Forecasts by leading political experts: What political factors and resources might impact the final result of the presidential race? Who will win the third place? Highlights of Jan. 5 round table discussion at Politichna Dumka.
Vitaly Bala: whoever wins the election won’t be able to run the country single-handedly
The difference between the 2004 presidential campaign and the current one is that whoever wins the election won’t be able to rule the country single-handedly. The published ratings of candidates do not reflect the realities. Consequently, it is very difficult to forecast the results of the Jan. 17 voting.
As regards the first and the second rounds of election, the gap between the vote for Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will be crucial. Yanukovych dominates his traditional electoral turf and he will garner the highest vote on it, whereas Tymoshenko faces an uphill battle.
Whoever comes third will have the opportunity to bargain for posts, the premier’s post included. Meanwhile, both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will strive to have real executive power. For this purpose, they will choose to nominate dummy premiers. I think, Tihipko,, Yatseniuk and Yushchenko will compete for the third place.
Taras Berezovets: Yatseniuk is out of the race
It is clear who the pair of frontrunners in the first round will be. The third place will be contested, I believe, by Yushchenko and Tihipko. Yatseniuk is out of the race. Yushchenko, in my opinion, has the largest chance to become third. Yanukovych is a hot favorite in the first round. The situation in the runoffs may change radically.
Kost Bondarenko: whoever comes third will win the next presidential election
It is obvious who will win in the first and second rounds. Yanukovych and Tymoshenko will win in the first round. In the second round they will change places, with Tymoshenko in the lead. Tihipko will come third. The third place gives leverage over the favorites, allows to impact local government elections and the lineup of factions in local councils. I guess, the third runner will be president in the next election.
Andry Yermolayev: no point to discuss the third runner.
In 2009 politicians and the media did everything to focus the attention on two favorites, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych, who will probably make it to Round 2. As regards the third-place runner, it is no use to forecast who he will be. In the presidential election only the first place matters.
Ihor Zhdanov: major wrangling to come after round 1
The course of the election is clear to me: Viktor Yanukovych will win in the first round, leading Tymoshenko by about 10%. As regards the third-place runner, the favorite, Arseny Yatseniuk, has lost much ground and has to compete now with Serhy Tihipko.
Much to the chagrain of Orange voters, Viktor Yanukovych is set to win in the first round. The main wrangling, however, will be in the second round. The win there will depend on how both favorites will attract voters. There are many disheartened voters and many candidates who balkanize voters. Tymoshenko faces an uphill battle as she has to rally the balkanized voters.
The incumbent will find himself in a very ticklish position. Since he is certain not to make it into the second round, he will have to make a difficult choice either to support Tymoshenko or Yanukovych or to call his electorate to vote against all. I rule out that he will support Tymoshenko. Nor will he openly back up Yanukovych. Most probably, he will call to vote against all candidates. In doing so, Yushchenko will play out a very simple scenario since voting against all actually means to vote for Yanukovych.
Mykola Mykhalchenko: 6-7% gap in the first round
It is clear that other candidates won’t be able to join the two forerunners, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych. None of them will get a convincing victory in the first round. When the Regions forecast a Yanukovych win in the first round it is mere spin. Yanukovych will lead by 6-7% in the first round. This is not a big gap to make up for Tymoshenko because she will get the votes of democratically-minded Ukrainians.
Although political experts are cautious in their forecasts, I think, Tymoshenko stands a better chance for the reason I gave above. The third place will be won by either Tihipko or Yatseniuk. As proven by rating polls, the third place winner will be Tihipko, as Yatseniuk’s rating is rapidly sinking.
Oleksij Holobutsky: Yushchenko has chance to come third
It is apparent that Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will cmpete in the second round, with Yushchenko, Tihipko and Yatseniuk contesting the third place. Yushchenko stands the better chance as he has not used his entire potential. Many Ukrainians were ashamed to name him as their choice during polls as he is a very odious figure. Still, they will support him and he may come third in the final tally. Yushchenko also may get the support of Tyahnybok, Kostenko and other candidates’ voters.
Volodymyr Fesenko: no other candidate but Tymoshenko and Yanukovych in Round 2
It is quite clear that only Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will vie for the highest office. The third place may go to Tihipko or Yushchenko. The third place has a symbolic meaning – it is a claim for the future, for the parliamentary elections. A third-place winner can bargain with Round 1 winner for posts.
Volodymyr Tsybulko: do not discard state officials
In line with the traditional developments and features of this pre-election campaign, there will be Yanukovych and Tymoshenko to compete in Round 2, with third place going to either Tihipko or Yushchenko. Yatseniuk has been losing his liberal electorate hand over fist, with Tihipko effectively netting his voters.
As regards Yushchenko, I wouldn’t underestimate the support which corrupt and Yushchenko-appointed state officials can give him fearing Tymoshenko purges.
Mykhailo Pohrebinsky: business as usual
The present pre-election campaign is like many others. No other candidate can catch up with Tymoshenko and Yanukovych. Yanukovych can win in the first round, with Tihipko and Yatseniuk competing for a third place. I doubt, however, that they can clear a 10% hurdle.
Viktor Nebozhenko: in Round 2 Tymoshenko will outstrip Yanukovych
Tymoshenko and Yanukovych will make it into the runoffs, with Yanukovych leading by 7-10% of the vote. In Round 2 Tymoshenko will not merely catch up with Yanukovych, but will surpass him, winning the presidency. The third place will be contested by Yatseniuk and Tihipko, with Yushchenko being in the 5-th position in the race.