The 2019 Ukrainian presidential election was held on 31 March and 21 April in a two-round system.
|Turnout||62.9% (first round)|
62.1% (second round)
There were 39 candidates for the election on the ballot. The 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the occupation of parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast prevented around 12% of eligible voters from participating in the election. As no candidate received an absolute majority of the vote, a second round was held between the top two candidates, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a comedian who portrayed a fictional president of Ukraine in the comedy television series Servant of the People, and the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, on 21 April 2019. According to the Central Election Commission, Zelenskyy won the second round with 73.22% of the votes.
According to Ukrainian law, the election of the President of Ukraine must take place on the last Sunday of March of the fifth year of the term of the incumbent president. Thus the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election took place on 31 March 2019. The Ukrainian parliament had to approve the date of the presidential election no later than 100 days before the election day. On 26 November 2018 the parliament set the presidential vote for 31 March 2019.
34,544,993 people were eligible to vote in the elections. However, the March 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia and the occupation of parts of Donetsk Oblast and Luhansk Oblast by separatists (since April 2014) made roughly 12% of eligible voters unable to participate in the elections. The Ukrainian Central Election Commission closed all five foreign polling stations in Russia ahead of the vote.
Analysis of candidates by the Ukrainian NGO "Chesno" found that Petro Poroshenko had the largest election fund (₴415 million, about $15.4 million), followed by Yulia Tymoshenko with ₴320 million, Volodymyr Zelenskyy with ₴102.8 million, and Serhiy Taruta with ₴98.4 million. By comparison, in the 2010 Ukrainian presidential election, then winner Viktor Yanukovych spent over $40 million and runner-up Yulia Tymoshenko spent $36 million.
A total of 2,369 international observers from 17 countries and 19 organizations were officially registered to monitor the elections. A record number of 139 non-governmental Ukrainian organizations were registered as observers.
According to Ukrainian law, a presidential candidate must be a citizen of Ukraine who is at least 35 years old, can speak the (state) Ukrainian language and has lived in Ukraine for the last ten years prior to election day. Candidates were nominated by a political party, or by self-nomination. Candidates also had to submit a declaration of income for the year preceding the election year. This document was then scrutinized by the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption, which subsequently published the results of the audit. Nominations could be submitted from 31 December 2018 to 4 February 2019. The end of the registration period was 9 February 2019. After a potential candidate provided the required documentation to the Central Election Commission (CEC), this body had five days to register the candidate or to refuse to do so.
Candidates were required to pay a nomination deposit of ₴2.5 million (approx. US$90,000); only the two candidates that progress to the second round of voting will get this deposit returned (the other deposits will be transferred to the state budget).
By the end of the registration period on 9 February 2019, the Central Election Commission (CEC) had registered 44 candidates for the elections. This meant that the largest number of candidates participated in the elections. In total, 92 people submitted documents to the CEC to participate in the elections. Five candidates withdrew. The CEC refused to register 47 people, most for their failure to pay the deposit.
Candidates could withdraw their candidacy, but not later than 23 days before the election. On 8 March, the CEC approved the final list of candidates. There were a total of 39 candidates for the first round of the election.
