The election campaign headquarters of Ukraine’s incumbent President Petro Poroshenko no longer believes its candidate can win and is ceasing its efforts, an inside source told Ukrainian news outlet LB.ua.
In an article by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Sonia Koshkina, the situation ahead of the second round of voting is described as candidate Volodymyr Zelensky’s blatant mockery of topics that should be treated seriously, constructively and in depth, whereas Poroshenko has launched himself into an aggressive attack. But it is too late for anything to help Poroshenko.
“The gap between the favorites – in absolute figures – is 2.7 million votes. Objectively, such a significant gap cannot be eliminated in three weeks. At most, it can be reduced (with a view to the upcoming parliamentary elections), but even then, only insignificantly,” the article states.
The article’s sources claim that, although they did not expect such results in the first round, after the initial shock, they accepted the failure with relative equanimity.
“In the second round, Petro will gain more [votes] in absolute figures, but the percentage gap is unlikely to shrink much. Furthermore, if we were to beat Zelensky, it would have to be done with a significant lead. 55 to 45, for example. But definitely not 51 to 49 – many would struggle to believe, and thus to accept that,” one of the insiders explained.
Volunteer activity is already being wrapped up, and the team members are preparing to leave their offices and even planning a holiday.
As for short-term priorities, they have three: to reduce the gap in the second round, prepare for parliamentary elections, and unite their support in the Verkhovna Rada, in order to prevent it from disbanding prematurely.
Several people in Poroshenko’s entourage believe that he should focus on diplomacy, even if he does not obtain any official position in the new government.
“He knows, is capable, and loves it (diplomacy). He is effective at it. Even for the country, there will definitely be a benefit,” a source commented.
Recent opinion polls have shown that the actor Volodymyr Zelensky is likely to beat incumbent Poroshenko by a significant margin in the second round of presidential elections.