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Bears roam streets, Cossack girls compete for longest braid ahead of polls

October 27, 2012, 21:00 UTC+3

The parliamentary elections in Ukraine will be held on October 28

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KIEV, October 27 (Itar-Tass) —— There is day of silence in Ukraine ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday, October 28.

Cleaning services were busy removing leaflets and posters from the streets of cities and villages during last night. In Kiev they even called on the candidates to join in and help clean the city of election propaganda materials, but one of them responded. They might have been discouraged by an onset of cold weather that had swept the country.

Police and the Emergencies Ministry have been put on high alert. The secretariat of the human rights commissioner in the parliament said that the ombudsman would have a regular working day on October 28 as will the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, voters are enjoying a day off: parents are their children are taking strolls in Kiev’s main Independence Square. The authorities have even announced an autumn break in schools a week earlier than normal as schools often serve as polling stations during different elections.

One could watch a funny scene in the square where a costumed bear would take a pull on a cigarette from time to times, puffing through the fur. The bear eagerly made itself available for anyone who wished to be photographed with it as none of the political parties in Ukraine use the bear as its symbol. However it did attract the attention of international observers who will monitor the elections. Souvenir trade went brisker with their appearance in the square.

Lots of premieres, holidays and other events are scheduled in Kiev for Saturday. One is to mark an anniversary of the liberation of the city from Nazi invaders during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War. Festivities for war veterans will be organised on Sunday.

Cossack girls are competing for the longest plait while the owner of the best-known braid is not running in the elections and is locked away in a Kharkov jail. The State Penitentiary Service of Ukraine has said, however, that incarcerated politicians would be able to vote too at 188 specially organised polling stations. A total of 146,000 such prison inmates will be able to exercise their right to vote.

The parliamentary elections in Ukraine will be held on October 28 using a mixed system: 225 deputies will be elected from parties and as many, 225, will run in single-mandate districts.



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