Early elections to renew parliament are part of President Petro Poroshenko’s twin strategy for a new start in Ukraine.
While the army fights pro-Russian rebels, he hopes the poll will clear the chamber of its ‘old guard’ who supported ousted Moscow-backed leader Viktor Yanukovych.
Announcing the ballot for October 26, Poroshenko said he saw military victory in the eastern Donbass region and the triumph of democratic, reforming forces in parliament as mutually linked – with snap polls part of his peace plan and dialogue with Donbass a key point.
An early election was expected after the governing coalition collapsed on July 24.
In Ukraine’s capital, views are mixed about what it will achieve.
Kyiv resident Volodymyr said he backed the ballot, arguing that the old parliament failed to reflect the views of those who demonstrated in Independence Square.
But citizens of the eastern regions could disagree, according to fellow Kyiv dweller Dmytro Navrotsky.
“They could claim that the elections are unfair and their votes are not counted. That is why I think it was not a good think for him to dissolve parliament,” he said.
Poroshenko and his pro-Europe government hope to stabilise the situation in the east by October sufficiently to hold a relatively normal election that will earn his administration greater legitimacy and strengthen its hand in dealing with Russia.