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KIEV, October 28 (Itar-Tass) – Ukrainians are going to elect a new parliament on Sunday. The elections to Verkhovnaya Rada (parliament) of the 7th convocation are taking place according to the mixed principle: 225 deputies will be elected on party tickets and the same number of deputies will be elected in one-seat constituencies.
The election campaign kicked off on July 30. Representatives of 21 political parties will run for seats in the national parliament. The political heavyweights include the ruling Party of Regions, the united opposition party Batkivshchina and the Communist Party of Ukraine. This time they will be joined by two newcomers such as the UDAR party headed by boxer Vitaly Klichko and “Ukraine Forward!” founded by Natalya Korolevskaya, the former associate of Yulia Timoshenko.
More than 5,200 candidates will contest for 450 seats in parliament, i.e. about 12 candidates per one mandate. However, the number of candidates in some one-seat constituencies is reaching 40.
The political parties are to overcome a five-percent threshold to get seats in parliament. Candidates in single-mandate constituencies will have to gain a simple majority of votes.
The polling stations will be open from 8:00 to 20:00 local time (10:00-22:00 Moscow time). Ukraine switched over to winter time the night before the vote. It means that Ukrainian time is lagging behind the Moscow time by two hours.
Ukraine has been enthusiastic to borrow the latest Russian election trend. More than 32,000 (out of 33,769) polling stations were equipped with web-cameras in a record short period of 30 days. The project cost the Ukrainian budget an impressive sum of about 123.3 million dollars. A huge ‘video panel’, the largest in Ukraine, has been installed at the country’s situation analysis and response center set up ahead of the October 28 parliamentary elections. It is made up of 42 smaller screens each of which will be able to show pictures from any polling station on the day of voting.
Katarina Chalka, the general director of the SITRONICS IT Company, said that it had taken two months to create the unique system covering 32,200 polling stations. The system is designed to increase trust in elections, make the election process more public and open and provide public access to vote monitoring in real time. Chalka added that for the first time Ukraine had used K-band satellite communication systems to transmit data from polling stations to the situation analysis and response center.
A total of 3,797 international observers will monitor the parliamentary elections in Ukraine compared to some 650 international observers who monitored the parliamentary elections in Russia in December last year. The monitors will include representatives of both chambers of the Russian Federal Assembly – the State Duma and the Federation Council as well as representatives of the Russian Central Electoral Commission headed by Vladimir Churov.
The Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission will issue first reports on voting at 12:30 Moscow time. Experts believe that the turnout will be high. The Ukrainians are eager to vote. The turnout at the 2007 snap elections stood at 62.02 percent. But an absolute record was set at the first elections to Verkhovnaya Rada in 1990 when 84.69 percent of voters used their constitutional right and cast their ballots.
The Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission will announce the first preliminary vote results after midnight. Sociologists said they would announce preliminary results of exit polls immediately after the polling stations close at 20:00 (22:00 Moscow time).
Under the law, the Ukrainian Central Electoral Commission is to sum up official election results before November 12. The state-run media has five days to publish them. It means that the composition of the new Ukrainian parliament will become known not later than November 17.