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MOSCOW, September 16./TASS/. The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, has signed a decree to hold local elections on October 18.
Zakharchenko’s statement, published on the website of the Donetsk News Agency, said that the first stage of elections to local government bodies would be held in the republic on October 18. "We plan to fully finish the process of local elections in the first half of 2016," he said.
Zakharchenko said that at the first stage, local residents would be electing heads of city and district administrations. The following stages envisaged elections of all other levels — rural, village, etc. He said the decision to hold the elections on that pattern came because the republic was first of all channeling budget means into restoration of infrastructure and social payments, and not into elections.
The self-proclaimed republics of Luhansk and Donetsk (DPR and LPR) accused Kiev of not complying with the commitments envisaged in the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
With that in view, they said they would be doing this unilaterally, setting local elections for October 18 in DPR and November 1 in LPR.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, for his part, said these elections could have "destructive consequences for the process of de-escalation in Donbas". Local elections in Ukraine are scheduled for October 25.
The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The Minsk accords envisage ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas, constitutional reform in Ukraine and the establishment of working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.