Kyiv – as expected, incumbent Vitaly Klitchko defeated independent MP Boryslav Bereza by a 64-32% margin. Bereza, an independent MP known for his white supremacist views, slipped past Samopomich’s candidate by less than one percent to make the runoff. While there was never any doubt that Klitchko would be the winner of the runoff, the real loser is the city of Kyiv for propelling Bereza into the runoff and giving him a surprising 32%. The Kremlin propaganda machine just received an early Christmas gift from Kyivites.
Lviv – Two-term incumbent Andriy Sadoviy narrowly missed a first round victory by scoring 49.2% on October 25th. In the runoff he squared off against his arch-rivals from Svoboda Party led by former Speaker Ruslan Koshulynskiy. Sadoviy prevailed by a 61-37% margin to win his third term. Samopomich also pulled off an upset victory in the southern city of Mykolayiv where Oleksandr Syenkevich defeated the Opposition Bloc’s Ihor Dyatlov 55-43%. Syenkevich narrowly edged the incumbent mayor by a mere 400 votes to make the runoff (out of 125,000 votes) but was able to unite the remaining votes behind him in the runoff. A victory by a pro-Western candidate over an Opposition Bloc candidate in the traditionally “red” city of Mykolayiv marks an important first and signals a change in the electoral demographics of southern Ukraine.
Dnipropetrovsk – in a big victory for oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, his candidate for mayor, Borys Filatov appears to have defeated the Opposition Bloc’s Oleksandr Vilkul by a 56-41% according to exit polls (although the vote count will continue for days). A victory in his hometown of Dnipropetrovsk gives the oligarch the mayors’ offices in the three largest cities outside the capital (Kharkiv, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk) and the satisfaction of defeating the President, whose team recently arrested some of the oligarch’s key allies including Gennadiy Korban. Kolomoyskyi’s Renaissance Party candidate in Uzhgorod also won the election to give the oligarch influence in a key western Ukrainian border city.
However, President Poroshenko’s candidate prevailed against Kolomoyskyi in the western Ukrainian city of Lutsk where incumbent Mayor Mykola Romanyuk defeated a well financed Ukrop candidate by a 56-44% margin. Soldarity Party also pulled an upset in Chernihiv where MP Vladyslav Atroshchenko defeated three term incumbent Mayor Oleksandr Sokolov with a solid 59-37% victory. The President’s party won in Zhytomyr with Serhiy Sukhomlin defeated a rival from Motherland. However the vote count in Kirovohrad is going down to the wire with the Solidarity candidate slightly ahead. Meanwhile, Poroshenko backed independents in Rivne, Chernivtsi, Vinnytsya and Kherson all won their respective runoffs.
In a show of strength, Svoboda Party built upon their first round victory in Ternopil by winning both the Ivano Frankivsk and Khmelnytskyi mayor’s offices. Ruslan Martsinkiv fended off Solidarity’s well- financed Ihor Nasalyk by a 55-42% margin in Ivano Frankivsk. In Khmelnytskyi, Oleksandr Symchyshyn built upon his first round lead over incumbent Konstantyn Chernylevskyi to win election in this western Ukrainian region bordering Halychyna.
Rinat Akhmetov’s candidate Volodymyr Buryak won easily in Zaporizhya (56-39%) over the Poroshenko faction MP Mykola Frolov. The Zaporizhsthal Company executive is part of a recent “Donetsk immigration wave” to the neighboring region. Akhmetov’s Opposition Bloc also won in the controversial election in Pavlohrad against a Kolomoyskyi backed candidate. Finally, as a silver lining for the Opposition Bloc’s Dnipropetrovsk mayoral candidate Oleksandr Vilkul, his brother Yuri Vilkul (the incumbent mayor) is currently leading by a few hundred votes in neighboring Kriviy Rih.
Yuliya Tymoshenko’s Motherland Party was also celebrating on Election Night. Incumbent Sumy Mayor Oleksandr Lysenko won a smashing 69-29% victory over former Governor Anatolyi Yepifanov. In addition, as a sign of Motherland Party’s continued connection with its base voters in central Ukraine, Andriy Bondarenko won a rematch against three-term Cherkasy Mayor Serhiy Odarych. These two victories in central Ukraine bode well for Tymoshenko’s desire to return to the prime political spotlight in Ukraine.
In Poltava region, small parties prevailed in Poltava and Kremenchuk. Incumbent Poltava Mayor Oleksandr Mamay won an easy 58-35% victory over his opponent from Solidarity. Mamay leads the small “Sovist Ukraine” (Conscience) party. In neighboring Kremenchuk, Deputy Mayor Vitaliy Maletskiy won 61-30% as the candidate from the “Poruch” (Close) party. Maletskiy also defeated an opponent from Solidarity.
Finally, the constructive opposition party “Nash Krai” won the Berdyansk mayoral election. Their candidate Volodymyr Chepurniy defeated the incumbent mayor to give the upstart party a victory in the Azov seaside town and the mayor’s office in one of Ukraine’s thirty largest cities.