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Voter turnout in Crimean referendum highest ever since Ukraine’s independence – observers

March 16, 2014, 16:13 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
Russia’s observer at the referendum from the Civic Chamber, Sergei Markov, is certain that the eventual turnout in the referendum will be the highest ever in Crimea’s recent history as part of Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

SIMFEROPOL, March 16. /ITAR-TASS/. The turnout in Crimea’s referendum on the future of the peninsula reached 44.27 % of those eligible to vote (670,000) at Sunday noon local time (14:00 Moscow time), the chief of the Crimean legislature’s commission for holding the referendum, Mikhail Malyshev, has said.

The highest turnouts at the moment were in Kerch - 64.3 %, and in Armyansk, 73.1 %.

Russia’s observer at the referendum from the Civic Chamber, Sergei Markov, is certain that the eventual turnout in the referendum will be the highest ever in Crimea’s recent history as part of Ukraine.

Markov said the people of Crimea took a very responsible attitude to the plebiscite.

“People are coming from Russia and other regions to express their opinion regarding the future of the peninsula,” he said.

Markov has already been to Yalta and Foros to say afterwards that there have been no violations so far.

“Crimea has been getting ready for this referendum for the past twenty years,” Markov said, adding that it was one of the reasons for good organization carried out within the tightest deadlines.

Another Russian monitor, Maksim Grigoryev, a co-chairman of the Civic Chamber’s working group for public control of the electoral process, Maksim Grigoriev, has pointed to the enormous enthusiasm of Crimea’s people.

“The voters are going to the polling stations as if it were a matter of life or death,” he said, adding that even very old men and women and people with disabilities who find it very hard just to get outdoors, go and vote.

“The referendum is proceeding very calmly. Electoral commissions are efficient and there have been no violations,” Grigoriev said, adding that the international monitors he had a quick word earlier in the day shared his point of view.

The polling stations are scheduled to close tonight at 20:00 local time (22:00 Moscow time).

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