast 257421
Rivne Oblast 273286
Sumy Oblast 230779
Ternopil Oblast 230697
Vinnytsia Oblast 422056
Volyn Oblast 315505
Zhytomyr Oblast 225598
Crimea 600331
Dnipropetrovsk Oblast 764127
Donetsk Oblast 1854825
Kharkiv Oblast 730313
Kherson Oblast 217371
Luhansk Oblast 933724
m.Sevastopol 114523
Mykolaiv Oblast 308240
Odesa Oblast 593084
Zakarpattia Oblast 160337
Zaporizhia Oblast 513641

Dispelling part of the myth of east versus west in Ukrainian politics.

January 27, 2010

When analysing the outcome of Ukraine’s elections you need to take into consideration the distribution of population. Ukraine’s western regions are less populated then in the East or South. This is clearly shown in the first round total vote distribution map.

Donetsk is the most populous region with just over 10% of the total vote. followed by Kyiv region (which is divided administratively into two regions – Metro Kiev and the Oblast Kiev), next comes Dnipropetrovsk then Lviv and Kharkov, Lugansk and Odessa. Crimea.

It is with the overall population/total vote distribution in mind that you can then  look at the distribution of each candidates political support.

The maps below show the  distribution of the five main candidates shaded to reflect the percentage of the total vote recorded for each regions.  It is only by displaying the correlation to the total vote that you can get a true indication of the extent of each candidates support

Maps that show you the highest polling candidates based on the percentage of each candidate in relation to the regional vote are misleading.  The Ukrainian presidential election, unlike the US system where state delegation plays a major role in the outcome of the election, is not based on regions. Ukraine is a single state electorate that encompasses the whole country.  A regional map based on percentage per regional total  seriously as opposed to the overall total vote seriously distorts the statistics presented as each state is not equal in size and/or number of constituents. As candidates often have a broad base it is for this reason that we only present maps showing the percentage of the total vote  not regional summaries.

10 days countdown to final battle – Tymoshenko remains the underdog

January 27, 2010
Can Tymoshenko secure a deal with Sergei Tigipko to go on and win the final election?  Whilst in theory it is possible the odds are against Tymoshenko who remains the underdog with Viktor Yanukovych retaining poll position.
Problems facing Tymoshenko

1.Tigipko does not have a natural constituency, he is not able toinfluence voters choice as to who is their preferred candidate in the secondround ballot.  they voted for him personally not his party/organisation.

2. Most if not all voters have already decided who they will support.The second round is a wast of time and limited resources. Ukraineshould have adopted a single round preferential ballot system, had they done so  theresults of the election would be known by now.

3. Review of Tigipoko’s support distribution indicates that his voteswere located  in the South East and Kviv metro regions. His votes camepredominately from Party of Regions, The Socialist Party and theCommunist Party (See the various Swing charts comparing the 2004Presidential and 2007 Parliamentary elections)  Most of these voteswill return to Yanukovych as a second choice candidate.

4. Tigipko is playing the field and has a bet each way

5. Tymoshenko needs two out of every three votes allocated to minorcandidates in the first round in order to make up the 10% short fall.This is a big ask. It is not impossible but it is very difficult.

6. All the various public opinion polls had Yulia Tymoshenko remaining10% behind Yanukovych in a run-off ballot. Tymoshenko did pick up anadditional 5% points that were not recorded in the opinion polls. Butto make up a further 10% shortfall will be even more difficult.

All analysis shows that Tymoshenko will fall 5% points behind Yanukovych.

The main reason is that an additional 5% are expected to either not vote or will vote “Against all” in the final ballot.

7. Yushchenko, Yatsenyuk and Hrytsenko are advocating an “Against all“option. Whilst most will not follow their advice, the fact remains thatan Against all vote will favor Yanukovych. Under Ukrainian law the highest polling candidate wins. An against all vote will not count.

Tymoshenko has a very tough battle ahead with less then 10 days remaining before the final poll.

