And once the members of parliament were sworn in, they usually forgot their hometowns and ended up living fulltime in Kyiv.
Now this year, as in 2002, half of parliament’s 450 seats will go to single-mandate districts. Due to the nation’s highly centralized government, where little decision-making power is allotted to regional and local governments, citizens need their representative in Kyiv. Having election districts requires candidates to devote some time and resources to get elected there. One would think this means listening to voters and trying to address their needs instead of handing out cash and free food staples every five-year election cycle.
Unfortunately, a minimum residency period isn’t required to run in a particular district, meaning, outside candidates who have no connection to a district or its voters can come in, throw cash around, and spend another five years in Kyiv without having to see their constituents.