|Name||Party||Occupation||Notes||Date registered by CEC|
|Ihor Shevchenko||Independent||Ex-Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources and head of charitable organisation Successful Ukraine||Shevchenko had declared his intention for candidacy on 13 November 2018, but also stated he would not participate in the elections if a new candidate appears who "better meets the requirements." He submitted documents to the CEC for registration as a presidential candidate on 31 December 2018 (which was also the first day of the electoral campaign).||4 January|
|Serhiy Kaplin||Social Democratic Party||People's Deputy of Ukraine and leader of the Social Democratic Party||In October 2017, Kaplin had already stated his intention to take part of the election as the leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine. But the legal chairman of this party was Illia Kyva. He filed documents to the CEC for registration as a presidential candidate on 3 January 2019.||8 January|
|Vitaliy Skotsyk||Independent||Professor at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine||Skotysyk filed documents with the CEC 3 January 2019 for registration as the Agrarian Party of Ukraine's presidential candidate. But the next day the Agrarian Party stated he had been expelled from the party the previous September for "actions that harm the authority and discredit the governing body of the party and the party as a whole".||8 January|
|Valentyn Nalyvaichenko||Spravedlyvist||Ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine, ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine, Chairman of Spravedlyvist||Nominated by his party on 3 January 2019.||8 January|
|Vitalii Kuprii||Independent||People's Deputy of Ukraine||15 January|
|Anatoliy Hrytsenko||Civil Position||Ex-Minister of Defence (2005–2007), leader of Civil Position||Civil Position nominated Hrytsenko as a candidate on 11 January. His candidacy is supported by the European Party of Ukraine, Native Land, Alternative [uk] and Wave [uk]. Andriy Sadovyi and Dmytro Gnap withdrew their candidacies in a bid to support Hrytsenko. On 5 March, Hrytsenko said he was in talks with five other candidates (Smeshko, Koshulynskyi, Dobrodomov, Bezsmertnyi and Kryvenko) on joining forces in the election.||15 January|
|Hennadiy Balashov||5.10||Businessman and former People's Deputy of Ukraine (1998–2002)||On 21 May 2018, Balashov released a video on his official website titled "Will Balashov Run for President?" in which he asks the audience if they're "capable of raising money" for his campaign, yet doesn't say whether he will participate in the election. On 19 September 2018 he clearly announced his intention to run on behalf of his party 5.10.||18 January|
|Olha Bohomolets||Independent||People's Deputy of Ukraine||Candidate in the 2014 Ukrainian presidential election.||18 January|
|Olexandr Shevchenko||UKROP||People's Deputy of Ukraine||Founder of the resort Bukovel.||21 January|
|Roman Nasirov||Independent||Ex-head of the State Fiscal Service||22 January|
|Yuriy Boyko||Independent||People's Deputy of Ukraine and ex-Minister of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine||Candidate for the Opposition Platform — For Life alliance. His nomination was announced on 17 November. Because Opposition Platform – For life was not yet registered as a party in January 2019 it could not nominate him as a presidential candidate.||22 January|
|Yulia Tymoshenko||Fatherland||People's Deputy of Ukraine and former Prime Minister of Ukraine (2005; 2007–2010)||In October 2017, Tymoshenko announced that she intended to participate. On 20 June 2018 she officially declared that she would take part in the election. On 16 March fellow candidate Serhiy Taruta pledged his campaign team would support Tymoshenko, however, his name was not taken off the ballot. She was endorsed by the Peasant Party of Ukraine.||25 January|
|Oleh Lyashko||Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko||People's Deputy of Ukraine||25 January|
|Oleksandr Vilkul||Opposition Bloc – Party for Development and Peace||People's Deputy of Ukraine and ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine||Nominated by Opposition Bloc – Party for Development and Peace (the recently renamed Industrial Party of Ukraine) on 20 January 2019. Vilkul had been already nominated by his party Opposition Bloc on 17 December 2018. But a Ukrainian court ruled three days before (in response to a lawsuit filed by People's Deputy of Ukraine for OB Serhiy Larin) that OB's congress at which Vikul was to be nominated could not "reorganize the party by any means". On 18 December 2018, the website of OB stated that therefore all the decisions made at the congress were invalid.||25 January|
|Arkadiy Kornatskiy||Independent||People's Deputy of Ukraine||25 January|
|Oleksandr Moroz||Independent||Speaker of Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine twice: July 2006 to September 2007, and previously in 1994–1998, ex-leader of the Socialist Party of Ukraine||Declared his candidacy on 11 December 2018.||25 January|
