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Ukraine elections: heating as factor of election struggle

October 23, 2014, 18:15 UTC+3 KIEV
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that the authorities had been forced to postpone the start of the heating season because of the desperate economic situation
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

KIEV, October 23 /TASS/. The start of Ukraine’s cold season has made the heating problem a vital factor in the struggle for votes. With snap parliamentary elections being just two days away, 20% of Ukrainians are still undecided for whom they are going to vote, Ukraine’s Gorshenin Institute sociological service reports.

These votes can play a vital role in determining the elections’ outcome.

Temperatures in Ukraine have dropped sharply by 10 degrees Celsius to reach the zero mark in recent days. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said live on air that the authorities had been forced to postpone the start of the heating season because of the desperate economic situation. Under Ukrainian laws, heating can be turned on if temperatures stay as low as minus 8 degrees Centigrade for three days, Yatsenyuk said. That, of course, was a slip of the tongue. Naturally, the prime minister meant plus eight degrees Celsius.

This way or the other, Yatsenyuk’s remark did not add to his popularity. The National Botanical Garden in Kiev has announced it is cutting the number of orchard houses and is putting its collection of tropical plants on sale.

The Ukrainian authorities have ordered the utilities sector to turn on winter heating not later than the Election Day on October 26. A ship bringing 75,000 tons of coal from South Africa has arrived in the Ukrainian port of Ilyichevsk. Ukraine is planning to buy almost a million tons of coal from South Africa to replace the coal from the Donbass region, most of which is no longer under Kiev’s control.

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