On 28th October 2012 Ukraine held its much-anticipated parliamentary election – significant change was hoped for if the opposition came to power. The Central Election Commission of Ukraine finalised the count on 12th November 2012 with 440 deputies elected: the ruling Party of Regions boasted 185 deputies, while the main opposition party Batkivschyna came in with only 101. Among the more unusual results was the single-mandate constituency won by Ukrainian entrepreneur and billionaire Kostyantyn Zhevago. The elections for five single-mandate constituencies where results could not be established are to be repeated.
Following the result, Ukraine’s three major opposition parties accused President Viktor Yanukovich of vote-rigging. International press also criticised the elections, with Russian media offering details of vote count irregularities. When speaking with Yanukovich in mid-November 2012, US Vice President Joe Biden voiced further concerns about the country’s electoral process and the OSCE claimed a lack of a level playing field, caused primarily by the “abuse of administrative resources, lack of transparency of campaign and party financing, and lack of balanced media coverage”. For its part, Ukrainian press suggested that the election results indicated increasing polarisation in the country, noting in particular the rise of far-right political party All Ukrainian Union Svododa and the Communist Party of Russia, which received 32 and 37 votes respectively.
There is unlikely to be any significant change in the position of the oligarchs who control the country’s major industries. Moreover, Ukraine continues to prove a challenging jurisdiction for international business, ranking 152nd out of 185 in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index. The re-election of Yanukovych’s party is not expected to bring about any of the changes that were hoped for prior to the October 2012 election.