|Illia Kyva||Socialist Party of Ukraine||Chairman of the Socialist Party of Ukraine||Kyva was nominated by his party on 3 November 2018. At the time of nomination he was also an advisor to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.||25 January|
|Ruslan Koshulynskyi||All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda||Deputy head of All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda||On 14 October 2018, Oleh Tyahnybok, Chairman of the party All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda, announced he would not be running for president and that the party had instead decided to nominate Koshulynskyi as the candidate of nationalist political forces. On 19 November 2018, fellow Ukrainian nationalist political organizations Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, Right Sector and C14 endorsed Koshulynskyi's candidacy.||28 January|
|Oleksandr V. Danylyuk||Independent||Ex-Defence Ministry advisor and head of the Centre for Defence Ministry Reform||28 January|
|Serhiy Taruta||Osnova||People's Deputy of Ukraine and ex-Governor of Donetsk Oblast (2014), leader of Osnova||Taruta was nominated by Osnova on 22 September 2018. He withdrew from the running on 16 March to support Yulia Tymoshenko, however, his name will feature on the ballot.||29 January|
|Volodymyr Zelenskyy||Servant of the People||Showman, screenwriter, actor, and art-director of Kvartal 95||Announced his candidacy on live TV on 31 December 2018.||30 January|
|Ihor Smeshko||Independent||Ex-head of the Security Service of Ukraine (2003–2005)||Announced his intention to run on 13 January 2019.||30 January|
|Inna Bohoslovska||Independent||Ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine||30 January|
|Mykola Haber||Independent||Ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine||1 February|
|Yuriy Derevyanko||Volia||People's Deputy of Ukraine||Nominated by the party Volia on 27 January.||1 February|
|Roman Bezsmertnyi||Independent||Ex-Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine||Declared his candidacy on 31 May 2018.||4 February|
|Viktor Bondar||Revival||Ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine and chairman of the party Revival||Filed documents to the CEC on 31 January.||4 February|
|Viktor Kryvenko||People's Movement of Ukraine||People's Deputy of Ukraine||Kryvenko was chosen as the People's Movement of Ukraine candidate on 10 January 2019.||5 February|
|Ruslan Rihovanov||Independent||Acting head of Sevastopol Marine Fishing Port||5 February|
|Serhiy Nosenko||Independent||Investment consultant||5 February|
|Vasyl Zhuravlev||Stability||Leader of Stability||6 February|
|Andriy Novak||Patriot||Chairman of the Committee of Economists of Ukraine||Nominated by the Patriot party on 24 January 2019.||6 February|
|Yuri Tymoshenko||Independent||People's Deputy of Ukraine||Yulia Tymoshenko called for Yuri Tymoshenko's registration to be annulled because they share the same surname and initials, which could confuse voters. On 6 March, two individuals were arrested for attempting to bribe Yuri Tymoshenko to withdraw from the elections.||6 February|
|Petro Poroshenko||Independent (Petro Poroshenko Bloc "Solidarity")||Incumbent President of Ukraine, businessman||In July 2018, the deputy head of Poroshenko's parliamentary bloc announced that an election campaign team had been formed for Poroshenko, and that it was very likely that he would participate in the elections. Poroshenko announced his participation in the elections on 29 January 2019. Serhiy Krivonos withdrew his candidacy in support of Poroshenko.||7 February|
|Yurii Karmazin||Independent||Ex-People's Deputy of Ukraine||7 February|
|Yulia Lytvynenko||Independent||Journalist, TV presenter||7 February.|
|Oleksandr Vashchenko||Independent||Chairman of NGO Power of the People||7 February|
|Volodymyr Petrov||Independent||Ukrainian political analyst journalist and public figure.||Candidate in the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election. At the time of registration, Petrov was under house arrest and being investigated for alleged harassment of a female student.||7 February|
|Oleksandr Solovyev||Reasonable Force||Leader of the party Reasonable Force||The CEC initially refused to register him on 2 February because a point in his election manifesto was interpreted as "encroaching on Ukraine's territorial integrity." After making corrections to his manifesto, he resubmitted documents and was registered.||8 February|
Candidates who withdrewEdit
- Andriy Sadovyi: Mayor of Lviv; his party Self Reliance announced on 3 October 2018 that Sadovyi is its candidate in the election. The CEC registered Sadovyi as a candidate on 8 January. In February Sadovyi talked about withdrawing his candidacy in favour of supporting Anatoliy Hrytsenko as a united candidate from "democratic, anti-corruption forces". He made the decision to withdraw on 1 March and then declared his support for Hrytsenko.
