Ukraine Votes for Parliament amid Ongoing Donbass Tensions

Ukraine | October 26, 2014, Sunday // 12:50|  views

Ukrainians inspect information about candidates at a polling station, during the parliamentary elections in Kiev, Ukraine, 26 October 2014. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Ukraine is holding on Sunday early elections for a new Parliament called by President Petro Poroshenko.

About 33 million Ukrainians are eligible to vote in 32 000 polling stations across the country.

A total of 29 political entities are running for seats in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's Parliament.

Tensions remain in the country's Donbass region as some polling stations have not opened in a number of towns and villages partially or fully controlled by pro-Russian self-proclaimed authorities.

Some three million people in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbass, where insurgents are still refusing to recognize the full authority of Kiev despite a fragile ceasefire signed in September.  

In areas near the southeastern border with Russia, rebels earlier announced their plans to hold their own poll on November 2.

In self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, leaflets also call on locals not to fall to "the propaganda of the Kiev junta", warning everyone who decides to vote will be prosecuted under martial law.

The fly-sheets also contain death threats to members of electoral commissions.

The Poroshenko bloc, set up by the President, is expected to win the snap poll for the 450 seats in Ukraine's Parliament.

Poroshenko himself, who is currently in the Donbass according to his own twitter account, earlier announced a coalition agreement draft project had already been prepared and included the so-called "Strategy 2020", under which Ukraine is to apply for EU membership in 2020.

The President, who took up office in June after early presidential elections, has maintained he needs the new vote to seek further support for his pro-EU agenda.

He has not yet specified the exact Donbass location he is visiting.

The People's Front of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov, the nationalist Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko and the Fatherland Party of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko are also strong contenders.

Sunday's poll is being monitored by 2321 international observers, and some 80 000 police officers are providing its security.

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Tags: Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Donetsk, Luhansk, Donbass, early elections, snap poll, Verkhovna Rada, People's Front, Radical Party, Fatherland Party, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Yulia Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Turchynov, Oleh Lyashko, Luhansk People's Republic, pro-Russian, Poroshenko bloc


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