DONETSK, November 3. /TASS/. The current prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, who is leading Sunday’s polls, has thanked voters for trust and promised to restore economy and bring peace to the republic.
With over 50% of the votes counted, Zakharchenko is winning with more than 70%, followed by Alexander Kofman and Yuri Sivokonenko. The Donetsk Republic movement, which Zakharchenko heads, is also seen leading the parliamentary polls with over 60% of the votes. Its closest rival, Free Donbass, has secured 25% of the votes.
The head of DPR’s Central Election Commission, Roman Lyagin, said over 1 million voters took part in the elections.
“Today we witnessed how our citizens, the people of the Donetsk People’s Republic, made their free choice in favor of independence and prosperity,” Zakharchenko said after the first results of the vote were announced.
“I express gratitude to my fellow countrymen for the credit of trust they gave me and for their support. I treat this with responsibility,” he said.
Sunday’s elections were marked by the atmosphere of holiday as voters lined up to choose the head of the republic and representatives of the local parliament. Many people came with children and held balloons.
“We have never seen such great numbers of people at elections,” one of the voters said. “Look, how many people have come. No one has forced anyone. It’s a pleasure,” another voter said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said Moscow respects the will expression of citizens in southeastern Ukraine, stressing that this is a step towards the settlement of the crisis in the country.
EU’s new foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said Brussels considers Sunday’s elections as illegitimate and will not recognize their results.