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2015 Ukrainian local elections

On 25 October 2015 local elections took place in Ukraine.[6] The elections were conducted a little over a year since the 2014 snap local elections, which were only held throughout parts of the country. A second round of voting for the election of mayors in cities with more than 90,000 residents where no candidate gained more than 50% of the votes were held on 15 November 2015.[7][8][9]

2015 Ukrainian local elections

← 2014 25 October 2015
15 November 2015 (second round)
Nov. 2015–Jan. 2016 and 27 March 2016 (repeat elections)[nb 1]
2020[3][nb 2] →

158,399 deputies[4] / 10,051 mayors[5]
  First party Second party Third party
  Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity" logo.png ВО «Батьківщина».png Nash kray political party Ukraine Політична партія Наш Край-01.png
Party Petro Poroshenko Bloc Fatherland Our Land
Seats won 8,830 / 609 8,065 / 367 4,506 / 157
Percentage 5.63% / 6.11% 5.14% / 3.68% 2.87% / 1.58%

Вибори до ОМСУ 2015 Облради.PNG
Results of the 2015 Ukrainian local elections by oblast.

Because of the ongoing conflict in East Ukraine and the February 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia, local elections were not conducted throughout all of the administrative subdivisions of Ukraine.[10]

The highest number of seats were won by the Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity", Fatherland and Our Land parties,[11] followed by the Opposition Bloc and the Radical Party.[11] The Petro Poroshenko Bloc did well in the western regions, central Ukraine, and the Kherson Oblast of the south.[12][13] The Opposition Bloc gained most of the votes of the south and east (except Kharkiv Oblast).[12][13] In the west, Svoboda improved its performance compared with previous year's parliamentary election.[12]

A total of 132 political parties took part in the elections.[14] The political parties contested for the 1,600 regional council seats in 22 regional parliaments, more than 10,700 local councils and mayoral seats.[15] The voter turnout was 46.62% of the population.[16] During the second round, the voter turnout dropped to 34.08%.[7]


Late January 2014 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine made a decision declaring that regardless of under which conditions the previous elections were conducted, regularly scheduled local elections must occur in October 2015.[17]

The Central Election Commission of Ukraine asked the government to allocate 1.2 billion hryvnias (approx. 100 million USD) towards financing the election (on 9 July 2014)[18]

The campaign for the elections started on 5 September 2015.[19] But since the start of the summer political advertising had begun to increase rapidly.[19] This was marred with a sharp rise of handouts by potential candidates.[19] Local issues were ignored by parties, who focused on national issues.[20] According to and the Committee of Voters of Ukraine political parties spend at least $82 million on campaigning.[21] They claim that during the last two months of the campaign political parties rented 75 percent of Ukraine's 20,000 billboards.[21]

More than 350,000 candidates (representing 132 political parties[14] or as an independent candidate) were electable for 168,450 positions of mayors of cities, villages and settlements and for deputies of village, settlement, city, city district, district and 1,600 regional council seats in 22 regional councils.[15][22] A candidate did not have to live in a constituency where she/he was electable.[22]

Elections in Crimea and DonbassEdit

Because of the March 2014 unilateral annexation of Crimea by Russia, the elections could not be held in Crimea.[10] Under Russian jurisdiction local elections took place in Crimea on 14 September 2014.[23]

The War in Donbass (between Ukraine and the Russian government backed separatist Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic) left large parts of south-east Ukraine not under Ukrainian control.[10] On 2 July 2015, Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko ordered local DPR elections to be held on 18 October 2015 "in accordance with the Minsk II agreements".[24] According to Zakharchenko this move meant that the DNR had "independently start to implement the Minsk agreements".[24] Zakharchenko assured "the elections will take place 'on the basis of Ukraine's Law on temporary self-rule status of individual districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions' in so far as they are not at variance with the constitution and laws of the DPR".[24] Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko responded (also on 2 July 2015) that if this Zakharchenko initiative to local DPR elections would be upheld this would be "extremely irresponsible and will have devastating consequences for the process of deescalation of tension in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions".[24] On 6 July 2015, the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) leader Igor Plotnitsky set elections for "mayors and regional heads" for 1 November 2015 in territory under his control.[25]

