Samopomich’s Serhiy Gusovskiy has failed to gain momentum and he is now competing for third place with Serhiy Dumchev with the Movement for Reform, Ukrop’s Gennadiy Korban, independent MP Boryslav Bereza and Motherland’s former MP and Kyiv Appointed City Head, Volodymyr Bondarenko. Bondarenko, finished a distant second to Klitchko last May and is running again, although Tymoshenko’s party no longer enjoys the support it once had in Kyiv. Expect Klitchko to hold a solid lead over Omelchenko on Election Day but fall short of a majority.2. Odesa – Odesa elections are always complicated and this year’s is no disappointment with current Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov facing a rematch with former Mayor Eduard Hurvits. Hurvits appears to be fending off a challenge to his traditional electorate from Solidarity’s Sasha Borovik. The split in the local pro-European electorate is sure to put Trukhanov in first place after the votes are counted on Sunday. However, polling shows Trukhanov losing 7-10% of the vote to MP Sergiy Kivalov as the two compete for the pro-Russian electorate. Kivalov entered the race and then dropped out after a bizarre incident in which a grenade was thrown at one of his residences. However despite Kivalov’s statement that he was dropping out of the race, his paperwork was submitted too late to remove him from the ballot. As a result, while he is no longer campaigning, his presence on the ballot will siphon votes from Trukhanov. Kivalov may be considered a scoundrel, but he has never been considered ignorant. As a result, many believe Kivalov’s move was intentional to bothhelp bot force a runoff for Hurvits as well as settle an old score against Trukhanov. Thus, the most likely outcome remains a runoff between Trukhanov and Hurvits.
3. Kharkiv – Incumbent Mayor Gennadiy Kernes is poised to win re-election without a runoff this Sunday. The controversial mayor is pulling up to 60% in some polls and has lifted Kolomoyskyi’s Renaissance Party into first place in the polls for city council as well. A late breaking court decision has allowed the Opposition Bloc to run candidates for the council too which are likely to ally with Kernes after the election. The Opposition Bloc in Kharkiv is led by former Yanukovych Governor Mykhailo Dobkin, who is a political pupil of Kernes’. Meanwhile, businessman and former Deputy Governor Yuri Sapronov and Solidarity’s Oleksandr Davtyan compete for a distant second place. Given the two criminal cases pending against Kernes (which will most likely be decided after New Years), the two candidates are working to position themselves as front runners should Kernes be removed from office with a conviction. 4. Lviv – Samopomich’s Andriy Sadoviy is surging towards a third term in his native Lviv. Despite his growing profile as a national politician, Sadoviy has maintained his local support and polling shows him close to an outright win in the first round. However, even if Sadoviy falls short of a majority on October 25th, he is almost certainly to win re-election in the runoff. His main opponent is Poroshenko faction MP Dmytro Dobrodomov with People’s Control Party. Dobrodomov, a local journalist, is a rising star in Lviv, but polling puts him in the low teens against Sadoviy. Civic Position’s (Anatoliy Hritsenko’s party) Volodymyr Hirnyak trails Dobrodomov with support also in the low teens. Solidarity’s Oksana Yurinets (also a Poroshenko faction MP) and Svoboda’s Ruslan Koshulynskiy (former Speaker) will help their parties cross the five percent threshold for representation on the city council, but have failed to connect with Lviv voters. Thus, expect a Sadoviy third term. 5. Dnipropetrovsk – Despite Kolomoyskyi’s candidates doing well elsewhere in the country, the momentum in his hometown mayoral election is now moving against him. Opposition Bloc’s Oleksandr Vilkul (a former Vice Premier under Yanukovych) is beginning to pull ahead of the oligarch’s candidate, Ukrop’s Borys Filatov. A runoff election is certain as polling puts both candidates in the 30’s, however Vilkul’s experience as a former Kriviy Rih Mayor is helping him connect with the traditionally “red” leaning voters. Meanwhile local voters say that Kolomoyskyi may have overestimated his popularity in Dnipropetrovsk and as a result, many local businessmen now perceive Vilkul as “easier to do business with”. However, Filatov’s campaign maintains more levers of administrative resources which can counter Vilkul’s momentum. The electorate of a third candidate in the race, Dagestani businessman Zahid Krasnov with Community Strength party, may play a key role in the runoff – although many believe that Krasnov’s approximately 15% of the vote is more likely to break towards Filatov. Solidarity’s Maksim Kurachiy, a Poroshenko Bloc MP, is expected to finish fourth but perform well enough to keep his political future alive. If local talks are to be believed, Kurachiy’s voters may ironically back Vilkul in the runoff in an effort to clip Kolomoyskyi’s wings locally. At this moment, the only certainty is that there will be a runoff for Mayor of Dnipropetrovsk on November 15th with Vilkul and Filatov as the likely opponents.
Dates to Watch (for Ukraine unless otherwise noted):
October 25: National Local Elections for Mayor and City Councils.
November 15, 2015: Runoff Election Date under the New Election Law.
December 25: $3 Billion in Russian Bonds are due for Payment.
January 31, 2016: New EU Expiration Date for Donbass related Sanctions on Russia
January 31, 2016: End of the Current Session of Parliament.
April 20, 2016: Donbass Local Elections in the Occupied Territories.
February 2016: Stockholm Arbitration Hearings on Counter Claims between Naftogaz and Gazprom. Naftogaz is seeking $16 billion dollars and a decision is expected by June 2016.
June 23, 2016: New EU Expiration Date for Crimea related Sanctions on Russia