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Bill on elections in Donetsk Republic passes first reading

July 18, 2015, 14:26 UTC+3

The document was supported by 66 of 69 legislators

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MOSCOW, July 18. /TASS/. Parliament of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) have voted in support for the bill on addendums to the law on local elections, which are to be made for fulfilment of the Minsk agreements, the Donetsk News Agency said on Saturday.

"The document was supported by 66 of 69 legislators," the agency said. "Two abstained from the voting and one voted contra."

The second reading may be rather soon, perhaps in August, the parliament’s head Andrei Purgin said.

"The changes to the legislation are related to implementation of the Package of Measures on fulfilment of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015 and of the protocol to consultations of the Contact Group of September 5, 2015, which regulates organisation of local elections under the special status of Donbass," a special explanatory note reads.

The addendums, for example, read that residents, registered in DPR, but "temporarily away" will enjoy the right of participating in the voting. The republic’s Central Elections Commission "establishes locations and order for the local elections’ voting at foreign polling stations for those registered in the territory, organising elections, and who have to be outside the Donetsk People’s Republic temporarily."

The right to be elected, the addendums read, is granted to citizens of the self-proclaimed republic living there for ten years, including the year prior to the elections.

The local elections "use the election standards of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe," and international observers will be watching the voting, the explaining document reads.

Work at the elections will be forbidden to the mass media, which "violate the principles of organising elections, stipulated by the new law, or which are involved in fuelling the civil conflict, in distribution of calls for violence or of knowingly false information on the situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic."

"First elections of the local legislators are organised at the order of DPR’s head, who announces date and territories of the elections."

DPR and LPR claim Kiev does not fulfil the Minsk agreements as it is stipulated in the Package of Measures. Thus, heads of the republics announced they would comply with the agreements unilaterally and later on announced organisation of local elections. DPR appointed the date for October 18, and LPR - for November 1. Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko, in his turn, said those elections may cause "devastating consequences for the process of de-escalation in Donbass."

Regular talks of the participants in the Trilateral Contact Group on the east Ukrainian settlement comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) were held in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 10-12. Talks of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine) leaders on the Ukrainian issue also ended February 12 in Minsk.

A 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements was adopted at the February talks.

The package in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including enforcement of a special self-rule status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The ceasefire has been repeatedly violated since.

On Friday, the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) leaders discussed on the phone development of the situation in the southeast of Ukraine within the context of implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015. "Particular attention was paid to issues of holding a constitutional reform in Ukraine and organising local elections in Donbass, as well as social and economic restoration of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, an actual blockade of these regions being a major obstacle to this, as the Russian president noted," the Kremlin said.

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