Oct. 21, 2015, noon
On October 25, Ukrainians will head to the polls to elect local Councils and Mayors. The previous local elections, held in 2010 under former President Viktor Yanukovych, were widely criticized for falling short of democratic standards and resulted in many local government bodies and offices being dominated by the former ruling Party of Regions. Despite the 2014 Maidan protest movement and the dramatic political changes that followed, the current composition of locally elected bodies remains largely the same as it was in 2010, creating a disconnect between the priorities of elected leaders and Ukrainian citizens.
Many Ukrainian voters remain concerned about local issues, including pervasive corruption, opaque distribution of resources by the local Councils and Mayors, lack of transparency in budgeting and decision making, and poor quality of services provided by local self-governance bodies. However, despite public concerns, most of these issues are not addressed in the parties’ and candidates’ platforms for these elections, which instead focus on more general national policy issues, such as army conscription, high gas prices, and reform of retirement benefits. The outcome of the upcoming local election will significantly influence Ukraine’s political, economic and social developments over the next five-year period.
To help explain the upcoming election and its importance in the context of Ukraine’s shifting political landscape, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Elections in Ukraine: October 25 Local Elections. IFES FAQs include: