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Poroshenko holds talks with Lviv mayor whose party showed unexpected results

October 27, 2014, 21:23 UTC+3 KIEV
The Samopomich party is among the three parties that are leading the parliamentary elections
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Lviv's mayor Andriy Sadovy

Lviv's mayor Andriy Sadovy

© AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

KIEV, October 27. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Monday held talks with Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovy, leader of the Samopomich (Self-Help) party, in creating a parliamentary coalition, presidential spokesman Svyatoslav Tsegolko wrote on Facebook.

The Samopomich party is among the three parties that are leading the parliamentary elections.

“The head of state is forming a powerful democratic coalition in the parliament. To this end Petro Poroshenko has met with Arseniy Yatsenyuk today. The president has also met with Andriy Sadovy. The talks continue,” Tsegolko said.

Earlier, the leader of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, Yuri Lutsenko, said a draft coalition agreement for parties that had been elected to the parliament after Sunday’s snap polls was due to be made public.

Lutsenko did not rule out that the coalition might include the parties - the People’s Front, Svoboda (Freedom), Samopomich and Batkivshchyna.

Party led by Lviv mayor shows unexpectedly high results

The party of Lviv mayor showed unexpectedly good performance at Ukraine’s early parliamentary elections. Samopomich was set up in the autumn of 1994 as an election platform of Andriy Sadovy, the mayor of Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine. Samopomich turned out to be finishing third (with almost 11 % of the vote) after Ukraine’s Central Electoral Commission has counted 40% of the ballot papers.

Samopomich is the only political force seeking a place in the new parliament or Verkhovnaya Rada whose leader does not have an official residence permit in Kiev. The party, however, has outdone the two long-livers in Ukrainian politics - such as the Yulia Tymoshenko bloc (that gained less than 6% of the votes) as well as the nationalist Svoboda party, whose main supporters are in western Ukraine. It is noteworthy that Samopomich showed the best results in capital Kiev where 27% of people had voted for it, according to exit polls.

Regional political force with big ambition

The phenomenon of a regional political force can partly be explained by voters’ desire to see new faces on Ukraine’s political stage and a demand for personalities who are linked neither to the previous regime of Viktor Yanukovych nor to the current leadership. Sadovy was only 50th in the party election list. That shows he is in no rush to change the mayor’s post to a deputy seat in Ukrainian parliament.

Symbolically, the party that favors the renovation of Ukrainian politics has nominated Yegor Sobolev, the head of the public lustration committee, as a candidate. Public activist Anna Gopko, coordinator of the Reanimated Package of Reforms /RPR/, tops the party list. Semyon Semenchenko, the Donbas battalion commander who has gained popularity in Ukraine in recent months, is second on the list. The top five also includes Oksana Syroid, director of Ukraine’s legislative fund and an RPR expert. Instead of bureaucrats, the Samopomoshch’s party list contains the names of young professionals in the sphere of social development, information technologies, legal science and charity.

Samopomich has branches in all parts of Ukraine. Samopomich calls for adopting Ukraine’s new military doctrine; denouncing the country’s non-bloc status, building up arms production and pursuing an offensive, namely anti-Russian information policy. As for economic goals, the party has promised to develop ecological farming and animal husbandry; liberate small and mid-sized businesses from dependence on financial and industrial groups and expand food exports.

Samopomich finished third at elections to the Kiev State Council in May 2014 having gained five seats.

According to political expert Yaroslav Yurchishin, the charismatic Lviv mayor continues to be the party’s key figure. The past parliamentary elections were just an interim goal for Sadovy. Apparently, Sadovy has more ambitious goals - promotion at a national level and a future presidential campaign, the local analyst says.

He assumes that most Samopomich voters voted for bright personalities on the party list, especially the charismatic mayor of Lvov. At the same time, observers believe that it will be hard for Sadovy to control deputies from his party.

As the local mediareport, Samopomich’s business partners, predominantly from the IT sphere, had financed a pretty much active party election campaign. Most of those partners are also on the party list. Some newspapers claim that Igor Kolomoisky, the notorious and scandalous governor of Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region, had allocated funds for the Lviv mayor’s party.

The name Samopomich appeared in the District of Galicia in the early 20th century. It was a cooperative union which pursued a goal of regional economic self-organization and political self-government. Today, the Samopomich party is actively promoting the idea of local self-government, which, it believes, is the backbone of the country’s stability.

“Over the past 8 years, the powers of local self-government bodies have been cut by 60% The state has become weaker. Politicians have always tried to take away powers from cities and villages. Ukraine will become strong if the power and finance are handed over to communities,” Sadovy said.

“If the state wants to be successful, the only option is to develop local self-government. Strong cities - a strong country,” the mayor of Lvov stressed.

Apart from regional self-government, Samopomich has promised to defend the idea of effective interaction between parliament, the president and government in order to work out a new military doctrine and denounce Ukraine’s non-bloc status. The party wants to develop the production and purchase of modern weapons; efficiently run the military-industrial complex and form a military reserve by creating a system of military training for Ukrainian citizens.

“Our slogan is simple: go and do it!” Sadovy stressed.

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