Nov 17, 2020
The Kyiv Post reported, “Ukraine’s local election saga continued on Nov. 15, with seven cities holding mayoral runoffs. The second round of voting took place in the regional capitals Odesa, Kherson, Lutsk and Sumy. The eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk; Kamianets-Podilskyi, situated in western Ukraine; and Ukrainka, a town of 15,000 people in Kyiv Oblast, also held votes.
Meanwhile, three weeks after Ukraine held the first round of the nationwide local election on Oct. 25, three regions are still uncalled as results are being contested in court. The second round of voting in the seven cities saw very low voter turnout – a mere 24%, according to the Central Election Commission.
Not all the runoff results have been announced, forcing observers to sometimes rely on exit polls. In Odesa, a city of 1 million people located 500 kilometers south of Kyiv, incumbent Mayor Gennady Trukhanov secured re-election, according to the exit poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.
The institute said its tally showed Trukhanov easily defeating opponent Mykola Skoryk, a member of the pro-Russian Opposition Platform – For Life party. The exit poll showed Trukhanov with 56.7% of the vote and Skoryk with 40.9%.
On Oct. 25, Trukhanov’s local Trust in Deeds party won first place in the city council election, receiving the largest share of the vote, 26%. The Opposition Platform – For Life party came in second with 23% of the vote.
Local anti-corruption activists accuse Trukhanov and his alleged business partners, Alexander Angert and Vladimir Galanternik, of turning Odesa into their private fiefdom, awarding the most lucrative land and municipal contracts to their own companies. Trukhanov, Angert and Galanternik could not be reached for comment.
In other cities, Ukrainian observers are relying on unofficial information from local election commissions and on local exit polls, which aren’t always reliable as they are linked to one of the candidates.
Ukrainian local elections are expected to continue for over a month, with the Central Election Commission yet to call three regions. The Commission has also scheduled additional runoffs for Nov. 22, and others are expected to be held on Nov. 29.
The results in Chernivtsi Oblast, the Chernivtsi city council and the city’s mayoral race have been called into question due to alleged fraud. It’s now up to the court to rule on the result. A similar problem arose in Kherson Oblast and Kyiv Oblast, where the opposition
parties have alleged fraud and filed complaints. Additionally, newly-elected mayors of several Ukrainian cities have died from complications of COVID-19, meaning that their seats will be once again contested in January.
For cities where the official results of mayoral races were published by the Central Election Commission later than expected, the runoff is set for Nov. 22. Runoffs will be held in five regional capitals – Lviv, Rivne, Poltava, Uzhorod and Dnipro – and three cities with over 75,000 residents – Drohobych, Slovyansk and Brovary, a satellite town of Kyiv.”