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Political loneliness and one oligarch: how can Poroshenko save his presidency

Petro Poroshenko's team doesn't know how to liquidate a huge separation from Volodymyr Zelensky

Petro Poroshenko's team doesn't know how to liquidate a huge separation from Volodymyr Zelensky Коллаж: Апостроф

In the evening of April 3, presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky called to debate the current head of state Petro Poroshenko. At the same time, Zelensky set a number of conditions – the debate should take place at the stadium, with tens of thousands of spectators, as well as after the passage of both candidates of the test for drug and alcohol dependence. On the night of April 4, Petro Poroshenko accepted the challenge. This helped him to get not only positive responses in social networks, but also skepticism of experts who doubt that the debate will help the President to eliminate the huge gap between Poroshenko and Zelensky that appeared based on the results of the first round of elections.

Let it be stadium

The evening of April 3 turned out to be hot – presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky called to debate his opponent in the second round of elections, the current head of state, Petro Poroshenko.

He listed the conditions to Poroshenko in the video address. So instead of the studio on "Suspilnyi" channel, Volodymyr Zelensky suggested to hold the debates at the NSC "Olimpiyskyi". In addition, the candidates were invited to undergo medical examination for drug and alcohol dependence. This moment was very important for Zelensky himself. After all, after his speech to journalists on election day, the network spread information that the comedian, allegedly, was "under something", and therefore could not connect two words. This list of conditions is not over. "As a sign of respect, at least, to a third of citizens of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko has to tell publicly that he will have debate not with a puppet of the Kremlin or Kolomoyskyi, not with a quilted jacket or the Little Russian, not with the clown or cattle, but with the candidate for the position of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky", - the candidate demanded in a video.

Poroshenko response was to be provided during 24 hours. But the President did not delay time and on the night of April 4 released his video address to Zelensky, in which he accepted the challenge. "The rules of debate are stipulated by the law on presidential elections, read them, please. They can be held on the basis of " Suspilnyi" television channel with the broadcast on all channels for tens of millions of people. These are the established rules. But let it be the stadium. I am waiting for you, Volodymyr Oleksandrovych," Poroshenko agreed.

In Poroshenko's headquarters it was told that video- answer to Zelensky's invitation was recorded almost at once though there try to adhere to the version that it was Zelensky who answered their call, but not vice versa. The text was written by a permanent speechwriter of Poroshenko Oleh Medvedev. "The main idea was discussed. To be precise, it was obvious. In particular, about the conditions of the debates, which are stipulated by the law", - the headquarters commented. It was also reported that Poroshenko would agree to one more condition of Zelensky — carrying out medical examination.

With this statement, the President demonstrated that he was ready to play by the rules of the Zelensky team, to which he lost in the first round with a huge gap. To recap, on the morning of April 4, the CEC counted 100% of the ballots. Volodymyr Zelensky received 30.24% of the votes, and Petro Poroshenko – 15.95%.

On the night of the election, immediately after the announcement of the first results of the vote, the President's staff refused to comment on how they would win in the second round, giving the impression that they do not have such a plan. "Hryniv (Ihor Hryniv - political strategist of the President, - "Apostrophe") fulfilled the main task – he brought Poroshenko in the second round, which was not easy. That is, he absolved himself of the responsibility for the loss in the second round,” informed source told to "Apostrophe". "During this time (till April 21, - "Apostrophe") it is impossible to reach 35%", - the source in fraction "Petro Poroshenko's Block" added.

Political loneliness

Now Poroshenko has to face political loneliness. Sources of "Apostrophe" not under record admit that the Ukrainian oligarchs want changes. Many of them predict that Volodymyr Zelensky will become President after all. "They just don't know what to expect from him," - said the source of "Apostrophe". Misunderstanding of oligarchs is beneficial for the President. He will not be thrown out of the media agenda on major TV channels, which is very important for Poroshenko. But do not expect flattery on TV channels that belong to Dmytro Firtash, Serhii Liovochkin and Ihor Kolomoyskyi. The rest are likely to behave neutrally towards the President.

"To "destroy" Petro Poroshenko, oligarchs Firtash, Kolomoyskyi and Pinchuk may just give the command to their TV channels," - said another source of "Apostrophe". The current President can only be supported by the businessman Rinat Akhmetov. But, according to "Apostrophe", he has not decision on this matter yet.

