The law on elections provides for mixed electoral system - 225 candidates run for parliament on party lists, and 225 candidates run from single-mandate electoral districts. The official election campaign started 90 days before the Election Day. And if candidates on party lists get financing from the party funds, single-mandate candidates have to pay for political advertising campaign from their pockets. As one of the American election rules says, shake every hand, kiss every baby if you want to win the elections. Thus, ForUm has decided to find out what image Ukrainians want see in a candidate from a single-mandate district.
The requirements to the perfect candidate are identical all over Ukraine, regardless of the region this or that voter lives. Such tendency has surprised Ukrainian political strategists, director of "Berta Communications" company Taras Berezovets says. If during previous parliamentary elections the requirements of the west and east of the country differed, this time they are the same. "The perfect single-mandate candidate is a man of 40-55 years old, married and with two children. He must have higher education, preferably economic or legal, and have experience in holding high state positions or in carrying out successful business projects, preferably in the sphere of agriculture, construction or production. This businessman must be engaged into charity, including medical sphere, construction of playgrounds, repair of roads and residential houses," Berezovets reported the results of the public polls.
The image of a successful business appeared after the crisis, sociologist Evhen Kopatko explains. Having survived the crisis years of 2008-2009, people want stability and want to be sure that the authorities are able to cope with the next economy recession. "For voters it is important to see the candidate has managed to solve crisis tasks. The candidate must also be a personality. Personal factor is very important now," he says. Regardless of the region of residence, voters want to be sure they will not lose their jobs, will be able to pay out mortgage and to go on vacation. The limit of trust to current MPs has burned out.
According to Berezovetsk, Ukrainians do not want to see MPs of current convocation in the parliament again. "The perfect candidate has never been in the parliament. He is a new man. The attitude to the current MPs is skeptical. The perfect candidate can be a deputy of a local council, but not of the Verkhovna Rada," he says. Ukrainians want to see a new face, unknown face, which has not appeared on talk- and political shows.
And the key requirement to the perfect candidate is that he has to prove his competence with concrete deeds. People are tired of sounding promises and scary stories. Moreover, people do not care anymore that the main function of an MP is to work out bills and improve the legislation. "Ukrainian voters have become more pragmatic and cynical. They say 'we do not believe your promises, we want you to solve some problems here and now.' Watching the MPs ignoring plenary meetings, people no longer believe in their stories. Thus, the image of the perfect candidate includes characteristics of a magician-philanthropist. If the candidate does not have projects realized in his district, he has no chances to win the parliamentary seat. If the candidate does not give presents, he is in a complicated situation. People are no longer interested in party affiliation, but will vote for a concrete person who has proved himself," Berezovets believes. According to him, only two extreme opposites, like Donbass and Halychyna, will vote for parties, as it is a matter of principle for them.
Absence of interest to party affiliation can influence the structure of the parliament, and not in a good way, professor of the political science department of Kyiv Mohylianska Academy Oleksiy Haran believes. "Electing candidates regardless of party membership we will have a swamp instead of the parliament, a competition between the administrative resources and businessmen, who would work for a region. We will not have true lawmakers in the parliament. The parliament must be party structured. Now we have 15-20 candidates in every single-mandate district, who are either independent businessmen or dummy candidates. People are confused. People now prefer to vote for someone who has built a church or repaired roads, but it is not a political activity. A parliamentarian must write laws and do politics. Those who built children playgrounds do good, but still, laws must be written by professionals. As the proverb goes, render unto caesar the things which are caesar's...When you need a medical assistance you choose the best doctor, not the best locksmith, right?" the political scientist says.
Moreover, according to Berezovets, not only the party membership has lost its importance, but the program of a candidate as well. "According to social surveys, only 5% of voters admit they read the programs. But the most requested information about future MP is his biography and realized projects. Thus, the majority of voters care more about if the candidate has built a hospital road, rather than what he will write in the parliament," he says.
To learn whether the experts' forecasts coincide with electoral likings, ForUm has asked various representatives of different regions of Ukraine about what a perfect candidate is.
Oleksandr, Kyiv, translator of Spanish:
- The candidate must be 35-45 years old, preferably male. He must have a business education and training abroad. The best experience is private entrepreneur. He also must have his program, which includes economic figures.
Olha, Lutsk (Volyn region), teacher of history:
- The age does not matter, but within the law. The same concerns the sex. The education must be higher, and not important of which profession, but the candidate must be fluent in law. Experience is good, but pubic activity is also enough if the candidate is a student. The program of the candidate must be clear - 10 paragraphs with clear understanding what to change regardless of the sphere. This must be a program of one person, not of a party. The candidate promises, the voters elect. The candidate fails, the voters dismiss him.
Oleksiy, Kramatorsk (Donetsk region), IT specialist:
- Age about 35-40, but not older. I would prefer a male candidate. The education must be higher, preferably legal. It is important that the candidate has experience in holding managing positions. He also must have a program. I gain some ideas of the candidate after I read his program. The program should not concern only economy.
Every people deserve its rulers. In order not to be disappointed with the elected person, as it happened in 2004 and 2010, minimum one should do is to appear at a voting station on October 28. And from then everybody has decide for himself what are the criteria, according to which he would vote for this or that candidate.
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