Even if she can manage to pull off a victory it will be a very tightmargin. Anything less then 0.5% will be subject to a challenge. At best Ukrainewill remain bitterly divided.

To add to it all there is talk of forces out there, Georgian, that are hell bent on disrupting the final ballot.This action will only play into the hands of Viktor Yushchenko who isthe only one that would benefit from such action. Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, can not afford to see Ukraine take an independent stand that would weaken his position back at home.  If Ukraine falls. Georgia will be next to tumble.  Various commentators have accused Georgia of plans to disrupt the ballot in Ukraine thus keeping Yushchenko in office should he have an excuse to call a state of emergency “Plan B

With all that is at stake one and the one billion dollar cost of thepresidential campaign one has to seriously question the merit of adirect election of head of state.

Ukraine would have been better off if its head of state was elected bya two-thirds constitutional majority of Ukraine’s parliament. At leastthe person elected would have represented a substantial majority ofUkraine whilst maintaining stability and democratic values.  Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Moldova, Greece, Switzerland  Czech Republic and India all elect there head of state by a vote of their respective parliament.  Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s head of state is appointed by the Queen of England on the recommendation of their prime-minister.
Ukraine would also be better off it it abandon the Presidential system in favor of a democratic European Parliamentary model of governance.

The race has only just began.

January 22, 2010

Viktor Yanukovych (34.32%) did not win the first round. He is the highest vote holder only. In order to win he needed 50% or more votes.

Both Yulia Tymoshenko and Viktor Yanukovych will progress into the second final round,

If you combine Tymoshenko (25.05%), Yatseniuk (6.96%) and Yushchenko (5.45%), Hristenko (1.20%) and Tyahnybok (1.43%) – “The Orange alliance” they represent collectively 40.1%

Tigipko (13.06%)
Communist (3.55%)
Lytvyn (2.35%)
Others (1.78%)

Against all (2.2%)
Informal (1.6%)

The two round voting system is a endurance race not a sprint. The campaign has just began.   

Yanukovych is in poll position and Yulia is the underdog.

Yanukovych has been holding back his money and resources knowing full well he will be in a final contest ballot.

Much depends on what Yushchenko does and who his supporters will back in the final contest.  We can assume that the Communists Party will back Yanukovych but not all. Lytvn will split 50/40/10 giving his low turnout he will not want a Parliamentary election soon so he might prefer Tymoshenko. He has some influence over his support base.

Tigipko on the other hand has no natural support base his vote could split 40/40/20

If the “Orange alliance can hold ground then it is a close race.  But asking for solidarity is not something that will not occur naturally.

The odds are Yanukovych will be the highest polling candidate in the final ballot by 5% but he will fall below 50%.  The level of against all could be the difference between a very close battle and victory for Yanukovych.  Hrytsenko has ready called for an “Against all” vote in the second round. Will they listen? Only 2.2% plus 0.16% for Vasily Protyvsih support the “Against all” option  in round one

No matter the outcome the presidential election will continue to divide Ukraine and over 50% will not be represented.

The sooner Ukraine abandons the presidential system and follows in Estonia and Latvia lead by adopting a full parliamentary democracy the better.

Reality bites – Third place not second best – It is a loss not a win

January 10, 2010

Western Ukrainian Media (zik.com.ua) has a good overview commentary on the outcome of the first round.  Much of it reflects what we have been saying for  months. The first round of voting is not a contest and third place is a losing position.  Yushchenko will come fifth at best behind Yanukovych, Tymoshenko Yatseniuk and Tigipko.

Even if Ukraine had a preferential voting system Yushchenko would still lose out with a maximum support of 10% to 12%. In a preferential voting system Tigipko might have had a chance of coming up the middle but this is just theory as Ukraine sadly does not use the single round preferential voting system.

Andry Yermolayev: no point to discuss the third runner.
In2009 politicians and the media did everything to focus the attention ontwo favorites, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, who will probably make it toRound 2. As regards the third-place runner, it is no use to forecastwho he will be. In the presidential election only the first placematters.