Mariupol entry sign written in Ukrainian

On 6 October 2015, the DNR and LPR leadership postponed their planned elections to 21 February 2016.[26] This happened 4 days after a Normandy four meeting in which it was agreed that the October 2015 Ukrainian local elections in LPR and DPR controlled territories would be held in accordance to the February 2015 Minsk II agreement.[27] At the meeting President of France François Hollande stated that in order to hold these elections (in LPR and DPR controlled territories) it was necessary "since we need three months to organize elections" to held these elections in 2016.[27] Also during the meeting it is believed that Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to use his influence to not allow the DPR and Luhansk People's Republic election to take place on 18 October 2015 and 1 November 2015.[27]

On 25 October 2015, the elections were not be held in certain government-held towns (in south-east Ukraine) close to the frontline because (it was believed in August 2015) there "voting may be dangerous to people's lives".[28][29] These towns include Avdiivka, Marinka, Artemivsk and Kostiantynivka.[29] While in other towns near the frontline, like Mariupol, the elections were decided to be held.[29]

Changes in the lawEdit

Parties registered 365 days before the election and who did not changed their name 180 days before the election were allowed to participate in the elections.[30] On 14 July 2015, the Ukrainian parliament passed a new law regarding the local elections in the country.[30] This law uprated the election threshold from 3% to 5% (in order to get any seats in the council a party has to score 5% of the total vote of the election[31]).[22] It also introduced three[22] electoral systems for (these) local elections:

The number of deputies elected to regional councils varies by population; the lowest is 64, while the highest is 120.
  1. Mayors and deputies of settlement and village councils directly elected under a majoritarian system; in a first-past-the-post system.[22]
  2. In cities with fewer than 90,000 voters Mayors are elected under a majoritarian system; in a first-past-the-post system.[32] Region, district, city, and city district councils are elected in multi-member constituencies meaning that for the elections for the city council or district council their territory is split into constituencies.[31] In these constituencies the parties nominated their candidates in closed party lists.[31][33] Independent candidates can not take part in the elections in places bigger than a village or settlement.[33][34] If a party passed the 5% election threshold the number of candidates from that party represented in a council will be established in accordance with the number of votes for a deputy in a certain constituency.[31][32] Ballots have a check box for each party, rather than for individual candidates.[32] Political parties in Ukraine can only register with the Ministry of Justice if they can "demonstrate a base of support in two-thirds of Ukraine's Oblasts" (Ukraine's 24 primary administrative units).[22]
  3. If in a city with more than 90,000 voters (at the time of the elections this was 35 cities[9]) the highest scoring mayoral candidate does not score over 50% of the votes + 1 vote a second round of the election will be held no later than 3 weeks after the election (in these elections that meant all second round elections on 15 November 2015).[8][31][35]

A proposition of the minimum number of deputies in a local council was to be 10 in places were the number of voters does not go above 500.[36] The maximum number of Deputies in a council is 80 in places with more than 1.5 million voters.[36] However, the proposition was not passed and the composition of local councils was preserved according to the law originally adopted on 14 July 2015.[37] According to the article 16 the composition of local council is defined by the number of voters which is set at a minimum 12 deputies for up to 1,000 voters and a maximum 120 deputies for over 2 million voters.[37] The composition of the Supreme Council of Autonomous Republic of Crimea is defined by the Constitution of Autonomous Republic of Crimea.[37]

A year after election voters can achieve a recall election if the collect as many signatures as voters.[38]

On the party list at least 30% have to be of the opposite sex as the other candidates.[31][35] However, there are no legal sanctions if a party does not comply.[22]

Refugees of the War in Donbass and people who moved out of Crimea after the 2014 Russian invasion of Crimea can not vote in the election if they are not registered as voters in the places they fled to.[22]

The new law also implemented election of starosta post[37] which was introduced with the 2015 administrative reform. With the creation of new territorial communities,[39] which started in the summer of 2015, voters are able to elect new leadership.


Results of the 2015 local election by raions (districts).

