Thursday, May 28, 2009

Poll: Ukraine's President, Viktor Yushchenko's support slumps to below 2%

Recent public opinion Poll held last week has Yushchenko on 1.6% placing him well beyond poll position and out of contention to win a second term of Office. Yushchenko who in 2005 enjoyed 52% support has been on a step decline with his public support dropping even lower then previous polls one month ago when he received 2.2%.

The main issue confronting the President is not if he loses office but when and how?

According to the poll there are only three main contenders to become Ukraine's next Head of State Viktor Yanukovych (24.8%), Yulia Tmochenko (16.6%) and Arseniy Yatseniuk (14.7%).

The Spoiler Effect

All other candidates are out of contention and instead of playing a positive roll on the outcome they have a negative roll minor Candidates such as Petro Symonenko (Communist Party - 3.3%), Volodymyr Lytvyn (Parliamentary Speaker 3.5%) and Victor Yushchenko (President 1.6%) are what is commonly referred to as "Spoiler Candidates"

Under Ukraine’s two round Presidential voting system, where only the top two candidates face off on a second round ballot, spoiler candidates deny voters deny their supporters a direct say in who should be the main candidate for the election. They take away votes form the three highest candidates in the process they act against their won best interest. Its a race to the top and if you can hold back a candidate from getting to the top two then you allow the others to win.

A Better Alternative

A more positive option would be to introduce Preferential voting. One Round – at half the cost of the two round ballot (Saving over 100 million dollars) Minor Candidates instead of having a negative impact on the outcome of the election play a positive role. They can recommend which alternative candidates votes support. Votes for minor candidates are redistributed according to voters nominated preference. If no single candidate has 50% or more votes, the candidate with the least votes is excluded and their votes re-distributed according to the voters nominated preference. This process is continued until one candidate has 50% or more votes.

This means that Yushchenko supporters will have a say on who is their preferred candidate as opposed to wasting their votes. They can decide for example to support Yatseniuk. This could see Yatseniuk out poll Yulia Tymoshenko in which case Yulia Tymoshenko supporters will then decide who will be elected Yatseniuk or Yanukovych.

Under the current two round voting system (At a cost of over 100 millions dollars per round) Yushchenko's supporters will have no say on who the two main candidates will be. Assuming that Yushchenko's 1.6% of voters would support Yatseniuk ahead of Yulia Tymoshenko they would along with Lytvyn and other minor candidate supporters would play a deciding role in the outcome of the election. King makers instead of sacrificial pawns.

The other significant advantage of introducing a preferential voting system is cost (saving over 100 millions dollars by holding only one round of voting and even more important with a one round system the results of the election is known in days as opposed to months.