Igor Zhdanov: major wrangling to come after round 1
Thecourse of the election is clear to me: Viktor Yanukovych will win inthe first round, leading Tymoshenko by about 10%. As regards thethird-place runner, the favorite, Arseny Yatseniuk, has lost muchground and has to compete now with Serhy Tihipko.

Much to thechagrain of Orange voters, Viktor Yanukovych is set to win in the firstround. The main wrangling, however, will be in the second round. Thewin there will depend on how both favorites will attract voters. Thereare many disheartened voters and many candidates who balkanize voters.Tymoshenko faces an uphill battle as she has to rally the balkanizedvoters.

The incumbent will find himself in a very ticklishposition. Since he is certain not to make it into the second round, hewill have to make a difficult choice either to support Tymoshenko orYanukovych or to call his electorate to vote against all. I rule outthat he will support Tymoshenko.  Nor will he openly back upYanukovych.  Most probably, he will call to vote against allcandidates. In doing so, Yushchenko will play out a very simplescenario since voting against all actually means to vote forYanukovych.

Mykola Mykhalchenko: 6-7% gap in the first round
It is clear that other candidates won’t be able to join the two forerunners, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

Volodymyr Fesenko: no other candidate but Tymoshenko and Yanukovych in Round 2
Itis quite clear that only Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will vie for thehighest office. The third place may go to Tihipko or Yushchenko. Thethird place has a symbolic meaning – it is a claim for the future, forthe parliamentary elections. A third-place winner can bargain withRound 1 winner for posts.

Viktor Nebozhenko: in Round 2 Tymoshenko will outstrip Yanukovych
Tymoshenkoand Yanukovych will make it into the runoffs, with Yanukovych leadingby 7-10% of the vote. In Round 2 Tymoshenko will not merely catch upwith Yanukovych, but will surpass him, winning the presidency. Thethird place will be contested by Yatseniuk and Tihipko, with Yushchenkobeing in the 5-th position in the race.

Doing deals with minor candidates

January 9, 2010

There is a lot of talk around that this deal or that deal has been made. Whilst deals are possible in seeking political positions or appointments the fact is they can not deliver. Most do not have loyal natural constituencies. They can not direct their supporters to transfer their votes.

Tigipko, who is expected to come in third behind Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, support base will split between Tymoshenko and Yanukovych in the second round. The same with the Communist and to a lessor degree Yatseniuk.

Yastensenik can not transfer his support to Yushchenko many would opt to support Tymoshenko is he pulled out at the last minute. Yushchenko himself can not direct his own support base which in the second round is expected to also split down the middle in the second round

Example “Split analysis”

Using the survey conducted by U.S.-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems and financed by the United States Agency for International Development. and a conservative split based between Yanukovych, Tymoshenko and Against All

Candidate Poll Split to Yanu kovych Split to Tymo shenko Split to Against All
Viktor Yanukovych 31.2% 100.0% 31.2%
Yulia Tymoshenko 19.1% 100.0% 19.1%
Serhiy Tihipko 4.8% 40.0% 1.9% 40.0% 1.9% 20.0% 1.0%
Arseniy Yatsenyuk 4.7% 25.0% 1.2% 50.0% 2.4% 25.0% 1.2%
Volodymyr Lytvyn 2.8% 30.0% 0.8% 50.0% 1.4% 20.0% 0.6%
Viktor Yushchenko 3.5% 20.0% 0.7% 50.0% 1.8% 30.0% 1.1%
Petro Symonenko 3.8% 40.0% 1.5% 30.0% 1.1% 30.0% 1.1%
Inna Bohoslovska 0.7% 40.0% 0.3% 40.0% 0.3% 20.0% 0.1%
Oleh Tyahnybok 1.8% 5.0% 0.1% 75.0% 1.4% 20.0% 0.4%
Anatoliy Hrytsenko 0.7% 20.0% 0.1% 60.0% 0.4% 20.0% 0.1%
Others 2.4% 40.0% 1.0% 40.0% 1.0% 20.0% 0.5%
Against all 100% 7.9%
Will Not vote
Not sure
 sum 83.4% 38.8% 30.7% 13.9%
Total of Vote 46.6% 36.8% 16.7%

