Short Interviews: Presidential Elections in Ukraine

Following the event organized on March 28th on the Presidential elections in Ukraine, we had the chance to discuss further with some of the experts present on current challenges, opportunities and possible outcomes of the electoral process.

Ukraine has one of the lowest rates in the world of trust into political elites. A huge number of people also don´t trust the main institutions such as the President and Parliament. The only institution with a high level of trust is the army. In this sense, there is a demand for new faces, for someone more honest. There is the ground ready for different form of populism and this can, at least partially, explain the exploit of Zelensky in the first round. Despite his generally unclear electoral program, he represents a novelty.

The elections in Ukraine also have strategic relevance for international players such as Russia, but also the EU and the US. The Kremlin is waiting for the Presidential and Parliamentary results to see how and to what extent will the position of Ukraine evolves towards Crimea and the conflict in the east. According to survey, over 70% of the population is looking to end the conflict, but the public opinion is very much fragmented about how to do it. From and European point of view instead, we see all the candidates stating a pro-European and pro-Atlantic position. But if Poroshenko makes clear his commitment to the Association agreement with the EU and set as goals EU and NATO membership, this can´t be said for Zelensky. He had failed so far to decline clearly what he means with his pro-European position.

What is the role of civil society in Ukraine? What is the level of trust into politicians and institutions? What are possible outcomes of the elections towards international players such as Russia, the EU or the US? These and others were the questions addressed.

Interview with Nadia Koval, Foreign Policy Council "Ukrainian Prism"

Interview with Alena Lunyova, Human Rights Information Centre, Kiev