- Dmytro Gnap: Journalist; Gnap was nominated by the party Power of the People on 20 January, and became a registered candidate on 8 February. He withdrew from the election on 2 March, also in favor of Anatoliy Hrytsenko.
- Serhiy Krivonos: veteran of the War in Donbass; Krivonos was nominated by the party Soldiers of the Anti-Terrorist Operation and subsequently registered by the CEC on 5 February. On 6 March he announced that he was withdrawing from the elections to support incumbent president Petro Poroshenko.
- Yevheniy Murayev: People's Deputy of Ukraine; on 10 January 2019, Murayev's party Nashi nominated him for president. The CEC registered his candidacy on 15 January. On 7 March he pulled out of the election favor of Oleksandr Vilkul. He also announced that Vilkul's Opposition Bloc and Nashi would soon merge.
- Dmytro Dobrodomov: People's Deputy of Ukraine and leader of the People's Control party was a registered candidate since 25 January. He withdrew from the election on 7 March in favor of Anatoliy Hrytsenko.
The CEC rejected 47 applications (mostly for failure to pay the deposit of ₴2.5 million) of potential candidates, including:
- Petro Symonenko: Leader of the Communist Party of Ukraine. His nomination was announced at the party's congress on 1 December 2018. Legally the Communist Party of Ukraine is not banned, but the Ministry of Justice is allowed to prohibit it from participating in elections. The CEC refused to register him as a candidate on 2 February because the statute, name, and symbolism of the Communist Party of Ukraine did not comply with 2015 decommunization laws.
- Nadiya Savchenko: People's Deputy of Ukraine and Hero of Ukraine. Savchenko was nominated by her party on 26 January 2019. Her bid to become a candidate was rejected by the CEC on 7 February because she failed to pay the deposit and her party didn't stamp the document regarding her nomination.
- Andriy Biletsky: People's Deputy of Ukraine and leader of political party National Corps; nominated by his party on 20 November 2018. Biletsky later said that he had no intention of participating in the "farce" of a presidential election.
- Vadim Rabinovich: People's Deputy of Ukraine and businessman. On 15 November 2018 Rabinovich announced he would not take part in the presidential election; but that he would top his party's For Life list in the following 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary elections.
- Oleh Tyahnybok: Chairman of the party All-Ukrainian Union Svoboda. On 14 October 2018, he announced that he would not be running for president and that the party had instead decided to nominate Koshulynskyi as the candidate of Ukraine's nationalist political forces.
- Michel Tereshchenko: Tereshchenko stepped down as mayor of Hlukhiv on 1 October 2018 to become a candidate. Yet, during the November–30 December-day martial law in Ukraine he resumed his position as mayor and on 3 January 2019 declared his support for candidate Andriy Sadovyi during a congress of Sadovyi's party Self Reliance.
- Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, lead vocalist of the rock band Okean Elzy. At the end of January 2019, Vakarchuk released a video in which he announced that he would not be running for president. Vakarchuk has said he does not back any of the candidates. According to an early March 2019 poll by sociological group "RATING" 64% of the electorate would have liked to see Vakarchuk among the presidential candidates. On 27 March 2019, Vakarchuk posted a video on his Facebook page calling on Ukrainians to think seriously about voting, and not to vote "for a laugh"; this was met with a response by the campaign team of presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who Vakarchuk's comments appeared to be directed towards.
- Mykhailo Dobkin: People's Deputy of Ukraine, former Kharkiv mayor and Governor of Kharkiv Oblast.
Ukrainian television coverageEdit
During the 2019 Ukrainian presidential election, various Ukrainian television channels supported a candidate for President of Ukraine.
Five groups supported Poroshenko:
- Petro Poroshenko's Channel 5 and Pryamiy supported Poroshenko and were very critical of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Yulia Tymoshenko.
- Dmytro Firtash's very powerful Inter supported Yuriy Boyko and Poroshenko.
- Rinat Akhmetov's TRK Ukraina, which is owned by Akhmetov's System Capital Management Holdings, supported Poroshenko, Oleh Lyashko, and Oleksandr Vilkul. Akhmetov's Opposition Bloc nominated Vilkul.
