Eastern Ukraine to Postpone Local Elections for Next Year

Ukraine | October 3, 2015, Saturday // 11:54|  views

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and French President Francois Hollande (R) leave a press conference following a summit on Ukraine in Paris, France, October 02, 2015. EPA/BGNES

Local elections in Ukraine's Donbass region will be held in 2016 instead of this year, French President Francois Hollande has said.

The announcement has come after a "Normandy Four" summit between the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia, the website Lenta.ru reports.

Initially, the vote was to be held later in October, alongside regular regional elections on October 25, but separatists who control parts of Donbass previously announced they were intending to hold a vote on October 18.

At the Paris meeting held Friday, Hollande called on Donbass rebels to respect the Minsk agreement, meaning the vote should not be organized separately and exclusively by the rebels.

Radio Free Europe quotes Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel as saying the country needs new electoral law, something on which they explained all four leaders agreed.

In the words of Merkel, elections have to take place in "a coordinated fashion between the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk and the Ukrainian government."

Latest developments follow an agreement this week between Kiev and rebels that all light weapons will be withdrawn between the buffer zone dividing their forces.

Tuesday's deal followed a month of ceasefire secured on September 1 that observers say has largely been in place.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called on Kiev to allow a monitoring mission to be extended to the entire territory if Ukraine.

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Tags: Russia, Ukraine, Normandy four, Donbass, rebels, separatists, light arms, ceasefire, local elections, Angela Merkel, Merkel, francois hollande, Hollande, Minsk agreement


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