Interfax reports that the opposition parties in Ukraine have agreed to a ‘one constituency – one candidate’ principle, under which they will not compete against one another in the single-seat districts.
Although the headline of the story says the parties have agreed to “form single list”, that may not be correct. They may still be presenting separate party lists for the seats allocated by proportional representation, although it is not clear.
The behavior in the single-seat constituencies is, however, precisely what we would anticipate under the MMM system that is being restored this year. Because (presumably) half the seats will be allocated to the plurality winner in each of (225) single-seat districts, and because the list-PR seats are not compensatory, parties that have some common interests would have a strong incentive to form a pre-electoral coalition. In doing so, they would be following the precedent of parties in Japan’s and Hungary’s MMM systems, which joined into two blocs to avoid the “spoiler” problem. (In those cases, the parties generally have presented separate party lists.)
For the 2006 and 2007 legislative elections, Ukraine used an exclusively closed-list PR system in one nationwide district. Prior to that, it had been MMM for 2002 and 1998. At that time, there was little coordination in the single-seat districts, many of which were won by non-party candidates. Now the party system is much more developed–aided in large part by the two PR elections.
The news story also indicates that the parties promise they would form a government together if they won a majority jointly. If they did so, it would lead to a potentially lengthy case of cohabitation, as the presidency is not up for election till 2015.
The legislative elections are set for 28 October.
(There are several earlier entries here on Ukraine’s elections and the former electoral system. Just click the country name at the top, and go a-scrolling.)