Darth Vader Invasion
For a non-resident observer it may appear that Darth Vader leads the ranks, with videos of the Dark Lord opening his own monument in Odessa surfacing within the tight reality of western TV news on 24 October, the “silence day” before the Ukrainian elections. No other candidate got a mention.
The new monument was created on the basis of an old sculpture of Lenin, which has been remodelled. A W-Fi router was placed in its head, adding another point of a free Internet access in Odessa.
Darth Vader has been getting an unfair share of free publicity, due to its colourful entourage and constant appearances during the election campaign.
His Darth-mobile cortege of modified vehicles, driving through Odessa streets, can be seen in thousands of videos online. The costumes add to a higher visibility and create an easily recognizable brand, with the helmet hiding the face of the person who is today’s Darth Vader.
Other impersonators of the charismatic Star War character, who are also trying to score seats in the Ukrainian elections, get the promotional advantage without moving a finger.
In fact, only in Odessa there are 44 Darth Vaders seeking to become a part of the administrative establishment, among them 1 female and 43 males. The candidates are part of the Darth Vader Bloc, formerly known as the Internet Party.
There is currently a petition in Ukraine, requesting Ukrainian president to make Darth Vader his premier. The online petition on the official presidential website has been signed by over 25,000 people.
Video: Darth Vader opens his monument in Odessa
Darth Vader said at the opening on his own sculpture that the monument is done with the highest quality and in accordance with the latest space technologies. He also mentioned the Wi-Fi router that could be used for free Internet access next to the newest Odessa sight. The sculpture creator Alexander Milov said that Darth Vader was the new hero, and deserved to be recognized. The sign on the monument states: “To the father of the nation from the grateful children and adopted children!”
Peculiar Candidates in Ukraine Elections
Due to high prominence of Star War heroes roaming the streets of Odessa and other Ukrainian cities (Darth Vader is also attempting to become the Mayor of Kiev, Nikolayev, and Kharkov, a different contender for each city), many other colourful candidates found themselves overlooked by the mainstream media.
The boxing champion Mr Ironfist, aka the current Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko, is leading the ratings and has been tipped to retain his powerful position and get through already in the first round of elections on 25 October.
21-year-old model Valeria Prokopenko, who is also attempting to become the Mayor of Odessa, created a storm in the media when her sexy online video surfaced.
The video wasn’t meant to be a part of her election campaign, but had been made for a beauty competition previously, during the modelling career of a young Ukrainian politician.
Video: Odessa Mayoral Candidate Valeria Prokopenko
Model Valeria Prokopenko has a degree from the Odessa Law Academy, and is currently unemployed. She is not affiliated with any parties.
According to the new Ukrainian election legislation, if the party collects more than 5% of votes in its local electorate, its top candidate will get the seat on the council automatically. Secondary candidates will be compared on the basis of percentages of votes they managed to attract, taking in consideration also how high this party’s candidates scored in other districts.
If a party cannot pass 5% quota for the geographic location, its candidates will not get seats on the local council, even if some candidates score the highest in their districts.
The complicated algorithm of weighing the votes is not understood well by the majority of Ukrainians, Liga.net reported. Only 2% of voters understand how the election process works, 23% don’t know anything about it, and further 48% stated that they have heard something about it. Only 12% of the respondents are aware of the new election law that will govern their choices on 25 October.
The doors of polling places open at 8 am and close at 8 pm. Thus, Ukrainians will have 12 hours to choose who will be managing their country on the level of cities and towns.
Depending on their location, voters will get up to 6 bulletins. Kiev residents will get 3 bulletins.
The results of Sunday elections in Ukraine may not be available for a few days, while the bulletins are counted and selection algorithms are applied, checked and re-checked.
Kiev Mayor Elections
To score the mayoral seat in Kiev, one candidate must collect more than 50% of votes, or 20% more votes than the second closest contestant. Otherwise, there will be the second round between the 2 top candidates.
The same scheme is applied in other large electorates.
Most sociologists predict that there will be the second round in Kiev mayoral elections this year, according to Rian.com.ua.
However, they are not united in their opinions who will become the contender to the current Kiev Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who is considered as the strongest nominee.
Interviews by media reporters on 24 October demonstrated that some Kiev residents were still unsure who they were going to vote for.
The local government has to announce election results on or before 4 November 2015.
The voting public will get some perks on the day in the Black Sea metropolis: 25 cafes, restaurants, and hair dressing salons are offering discounts and freebies to people, who can show them a selfie next to an election booth, KP.ua reported.
The voters will be able to get a free coffee or tea, non-alcoholic drinks, or a complimentary trimming of a beard. All they need to do in order to access the benefits is to show their election day selfie on their mobiles to the service personnel.
The incentives were offered by the online social media group “Odessa goes to vote” in order to attract the younger population.
In one of the images, the legendary Odessa Duke, which is commemorated in a sculpture by the seafront, is shown walking with a passport in his hand in order to cast his vote.
The poster poses the question: “Duke is going to vote, what about you?”
Darth Vader is expected to make an appearance in Odessa with his entourage, however, unless he removes his mask to confirm his identity, he will not be allowed to vote. In the past, Kiev’s Darth Vader refused to do that. This year Kiev’s candidate is not intending to create a stir, and may just peacefully arrive to cast his vote without the costume.
With 5% quota required to be achieved within a location in order to secure any seats, Darth Vader Bloc may be the smartest kids on the block to gain the necessary percentages. We only need to wait for a few days to find out, if their bright election strategy paid off.