Ukraine Holds Local Elections Except for Separatist RegionsUkraine | October 25, 2015, Sunday // 13:21| views
A Ukrainian voter examines his voting ballots at a polling station in Kiev during local election in Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Local elections are being held on Sunday in most of the country except the separatist regions in the east, with Ukrainians electing members of local councils, chairmen of rural councils and city and town mayors.
A law adopted on July 14 stipulated that local elections shall not be held in the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol and some districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are not controlled by Kiev.
Polling stations are also closed in 91 Ukrainian-controlled towns and villages in Donetsk region and 31 government-controlled settlements in the region of Luhansk for security reasons due to their close proximity to the frontline in Donbas.
Local councils will not be elected in the two separatist regions, while Kiev will elect members of its municipal district councils on 27 March 2016, UNIAN news agency informs.
The results of the elections will show the level of support for the incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, with his party (Petro Poroshenko Bloc) leading in the opinion polls, the Wall Street Journal reports.
However his popularity has dropped in recent months due to the deep economic contraction and perceived lack of progress in the fight against corruption.
A convincing result will help Poroshenko consolidate his power as he plans to amend the constitution in order to devolve more authority to local governments.
Meanwhile, direct flights between Russia and Ukraine are suspended as sanctions initiated by Kiev came into force on Sunday.
Earlier in September, Ukraine decided to close its airspace to all Russian aircraft, including direct and transit flights.
Moscow retaliated with mirror measures, deciding to close its airspace to all Ukrainian aircraft starting from October 25.