The Efficiency of Patronage Networks in Post-Maidan Ukraine
In this election in 82 of 198 majoritarian constituencies* where vote took place, the incumbent MPs secured reelection. In number of cases MPs previously connected with the Party of Regions were elected in the constituencies where in proportional elections the voters supported the pro-Maidan parties. Therefore, the voters simultaneously voted for the parties, who were to overtake the power due to Maidan’s success and for the individual MPs who supported the Maidan suppression. This kind of ambiguity is not new in Ukraine and has many reasons, one of which is lack of knowledge about how the political system works or lack of trust in political institutions.
In our work we analyse the election campaign tactics (candidate leaflets, press materials), interviews (with election observers and voters) and data of pre-election surveys as well as surveys that measure social values. We found that in majoritarian constituencies patronage networks are used by both the MPs previously connected with the Party of Regions as well as the ones from new parties in power. This tactic remains effective as it used to be in all the elections conducted so far from the very beginning of Ukrainian independence. It seems that the patronage networks remain one of the key factor of success in elections in post-Maidan Ukraine.
*) Due to annexation of Crimea and separatists’ actions in Donbas, there was no voting in 27 constituencies