This is not a prediction but it does show the extent of the split in voters’ intentions in a possible second round outcome based on the primary round vote. There never is a 100% transfer rate from one candidate to the another. If you wish you can do your own “what if’s” to determine the max min split in order to produce a change in the result.  Tymoshenko would have to improve her primary vote and work hard on securing a higher percentage split then that allocated above in order to make up the 10 percent shortfall.  Don’t rely on the “Not sure” 11.6% as they would even out across the board to produce an expected participation rate of around 83% and as such not listed in the above split analysis.

Moldova: Election maths

July 31, 2009

Preliminary Analysis of last Wednesday’s Moldovan election highlights some of the issues with the D’Hondt System particularity when it involves a representation threshold.

Comparison between the April election and the July election shows a consolidation of votes with fewer minor parties running for election. In April there were 12 parties plus independents. In July only 8 parties contested the election with The Green party being the only new constant.

The consolidation of the vote and reduction in the number of disenfranchised voters has a significant effect on the outcome of the election.

In April, Four political parties received sufficient votes to cross the 7% representative threshold, together they represented 84.8% of the total vote. The other minor parties collectively represented the balance of 15.2%

In July, Five political parties representing 95.8% crossed the new representation threshold of 5% and 4.2% were denied representation – a shift of 11%

Statistically in a re-run election the ruling party loses 4% to 6% of the vote. Moldova was no exception. However the ruling party suffered a 12 seat loss.

The ruling Communist Party of the Republic of Moldova (CPRM) suffered a swing of 4.79%. In April they received 49.48% of the vote and in July 44.69%. This translated into 60 seats in the April election and only 48 seats in July.

The reason for the dramatic loss in representation was not so much as the 4.79% swing but more to do with the percentage of parties that crossed the threshold. In April the CPRM benefited from minor opposition parties low vote.

The representation threshold distorts the proportionality of the number of seats to the percentage of votes. The less the percentage of disenfranchised voters the more accurate reflection of the electorate in the overall results.

In Moldova the political parties and or voters realised that they needed to consolidate their support base in order to win representation.

The Swings and shifts of support

The Communist Party of Moldova lost 4.79% which was translated into a loss of 12 seats mainly because three additional parties – Democratic Party of Moldova, Christian Democratic People’s Party, Social Democratic Party (representing a total of 9.7% in April) crossed the 7% representation threshold. In April their votes were wasted in July they counted.

The biggest gain was the Democratic Party of Moldova (+9.57%) followed by Liberal Democratic Party of Moldova (+4.14%)

“Moldova Noastra (Our Moldova)” Alliance recorded a swing of -2.42% against them as did the Christian Democratic People’s Party (-1.79%) and the Social Democratic Party (-1.18%)

July 2009 % Vote Swing Seats % seats
Communists Party 44.69% -4.79% 48 47.52%
Liberal Democratic Party 16.57% 4.14% 18 17.82%
Liberal Party 14.68% 1.55% 15 14.85%
Democratic Party 12.54% 9.57% 13 12.87%
Our Moldova Alliance 7.35% -2.42% 7 6.93%
Christian Democratic People’s Party 1.91% -1.79% 0
Social Democratic Party 1.86% -1.18% 0
Green Alliance 0.41% 0.41% 0
100.00% 101
April 2009 % Vote Seats % seats
Communists Party 49.48% 60 59.41%
Liberal Democratic Party 12.43% 15 14.85%
Liberal Party 13.13% 15 14.85%
Democratic Party 2.97%
Our Moldova Alliance 9.77% 11 10.89%
Christian Democratic People’s Party 3.70%
Social Democratic Party 3.04%
Centrist Union 2.75%
Social-Political Movement 1.01%
Conservative Party 0.29%
United Moldova 0.22%
Republican Party 0.09%
Independents 1.12%
100.00% 101