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Parliamentary elections could be held at more polling stations due to Donbass truce

September 16, 2014, 20:25 UTC+3 KIEV

The Central Election Commission said the organization's representatives will assess for a few days the situation prior to the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada due October 26

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© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Djavakhadze

KIEV, September 16. /ITAR-TASS/. The agreements on a truce in Donbass (the embattled Donetsk and Luhansk regions) will make it possible to ensure voting in parliamentary elections at more polling stations across the territories, which are seeking independence from Ukraine, the head of Ukraine’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said Tuesday.

“We will do everything possible to ensure that elections be held at all polling stations in the country’s east where it will be safe and where it will be possible to ensure strict compliance with the Ukrainian laws and international election standards, where all required conditions will be created for the work of official monitors and media representatives,” CEC head Mikhail Okhendovsky said.

“Besides, agreements on truce and ceasefire certainly give us hope that the Central Election Commission will manage to ensure voting at as many polling stations of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as possible,” he said at a meeting with a delegation of the US National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) led by former senator from the US state of Delaware Edward Kaufman.

The CEC said the organization's representatives will assess for a few days the situation prior to the early elections to the Verkhovna Rada due October 26.

Clashes between Kiev's troops and local militias in the southeast Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) have killed some 3,000 people, according to UN data.

The parties to the conflict agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day. Agreements reached in Minsk also envisioned a special status for Donbass.

The Verkhovna Rada passed a law on Tuesday granting a special self-rule status for certain districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The text of the document was published on the Ukrainian parliament’s website. The special status for Donbass is designed for three years, the Ukrainian leader said.

Under the legislation, the citizens of the eastern Ukrainian regions will have the right to use the Russian language freely.

The law, welcomed by DPR and LPR senior officials, also envisages the establishment of people’s police in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and holding local elections on December 7 in some regional districts. The law stipulates restoration of industrial, transport and other facilities, creating jobs and attracting investment.

The parliament also passed a law on amnesty for participants of hostilities in Ukraine’s war-torn eastern regions except for those who committed serious crimes.

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