Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Election Fever!

While many of you in America are sick of all the election campaigning we arrived in Ukraine just in time for the election here! As a political scientist this is a very exciting time for me because I have never been able to live in a foreign country during an election despite reading about them for the past decade or so. The election is this Sunday October 28 and the campaigning has picked up in the last few weeks. Campaigning in Ukraine is a bit different than in the US. Of course there are all the political attack ads and everything but campaigning is limited to 90 days before the election so in that short time they give it everything they got! They basically stand outside with these tents rain or shine and hand out leaflets to anyone willing to take them. Billions of hryvnia were poured into this election which considering the average Ukrainian makes $300 a month that sum is significant in this not so developed country. Half of the Verkhovna Rada 450 members are decided using the first past the post system we use in the US the other is through parliamentary list voting so we saw signs for political parties and candidates. Here are some of the photos I took of political campaigning leading up to the election.

This is the Party of Regions tent. They are the party of the current President Viktor Yanukovych and the ruling coalition. They dominate the Eastern region of Ukraine and I don't think that gentleman liked getting his picture taken!
This is a tent for the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland which is the party of the imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Clearly this is the Communist party which still gains some seats in the parliament. 
This is a campaign tent for one of the candidates in Kharkiv Vasili Saligina.
This is a political rally we found one evening in Freedom Square for the All-Ukrainian Union Fatherland and All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda" a far right nationalist party. 
I have been collecting campaign paraphernalia so I chased some people around until they would give this foreign devyshka a flag! 
This is another rally I passed at the Kharkov National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre on the eve of the day of silence for the Party of Regions. 24 hours before the election political parties are not allowed to campaign so this was the final party before the election!

There were so many people that they spilled over to the other side of the street!

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