Ukrainian ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko is loosing public support ahead of the March presidential elections and after taking an early lead has now fallen out of the top two, according to the results of a poll conducted by Kyiv-based Razumkov Center in February.
The survey found that 17.5% all respondents plan to vote for Ukrainian comic and Volodymyr Zelenskiy and of those that said they will definitely vote in the elections 19% will chose the actor. President Petro Poroshenko is in second place with 13.1% (16.8%), while only 11.5% (13.8%) say they will vote Tymoshenko, Interfax news agency reported on February 20.
According to the poll, Anatoly Hrytsenko, leader of the Civic Position party would receive 7.3% of the votes. The leader of the Opposition Bloc Yuriy Boyko polls at 7.1% while the head of the Radical Party Oleh Liashko would gain 4.8%. The rest of the total of 44 candidates on the list would not clear the 3% threshold.
The nationwide survey was conducted from February 7 to February 14, 2019 in all regions of Ukraine, except for Crimea and the revel-held territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Some 2,016 respondents aged over 18 years were interviewed. The theoretical sampling error does not exceed 2.3%.
The first round of the elections will be held on March 31. The two candidates achieving the highest number of votes will go into the final round on April 21.
According to other polls published over the past weeks, electoral support for Zelenskiy’s presidential candidacy is growing. The comedian, a close associate of controversial Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, was nominated by his newly-created party the Servant of the People.
With just over a month to go the race remains wide open however, it is looking increasingly likely that Zelenskiy will get thought the first round and will meet one of Poroshenko or Tymoshenko in the second round scheduled for April. However, there will be a lot of horse trading in between argues Tim Ash, Senior Sovereign Strategist at BlueBay Asset Management in a Ukraine election Q&A this week.
Meanwhile, Zelenskiy’s close ties to Kolomoisky, the richest man in the country and former owner of the collapsed PrivatBank, have triggered worries among the country's business elites. The nation's former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk and former Minister of Economic Development and Trade Aivaras Abromavicius have met the comedian with the aim of discussing, specifically, the controversial nationalisation of PrivatBank in late 2016. There is talk that if he wins, Zelenskiy may return the bank to Kolomoisky, despite the fact the state has spent upwards of $5bn bailing it out using public money.
“That would be a deal killer for the IMF,” says Ash.
"I initiated the question of PrivatBank nationalisation and [Zelenskiy’s] relations with Kolomoisky. And received the answer that he runs for president not to return PrivatBank [to Kolomoisky]," Interfax quoted Danylyuk as saying on February 20.
In November, the High Court in London concluded that it does not have jurisdiction over the Ukrainian government's claims against former shareholders of PrivatBank. The lender's former owners, Kolomoisky and Hennadiy Bogolyubov did not comment on the court's ruling, however, de facto the ruling is their victory, because the businessmen was challenging the applicability of jurisdiction of the London court.