Tymoshenko and her party take lead in Ukraine polls

Tymoshenko and her party take lead in Ukraine polls
Tymoshenko and her party would win both Ukraine's parliamentary and presidential votes if they were held this weekend.
By Ben Aris in Berlin August 3, 2016

Ukrainian opposition leader and firebrand former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has come back from the political dead and would win both the parliamentary and presidential elections if they were held this weekend, according to a poll conducted by GfK Ukraine.

Probably Ukraine’s best-known politician, Tymoshenko was at the barricades during the 2004-05 Orange Revolution that overturned the flawed presidential election of Viktor Yanukovych and installed instead Viktor Yushchenko. Tymoshenko was rewarded with the post of prime minister, but infighting and failed reforms led to the subsequent election of the previously defeated Yanukovych as president in 2010, in what some dubbed the first and only truly democratic election in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union.

However, Tymoshenko spent most of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests in jail, put there by Yanukovych on trumped-up charges to silence her vocal opposition to his kleptocratic rule. When she was finally released shortly after Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014, Tymoshenko spoke to an unreceptive crowd on Kyiv’s central Maidan square and it seemed that her time had passed.

However, a consummate politician, Tymoshenko has been chipping away at the popularity pf President Petro Poroshenko, who has made her job easy by manifestly failing to deliver on the kind of deep reforms needed to launch Ukraine on its European vector. The increasingly blatant corruption that blights his regime has led to a revival in Tymoshenko’s popular credentials.

If the votes were held this weekend for both the parliament and presidency, Tymoshenko and her Batkivshchyna (Fatherland, aka Homeland) party would win both polls, according to a survey conducted by German pollster GfK Ukraine.


Tymoshenko would win the presidential race with 11% of the vote, slightly ahead of Yuriy Boyko (8%), a Yanukovych-era former vice prime minister and energy minister that now heads the Opposition bloc in the Rada, which forms the rump of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, post the Euromaidan revolution.

Boyko is level pegging with Oleg Lyashko, who is a former Tymoshenko ally before striking out on his own and now heads the Radical Party.

However, Poroshenko’s popularity continues to sink and he trails in fourth place with 7% of the tally.

The ennui that Ukrainians now feel for their politicians is clear by the large number that either don’t know who to vote for or have already decided not to vote at all, which makes up exactly half the electorate.

And Tymoshenko’s popularity is even stronger amongst the minority who say they are committed to voting, where she enjoys a clear lead of 21% over the other three men, who have 15%, 15% and 14% respectively.

The same picture would be repeated in a parliamentary election held this weekend, except the president’s eponymous party Bloc Petro Poroshenko would do even worse.

Again, Tymoshenko’s Homeland party comes out the clear winner with 11% of the total vote and 20% of the “determined” vote, followed by Boyko’s Opposition Bloc (9%, 17%) and Lyashko’s Radical Party (7%, 14%).

However, Poroshenko’s party would fall into fifth place with just 4% of the popular vote, which would not be enough to clear the parliamentary threshold of 5%. BPP would find itself behind liberal reformer Andriy Sadovy’s Samopomich Party, which quit the ruling coalition in February and would be the natural candidate to take up the mantle of reforms champion.

The survey was conducted by GfK Ukraine on June 13-28 by personal interviews at respondents' homes. It polled 2,000 people aged 18 and older in all regions of Ukraine except occupied Crimea. In the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the survey was conducted only in areas controlled by Ukraine. The sample population is representative by gender, age, region and size of settlement. The statistical error does not exceed 2.2% excluding design effect.