- Pro-Russia Viktor Medvedchuk's Channel 112 and NewsOne supported Poroshenko, Lyashko, and Boyko. Medvedchuk's Opposition Platform — For Life nominated Boyko. The godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter is Vladimir Putin.
- Petro Dyminskyi's ZIK supported Poroshenko's allies allowing them to explain their story while they were under investigation.
Three TV groups were very critical of Poroshenko:
- Ihor Kolomoisky's 1+1 media group supported Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zeleneskyy worked for Kolomoisky's channel. According to an analysis by Ukrainian NGO Detektor Media by September 2020 1+1 was not supporting (if not hostile too) Zelenskyy and his Servant of the People party. Detektor Media claimed it was instead promoting For the Future.
- Andriy Sadovyi's Channel 24, supported Anatoliy Hrytsenko and opposed Poroshenko.
- Pro-Russia Yevheniy Murayev's Nash TV supported pro-Russia Vilkul and was against Poroshenko but neutral to Tymoshenko and Lyashko.
With a voter turnout of 62.8%, about 18.9 million people voted in the first round of elections on 31 March. Volodymyr Zelenskyy of the Servant of the People and the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko both advanced to the second round of elections on 21 April. In the first round, Zelenskyy earned 30% of the votes compared to Poroshenko's 16%.
Exit polls during the second round of voting predicted that Zelenskyy would win with more than 70% of the votes. With only 3% of the votes counted, the CEC confirmed similar preliminary results. Poroshenko conceded the results of the election in a speech soon after the polls closed and exit-poll data was released. He wrote on Twitter: "We succeeded to ensure free, fair, democratic and competitive elections... I will accept the will of Ukrainian people."
According to the CEC, preliminary results with about 99.27% of the votes counted indicates that Zelenskyy received about 73.19% of the votes to the incumbent president's 24.48%. The final results for both second round candidates were 73.23% and 24.46%.
|Candidate||Party||First round||Second round|
|Volodymyr Zelenskyy||Servant of the People||5,714,034||30.24||13,541,528||73.22|
|Anatoliy Hrytsenko||Civil Position||1,306,450||6.91|
|Oleh Lyashko||Radical Party||1,036,003||5.48|
|Oleksandr Vilkul||Opposition Bloc||784,274||4.15|
|Valentyn Nalyvaichenko||Public-Political Movement "Spravedlyvist"||43,239||0.22|
|Serhiy Kaplin||Social Democratic Party||14,532||0.07|
|Oleksandr Moroz||Socialist Party of Oleksandr Moroz||13,139||0.06|
|Viktor Kryvenko||People's Movement of Ukraine||9,243||0.04|
|Vasyl Zhuravlyov||Stability Party||8,453||0.04|
|Illia Kyva||Socialist Party of Ukraine||5,869||0.03|
|Andriy Novak||Patriot Party||5,587||0.02|
|Oleksandr Solovyev||Reasonable Force||5,331||0.02|
|Source: Central Election Commission First round Second round|
Poroshenko tweeted that "a new inexperienced Ukrainian president... could be quickly returned to Russia's orbit of influence." Some of Zelenskyy's critics expressed concerns over his close ties with billionaire oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, doubting whether Zelenskyy would be able to stand up against the country's influential oligarchs and the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Several European Union nations offered their congratulations and hopes of continued partnerships in the future. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Zelenskyy "will now truly be the Servant of the People." Similar sentiments were expressed by Andrzej Duda, President of Poland, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Russia's deputy foreign minister, Grigory Karasin, stated that "The new leadership now must understand and realise the hopes of its electors" in both domestic and foreign policy. Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Zelenskyy and thanked the Canadians among the observers overseeing the elections. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, called the president-elect to congratulate him and "the Ukrainian people for a peaceful [and] democratic election."
A joint letter of congratulations was issued by both Tusk and Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission. The European Union (EU) leaders stated that they hoped Zelenskyy's victory would speed up the implementation of the remaining parts of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.
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