An expert survey, titled “100 days of President Volodymyr Zelensky,” conducted from August 19 to August 26 by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Fund was presented in Kyiv on Wednesday. Some 51 experts were included in the study. They said Zelensky’s main success in the first 100 days was the dissolution of the parliament and the further success of the Servant of the People Party in early parliamentary elections, which allowed the formation of a one-party majority.
Experts also noted the president’s foreign policy efforts: first foreign trips, establishing contacts with leaders of the EU countries, Canada, a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among the successes, Zelensky’s initiatives on the peace process in Donbas are also mentioned, along with activation of the Minsk process, efforts to conduct negotiations in the “Normandy format,” the issue of prisoner exchange.
To the president’s failures, experts attribute individual staff appointments and appointments to government posts on the basis of personal acquaintance and loyalty, rather than professionalism. The same applies to the inclusion of people with an ambiguous reputation in the Servant of the People Party list.
Experts also note foreign policy failures – in particular, the lack of efforts to counteract the return of Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the lack of initiative to tighten sanctions against Russia for not fulfilling the decision to release Ukrainian sailors and issuing passports in occupied Donbas.
Zelensky’s style of behavior during public meetings in the regions and the ineffectiveness of the ceasefire in Donbas was already regarded as a failure.
Experts believe that Zelensky’s main task is to confront Russian aggression by all diplomatic methods, including strengthening sanctions against Russia, preserving the “anti-Putin” coalition for the liberation of Donbas and Crimea, as well as Ukrainian political prisoners and captives.
For comparison, experts gave President Petro Poroshenko 6.3 points for his first 100 days, with his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych receiving 2.7 points. Yanukovych fled to Russia in early 2014.
It is unlikely that the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held this year would affect the speed of the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, according to most participants of the CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum held in Kyiv on Friday, March 15.
According to its express poll, 58.33% of the audience backed the above opinion and 62.944% confirmed it during the repeated voting after the information panel.
However, 15.74% and 21.68% of the participants during the repeated voting said that the reforms would accelerate. Some 17.59% (11.91%) and 8.33% (4.2%) respectively expected that the reform would slow down and would be backtracked.
According to Economist of Morgan Stanley investment bank Alina Sliusarchuk, judicial reform is currently the key reform for Ukraine.
“The first question that investors usually ask me is not about the labor market or even about the war in the east of the country. It concerns the fight against corruption, judicial reform, the presence of structural changes. That is, this is the most important issue,” she said at the forum.
Chief Economist at the Dragon Capital investment group Olena Belan said that the intentions and aspirations of the new authorities would very quickly manifest themselves in the macroeconomic situation.
“Regardless of who will be elected, if the new government continues cooperating with the International Monetary Fund, adhering to the correct policy, rather than making populist decisions, there is a potential for reducing the key policy rate by 2 or 3 percentage points,” she said.
Executive Director of Blazer International Foundation Oleh Ustenko has the same opinion. He said that the success of the new government will directly depend on whether they are based on expert opinion.
“I am sure that in Ukraine the situation will really improve if each of the existing candidates who intends to lead the country will follow the instructions prepared by the experts. Of course, the person who is elected to this position is important, but society and international partners are unlikely to allow future head of state to significantly deviate from the course of reform,” he said.
About 300 financial and investment experts took part in the ninth CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum.
The delegation of the National Democratic Institute (U.S.) and deputies of the European Parliament have prepared 51 recommendations to get ready for the 2019 elections in Ukraine, in particular, they recommended Facebook opening an office in Kyiv, regional director of programs of the Eurasian region at the National Democratic Institute Laura Jewett has said.
Facebook should open an office in Ukraine and, together with other digital platforms, unite to fight disinformation … If we are talking about fighting Kremlin interference to ensure stability in the country, then social networks and digital platforms should help Ukraine in these aspirations. All candidates must have equal access to the media. You also need to combat with the negative impact of misinformation. It is necessary to make efforts to combat manifestations of political corruption, including falsification, and to monitor the financing of parties, she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Saturday.
According to Jewett, it is also necessary to adhere to the equal gender representation of women and men.
Candidates’ campaigns should rest on constructive proposals, be aimed at unification, and the media should note that this is political advertising, not information, she explained.
In turn, MEP Dariusz Rosati noted the intensification of misinformation in Ukraine.
Our recommendations are aimed at encouraging the Ukrainian authorities to adopt key reforms in the electoral legislation and beyond, which will help ensure that the elections are fair and transparent, he explained.
MEP Rebecca Harms clarified that the need to introduce a proportional electoral system instead of a mixed one had been discussed at a meeting with Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy.
After the meeting with the CEC (Central Electoral Commission) we recommended the parliament include internally displaced persons and labor migrants in the electoral process, she added.
In addition, the delegation recommended that resources be provided to the CEC for updating technical tools to combat cyber attacks.
General Electric experts will recommend the management of Ukrzaliznytsia Melitopol locomotive depot of the regional branch Prydniprovska Railways as the main base for servicing GE locomotives. The GE employees made such conclusions after the examination and inspection of the depot, Ukrzaliznytsia reported on its website. “The General Electric representatives believe that Melitopol locomotive depot maximally meets the requirements of the company for the center for servicing TE33AC Trident diesel locomotives built for Ukraine,” the report says. During a visit to Melitopol depot, the General Electric representatives inspected the production facilities of the depots, familiarized with the technical equipment and capabilities of the structural unit, its personnel potential.
They also discussed a number of issues that need to be resolved: the allocation of individual warehouse and office space, the determination of the number of personnel for carrying out repairs and technical maintenance of traction rolling stock, employee training, the details of material and technical support, and so on.
As reported, in the beginning of August General Electric Transportation sent the first of 30 GE TE33AC locomotives to Ukraine. The framework agreement between Ukrzaliznytsia and GE envisages a 15-year partnership in updating and modernizing traction rolling stock, the first stage of which is the delivery to Ukrzaliznytsia under the terms of leasing of 30 new GE TE33AC diesel locomotives with a localization level of 10%.