Election summaryEdit

In the election Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity", Fatherland and Our Land won the largest number of seats,[11] followed by Opposition Bloc and Radical Party.[11]

Petro Poroshenko Bloc did well in West and central Ukraine[12] and Kherson Oblast.[13] Fellow coalition partners in the second Yatsenyuk Government Self Reliance performed unconvincingly, with about 10 percent of the votes nationwide.[12] (Coalition member People's Front did not take part in the elections, at the time Fatherland was also a member of the coalition.[12]) Former coalition member Radical Party trailed behind Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Fatherland.[11][12]

Only Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Fatherland, Self Reliance and Radical Party won votes throughout the country.[40]

In Southern and Eastern Ukraine Opposition Bloc gained most votes,[12] but in Kharkiv Oblast, Revival gained most votes.[13]

In Western Ukraine Svoboda improved its performance compared with the 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary election.[12]

In 29 cities a second round of mayoral elections was held on 15 November 2015.[9]

Mayor (selected cities)Edit


In Kiev incumbent Mayor Vitali Klitschko and Boryslav Bereza competed in a second round of the mayoral election after Klitschko scored 40.5% of the vote and Bereza 8.8% in the first round.[41] Klitschko won this second round with 66.5%; Bereza gained 33.51% of the votes.[42]

Former mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko came third with 8.4%, followed by Volodymyr Bondarenko with 7.86% and Serhiy Husovsky with 7.7%.[41]

The voter turnout in the first round of the election was 41.87%.[41][43] In the second round of the election the turnout was 28.35%.[7]


In Kharkiv incumbent Mayor Hennadiy Kernes was re-elected in the first round of the election with 65.8% of the votes; with a voter turnout of 44.4%.[44][45] Taras Sytenko came second with 12.31%, followed by Yuriy Sapronov with 5.08%.[44]


Also in Dnipropetrovsk a second round of the mayoral election was held after Borys Filatov scored 37.94% and Oleksandr Vilkul 35.78% in the first round of the election.[46] Zahid Krasnov finished third with 12.42%.[46] In the second round Filatov was elected Mayor with 53.76% of the votes.[47][48]


In Odessa incumbent Mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov defeated Oleksandr Borovyk with 52.9% against 25.7% in the first round of the mayoral election.[49] Former Mayor Eduard Gurwits came in third with 8.5% of the vote.[49]


In the mayoral election of Zaporizhia Volodymyr Buriak or Mykola Frolov gained most votes in the first round of the election. Buriak gained 22.9% and Frolov 18.9% of the vote.[50][51][52][53] In the second round 58.48% of the votes supported Buriak as Mayor.[48]

Hence, incumbent Oleksandr Sin was not reelected after gaining (in the first round of the election) 9% of the vote.[50][52][53][51]

Voter turnoutEdit

Turnout of the elections was 46.62% nationwide.[16] The highest participation was in Western Ukraine (around 50%), lowest was in the Donbass region (slightly above 30%).[16] The turnout was typical of rates across Europe.[54]

In the second round of the mayoral election the turnout was 34.08%.[7]


Chairperson of a local electoral commission in Chernihiv on 15 November 2015.

1.554 international observers to the elections were registered by the Central Election Commission of Ukraine.[55][56]

Council of Europe observers were positive about the electoral process.[57]

The OSCE observer mission was also positive about the electoral process, but it argued that the electoral legislation needed improvement.[58]

The European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations observer mission qualified 15 November second round of mayoral elections as "generally held in line with international standards".[59]

Absence of elections in areas of the DonbassEdit

No elections took place on 25 October 2015 in Mariupol, Krasnoarmiisk and Svatove because there the majority of elections commission's members refused to accept the election ballots because of faulty ballots.[60] In Mariupol allegations were made by pro-Euromaidan parties that the printing house owned by Rinat Akhmetov had manipulated the ballots to help Opposition Bloc (whose mayoral candidate Vadym Boychenko worked in a company owned by Akhmetov).[60]

On 6 November 2015 the local election committee set the date for local elections in Svatove for the next 27 December.[61]

On 10 November (2015) the Ukrainian parliament set the date for local elections in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol for the following 29 November.[62] In Mariupol Vadym Boychenko won this (mayoral) election (with a 36.49% voter turnout).[63] The ENEMO-mission in Krasnoarmiisk and Mariupol was mildly positive about the elections.[64]

Mayoral re-elections in Kryvy RihEdit

On 15 November Opposition Bloc Yuriy Vilkul was declared winner of the second round of the mayoral elections in Kryvyi Rih.[65] But runner-up Yuriy Myloboh of Self Reliance filed complaints about the violations of the electoral process.[65] The Verkhovna Rada (on 23 December 2015) set early elections of the mayor of Kryvyi Rih on 27 March 2016.[2] According to NGO's OPORA and Committee of Voters of Ukraine these re-elections were marked by large-scale bribery, the use of administrative resources and other violations.[66] Vilkul won the re-election with 74.18% of the vote; followed by Semen Semenchenko for Self Reliance with 10.92%.[67] Voter turnout on 27 March 2016 was 55.77%.[68]


