Ukrainians head to the polls on October 26 to vote for a new parliament. How the voting goes in the strife-torn east could go a long way toward determining whether the elections infuse enough political will into the system that Ukraine can start fulfilling the promise of the Maidan movement.
It is difficult to predict how the elections will unfold in the east or whether easterners will show up to vote at all. According to the Democratic Initiatives Fund, a pro-democracy organization that conducted several surveys recently, 39 percent of eastern and Donbas potential voters remain undecided. The president’s party – the Petro Poroshenko Bloc – enjoys the highest ratings, receiving 14 percent support regionally. At the same time, only 50 percent of eastern and southern voters are expected to cast ballots in the elections.
“The voters do not see an obvious leader right now who would register with their interest,” said Vitaliy Nosachev, a historian and an observer for the Kharkiv branch of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, a national non-governmental watchdog organization.
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Katya Kumkova is a EurasiaNet staff reporter.