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Donbass militia leader announces autumn primaries in Donetsk

May 23, 2016, 13:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A source close to Donbass militia leader Zakharchenko said the decision to hold primaries was made after the meeting with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov on May 22

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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 23. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) will hold primaries in autumn to nominate candidates for participation in local election, Donbass militia leader Alexander Zakharchenko said on Monday.

"During primaries, residents of DPR’s capital will choose the most deserving candidates for participation in local election envisaged by the Minsk Agreements," Donetsk News Agency quoted Zakharchenko as saying. He added that the election may take place in the end of 2016 or in the first half of 2017.

"Kiev does not want election, and is afraid of it. (Ukrainian President Petro) Poroshenko knows that his agents will lose it, that’s why he’s playing for time so that the election does not take place," he went on. "However, sooner or later Americans and Europeans will make him implement Minsk-2. That’s why we should be completely ready for an open election campaign with any number of international observers. We need primaries to choose the strongest candidates," the DPR head added.

Donetsk News Agency reported earlier, citing a source close to Zakharchenko, that the decision to hold primaries was made after the DPR head met with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov. The meeting took place in Donetsk on Sunday. Zakharchenko put forward the idea to hold primaries. Surkov supported the idea and said he will recommend it to the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) as well.

Zakharchenko said primaries will be held in September and October. If they prove successful in Donetsk, they will also be organized in other large DPR cities, he added. Talking about organizing primaries, the DPR head categorically denied the possibility of deploying an international armed mission in Donbass for ensuring security. "DPR’s Interior Ministry will fully guarantee security of election committees, candidates, voters, as well as routes of internally displaced persons who will come to take part in the election, journalists, observers, when it comes to the election," he noted.

"The international armed mission is promoted by Poroshenko through Americans in order to occupy us under the guise of election. I warn once again - we will consider any foreign armed mission as an aggression against DPR. Such mission will be attacked by our armed forces at its first attempt to enter our territory," the DPR head concluded.

Primaries in Donbass

DPR's decision to hold primaries serves as evidence that "they are very serious and responsible about implementing the Minsk Agreements," Russian political analyst Alexey Chesnakov told TASS on Monday. 

"Zakharchenko obviously proceeds from the fact that the election monitored by OSCE’s ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) will definitely take place," Chesnakov said. "If he thought differently, he would have not put forward such idea as primaries."


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