  1. ^ Repeat elections in 82 locations throughout Ukraine have been scheduled for 29 November 20 December, 27 December 3 January, 10 January, and 17 January.[1] And early mayoral elections in Kryvyi Rih on 27 March 2016.[2]
  2. ^ The next regular local elections in Ukraine, according to the Constitution of Ukraine, are to take place on the last Sunday of October 2020.[3] Holding a snap election will not cancel the October 2020 regular election in the place where the snap election was held.[3]


  1. ^ "The list of councils which did not elect city, town, village heads". Local elections in Ukraine, 2015 (in Ukrainian). Central Election Commission of Ukraine. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b Special mayor elections held in Kryvyi Rih, UNIAN (27 March 2016)
  3. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) Replacement of mayors and "Steinmeier formula". How Zelensky prepares local elections, Ukrayinska Pravda (3 October 2019)
  4. ^ "Candidates who are elected deputies of councils". Local elections in Ukraine, 2015 (in Ukrainian). Central Election Commission of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 13 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Details on those who were elected as city, town, village chairmen". Local elections in Ukraine, 2015 (in Ukrainian). Central Election Commission of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Local elections on October 25 to be held in 73 unified communities – CEC". Interfax-Ukraine. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d (in Ukrainian) In the CEC released official estimates of turnout, Ukrayinska Pravda (16 November 2015)
  8. ^ a b Interfax-Ukraine (2 October 2015). "Local election runoff in Ukraine's major cities should be held no later than Nov. 15". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b c 29 Ukrainian cities elect mayors in the second round, 112 Ukraine (15 November 2015)
  10. ^ a b c "Local elections will not take place in 125 localities in Donetsk region, 146 - Luhansk region". Interfax-Ukraine. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
    Interfax-Ukraine (11 June 2015). "Poroshenko says local elections in Ukraine will be held on Oct. 25, date on which they will be held in Donbas is hard to predict". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
    "Ukraine crisis: President calls snap vote amid fighting". BBC News. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
    "Ukraine elections: Runners and risks". BBC News. 22 May 2014. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e Poroshenko Bloc, Batkivschyna, Nash Kray get largest number of seats in local councils – Ukrainian Voters Committee, Interfax-Ukraine (12 November 2015)
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Why a 'Star Wars' Emperor Won Office in Ukraine, Bloomberg News (26 October 2015)
    Exit Polls Show Ukraine Divided For, Against Poroshenko Rule, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (27 October 2015)
    After Ukraine’s Local Elections: Early Misinterpretations, Carnegie Europe (27 October 2015)
    Poroshenko hobbles on, Politico Europe (26 October 2015)
    Week’s milestones. Elections to be continued, blackmail in Minsk, and emotional lustration, UNIAN (27 October 2015)
  13. ^ a b c d Archived 13 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine (in Ukrainian)
  14. ^ a b Antonovych, Mariana; Wamberg Andersen, Johannes (2 October 2015). "Reform Watch - Oct. 1, 2015". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
    "Rhinos, dill and hidden threats confuse voters in Kyiv". Kyiv Post. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b Exit Polls Show Ukraine Divided For, Against Poroshenko Rule, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (27 October 2015)
    Ukraine’s prime minister opts out of polls, Financial Times (24 October 2015)
    (in Ukrainian)Electoral lists of candidates in multimember constituencies within the regions of Ukraine in the local elections in 2015 Archived 30 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Central Election Commission of Ukraine
  16. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) [1]
  17. ^ "Opposition proposes to appoint a special local elections in Kyiv on April 20" (in Ukrainian). Interfax-Ukraine. 31 January 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  18. ^ "CEC asked for 1.2 billion for local elections" (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  19. ^ a b c (in Ukrainian) Surprise electorate from advertising balloons to motorcycles, The Ukrainian Week (9 October 2015)
  20. ^ Ukraine's Local Elections: New law, old problems Archived 25 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine by Melanie Mierzejewski-Voznyak, New Eastern Europe (22 October 2015)
