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LUHANSK, October 31. /TASS/. The last day of the election race in the self-proclaimed unrecognized Luhansk People’s Republic has come to an end. Saturday, November 1, has been declared ‘a day of silence’.
Elections of the president and deputies of the People’s Assembly, or republican legislature, will be held on Sunday. The four candidates for presidency and the public movements Peace for Luhanshchina, the Luhansk Economic Union, and the Popular Union have presented their programmes to the voters, tailoring their election campaigns to a very brief period of time at their disposal.
Despite the notable difference in the candidates’ platforms, all the political forces of the young republic seek to meet the voters’ main requirement in this election, which is to bring peace to Luhanshchina (the Lugansk region in Russian and Ukrainian).
Acting President Igor Plotsnitsky and his opponents in the elections race - Health Minister Larissa Airapetian, trade union federation leader Oleg Akimov, and businessman Viktor Penner definitively view the future of their region outside Ukraine. All of the stress Kiev will have to communicate with the government with Luhansk on the same terms it communicates with official partners.
The strategies they propose for achieving the objective reveal marked differences, however. While the Peace to Luhanshchina movement, the electoral list of which is led by Plotnitsky, makes emphasis on a full rehabilitation of the social sphere. In contrast, the Lugansk Economic Union led by Akimov proposes to focus on the revival of manufacturing and on bringing the versatile products of the Luhansk region to foreign markets - in the first place those of Russia and the CIS.
Airapetian plans to make the sphere of public health transparent “contrary to what is was in the past” (in Ukraine). She says very openly they would like to see the Luhansk People’s Republic to maintain the closest possible relations with Russia.
The latter is the wish of at least a half of residents of the self-proclaimed republic. Throughout the last week of the election campaign, the candidates have had numerous canvasses.
While Airapetian was actively meeting with medical workers, Akimov concentrated his efforts on workers and businessmen. Plotnitsky found time for appearing before students and staff of the East-Ukrainian National University and also met with repair workers.
He asked the students to “to take part in all the processes unfolding in the republic.”
“Believe me, we want to change our life for the better and we know for sure that this will be impossible without you and without popular support,” Plotnitsky said. “If you are inactive, we’ll lose pace, too, in spite of all the motion we’re making now. We won’t be able to pull the cart that’s stuck in the mire now.”
But residents of Luhansk cannot be suspected of treating the destiny of their republic lackadaisically. All the rank-and-file people polled by TASS said they would go to the polls.
“It’s a must for us,” the correspondent heard from a woman walking to a station where potable water is distributed. “Others should recognize us as a full-fledged state.