Exit polls in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections suggested that Sunday’s vote would cement the country’s new political course, seven months after the revolution that toppled former president Viktor Yanukovych. Forces loyal to President Petro Poroshenko and the government more broadly looked set to dominate the parliament, but there were also votes for more radical parties and those made up of former activists from the Maidan revolution. A new party mainly made up of Yanukovych’s defunct Party of the Regions polled in single figures, according to exit surveys. The vote came with parts of eastern Ukraine remaining under the de facto control of pro-Russia separatists, and with an increasingly radical mood taking hold in much of the rest of the country, impatient for reforms from a new government led by Poroshenko, a billionaire chocolate magnate.
The elections are the first to Ukraine’s 450-seat parliament since 2012. The first exit polls suggested Poroshenko’s bloc had won a little less than a quarter of the vote, with about 20% also going to the People’s Front of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Samopomich, a party made up mainly of Maidan activists, was said to have received about 11% of the vote, while a further four parties made it past the 5% threshold to enter parliament, including the Opposition Bloc, made up of former pro-Yanukovych forces and Fatherland, headed by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
The president will hope that a new parliamentary mandate will help him push through economic and political reforms as well as end the conflict in the east of the country. However, all the tasks look tough as winter approaches, the economic situation remains precarious and pro-Russia separatists are gaining more and more characteristics of de facto statehood in the east.