Almost all the participants of the first round of elections who received high votes refused to support the current President. It concerns also Yuliia Tymoshenko who took the third place. She called not to support any of the finalists of the presidential race, aiming already at parliamentary elections, where she can get good support.

One more participant of the first round - Anatolii Hrytsenko also assured that absolutely does not support the acting President.

At the beginning of the week there was an option in which Petro Poroshenko could be supported by Ihor Smeshko. According to "Apostrophe", Poroshenko and Smeshko even had a meeting. However, Smeshko reported that would take the decision after the first round. Seeing his results (6.04% of support, - "Apostrophe"), Mr. Smeshko decided to go to the parliamentary elections, as he later reported in his Facebook page.

The situation with the candidate from the party "Svoboda" Ruslan Koshulynskyi remains unclear. It is his "right" electorate that could be useful to the current President in view of the similarity of the theses. The position of the candidate from the "Opposition block" Oleksandr Vilkul depends on the oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, who, as it was already mentioned above, has not yet made any decision. Yuriy Boyko will also not support Poroshenko. But this is due, rather, to the fact that the party "Opposition block - For life" expects to take a high percentage in the parliamentary elections, and the support of the incumbent President, against whom the electorate of Boyko votes, will not allow the political force to do this.

In fact, the headquarters are not particularly worried of Poroshenko’s future in case of loss. They expect that instead of a chair of the President he will fight for a place in Parliament. "Winston Churchill was the MP after the position of the Prime Minister", - supporters of the current President draw historical parallels.

Gladiatorial games

However, by the evening of April 1, the mood in the headquarters of Petro Poroshenko became more optimistic. In particular, it was decided to develop the President's Telegram channel with calls to subscribers to promote it among friends. Thus, the headquarters decided to "ride" a topic that is closer to Volodymyr Zelensky — communication with young people, including through social networks.

It was also decided to "hit Zelensky", using various accusations against him and escalating them with their LOO (this tactic, however, did not bring much success in the first round). In addition, the headquarters plans to carry out work on mistakes on regions, for example, in Kharkiv and Odesa regions. It was there, as before the first round "Apostrophe" wrote, that Poroshenko's team had problems. In these areas Poroshenko received not very high result — in Odesa region - 9,6%, and in Kharkiv region - 8,52% of support.

Poroshenko's campaign office says today that they are ready to win, and that gossips on readiness for loss aren't true. But the members of the campaign office try to escape from the answer to the how will achieve a victory, getting off with loud phrases. "I think that people's moods will change by the second round after understanding the consequences of voting in the first round," one of the campaign office members commented to “Apostrophe”. The team is now set to one thing - not to lose the votes of those who have already voted for Poroshenko. They will try to speak with the rest. "We need to communicate with each voter," the source continues. In addition, at the campaign office expects that departed residents of Western Ukraine will return to Ukraine by the second round. Catholic Easter is on the 21sr of April. Therefore, there are prerequisites that many people will return to the country, being unwilling to stay for the weekend, for example, in Poland or Italy. And the campaign office is confident that these voices are in their pocket. Also, new billboards and slogans of Poroshenko were announced next week.

And finally, the debates. Users of social networks, having learnt that Petro Poroshenko accepted the challenge, appreciated this act, comparing the upcoming action with gladiatorial games. Many users are already actively interested in when ticket sale will start and how much they will cost. On Thursday, April 4, speechwriter Oleh Medvedev held a press conference, where he said that on April 5, at 9 am Petro Poroshenko would be ready to undergo examination in the medical center of NSC "Olimpiyskyi".

"We see that everyone wants the debate: our voters, Zelensky's voters, and those who have not yet decided on their choice. Of course, debates are not like this not "Quarter 95", not wits & humour competition and not "Make the comedian laugh". This is a serious conversation between the candidates. We take this very seriously and believe that there should not one debate round. We need at least a few rounds of debates. It is important that the cat in the bag, which is now being sold to the public, got out of the bag, showed himself and his position," - Medvedev said, in particular.

According to political expert Yaroslav Makitra, the debates will not have much impact on the results of the second round. "Those who win do not need debate, because there is a risk of losing some percentage of support. For the same reason Poroshenko refused from debates five years ago. And now they could be favorable first of all to the President. The success of one of the candidates depends on the format of the debate and how Zelensky will be able to hold the blow. But I think that Poroshenko's team pays too much attention to the debates, although this technology is unlikely to radically change the situation, even if the President comes out victorious. After all, part of Zelensky's voters understand that he understands some issues worse, but still they vote for him," he commented to “Apostrophe”.

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