Kataryna Wolczuk, a senior lecturer at the University of Birmingham's Center for Russian and East European Studies, says that "half of the deputies will be
elected in the single-mandate districts and about half of them are independent."
"Some are representing political parties. However, exactly how those deputies elected in single-mandate districts are going to align themselves or position
themselves in the new parliament is yet to be seen," Wolczuk says.
Traditionally, many of those running nominally as independents in the single-mandate districts end up supporting the ruling party. Those districts were
abandoned after the 2004 Orange Revolution -- but reinstated with legislation initiated by the Party of Regions in 2011.
And as Elena Gnedina, an analyst with a London-based risk consultancy, explains, this gives the ruling party an advantage.
"There will be 225 deputies elected [in single-mandate districts, many of them] as independents, and many are afraid these people will join with the Party
of Regions and the Communist Party and build a strong faction in the parliament. This is quite possible and this has happened before in Ukraine. In the
1998 and 2002 elections that is what decidedly happened," Gnedina says.
Results from the single-mandate districts are expected later in the week.
Additionally, analysts expect the Party of Regions to attempt to relentlessly entice, persuade, and cajole lawmakers from other parties to switch to their
This was one way the Party of Regions buttressed their faction after the 2007 parliamentary elections when they won 34.37 percent of the vote followed by
Tymoshenko's Batkivshchina, which took 30.71 percent, former President Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine with 14.15 percent, and the Communist Party with
And analyst Wolczuk says the ruling party should again have ample opportunity to encourage defections.
"Batkivshchina (Fatherland), they are a bit more tried and tested, whereas we are not sure about Udar. It is known that there are several businesspeople on
their party list and businesspeople tend to be vulnerable once in parliament because their business may be used against them to persuade them to join the
ruling party's coalition," Wolczuk says.
How much the Party of Regions is able to augment its number is seats will be critical in determining whether -- together with support from the Communists
-- they will achieve the two-thirds working majority of 300 seats needed to amend the constitution.
Staying In Power
Achieving a working "constitutional majority," according to Olga Shumylo-Tapiola, a visiting scholar with the Carnegie Endowment-Europe in Brussels, is
"the aim of the Party of Regions." Such a majority, she says, would enable Yanukovych virtually to guarantee himself a second term and, very likely,
hand-pick a successor.