  21. ^ a b Zhuk, Alyona (23 October 2015). "Millions Of Ukrainians To Vote On Oct. 25: Parties to spend $82 million in local vote". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h "Link to a pdf-file". Missing or empty |url= (help)Link to a pdf-file INTERIM REPORT 2015 Ukrainian local elections, OSCE (9 October 2015)
  23. ^ Election Victories Strengthen Putin’s Grip Around Russia and Crimea, (14 September 2014)
    "Russian State Duma appoints parliamentary elections in Crimea on September 14, 2014". ITAR TASS. 25 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  24. ^ a b c d "Local elections in DPR to take place on October 18 – Zakharchenko". Interfax-Ukraine. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
    "DPR, LPR attempts to hold separate elections in Donbas on Oct 18 to have destructive consequences - Poroshenko". Interfax-Ukraine. 2 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  25. ^ "LPR residents will elect the heads of cities and regions on November 1". Sputnik News. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  26. ^ Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine postpone disputed elections, Reuters (6 October 2015)
    Ukraine rebels to delay elections, Washington Post (6 October 2015)
  27. ^ a b c Ukraine crisis: Pro-Russian rebels 'delay disputed elections', BBC News (6 October 2015)
    Hollande: Elections In Eastern Ukraine Likely To Be Delayed, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (2 October 2015)
    Ukraine Is Being Told to Live With Putin, Bloomberg News (5 October 2015)
  28. ^ (in Ukrainian) Where there is shooting it is advised to postpone local elections, Radio Svoboda (14 August 2015)
  29. ^ a b c Ukraine’s pro-government parties join forces ahead of local elections, Ukrainian Weekly (18 September 2015)
  30. ^ a b Rada adopts Law on local elections, UNIAN (14 July 2015)
  31. ^ a b c d e f "Groysman explains how local elections will be held on October 25". Interfax-Ukraine. 15 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  32. ^ a b c Antonovych, Mariana; Wamberg Andersen, Johannes (17 July 2015). "Critics say new election law doesn't advance democracy". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  33. ^ a b "Surprises Local elections: be aware to not "break the brain"" (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  34. ^ Let the local electoral process in Ukraine begin, beyond the EU (21 September 2015) Archived 4 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ a b РАДА ПРИЙНЯЛА ЗАКОН ПРО МІСЦЕВІ ВИБОРИ [The Rada adopted the law on local elections] (in Ukrainian). Ukrayinska Pravda. 14 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  36. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) The Rada adopted on the basis of a draft law on local elections, Ukrayinska Pravda (18 June 2015)
  37. ^ a b c d Law of Ukraine "About the local elections". Verkhovna Rada website.
  38. ^ Local vote, global implications Archived 4 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Business Ukraine (1 October 2015)
    Poroshenko responds to petition on recalling MPs, UNIAN (16 October 2015)
    What the new Local Elections Law changed?, Ukrainian Crisis Media Center (8 September 2014)
  39. ^ Law of Ukraine "About a volunteer association of territorial communities". Verkhovna Rada.
  40. ^
  41. ^ a b c
  42. ^
  43. ^ (in Ukrainian) The final data: turnout in elections in Kiev was 41.87%, (26 October 2015)
  44. ^ a b Kernes wins elections for Kharkiv mayor with over 65% of vote, Interfax-Ukraine (31 October 2015)
  45. ^
  46. ^ a b
  47. ^ Borys Filatov becomes Dnipropetrovsk mayor – election commission, Ukrinform (18 November 2015)
  48. ^ a b (in Ukrainian) CVU Chairman: Klitschko won the most votes among the mayors of cities, Espreso TV (18 November 2015)
  49. ^ a b
  50. ^ a b
  51. ^ a b
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^ a b
  54. ^
  55. ^ The CEC of Ukraine registered more than 1, 5 thousand election observers, (20 October 2015)
  56. ^ Week in numbers, UNIAN (20 October 2015)
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ a b
  61. ^ (in Ukrainian)/(website has automatic Google Translate option) Elections Svatove and Novoaydarsky area designated for December, LIGA (6 November 2015)
  62. ^ Рада призначила вибори в Маріуполі та Красноармійську на 29 листопада [Rada appointed elections in Mariupol and Krasnoarmeisk in 29 November]. Ukrayinska Pravda (in Ukrainian). 10 November 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^ a b
  66. ^ No fair, democratic standards in Kryviy Rih mayor elections – CVU, UNIAN (28 March 2016)
  67. ^ (in Ukrainian) VILKUL oath mayor of Kryviy Rih, Ukrayinska Pravda ( 2016)
  68. ^ Yuriy Vilkul sworn in as Kryvy Rih mayor, Interfax-Ukraine (1 April 2016)

External linksEdit