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DONETSK/LUGANSK, October 2. /TASS/. Primary election will be held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) for the first time on Sunday. After the election, lists of candidates for local government positions will be formed in accordance with the Minsk Agreements.
DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko announced primaries back in May, followed by LPR head Igor Plotnitsky.
The DPR head repeatedly stated that since the Minsk Agreements had been reached, Kiev has not yet managed to coordinate the text of the law on election in Donbass with representatives of DPR and LPR. Consequently, the Verkhovna Rada has not adopted the law.
As a result, DPR and LPR had to postpone local election several times while it was initially planned to be held at the end of 2015. The decision to hold primaries was made in the conditions of persisting vagueness of joint work with Kiev on developing a law on local election in Donbass. Zakharchenko said primaries will help "on the one hand, to resolve our own tasks on building a state system, and on the other hand, to show that complaints made by the Ukrainian side are in fact worthless."
"The primaries will become a preliminary stage of elections on our territories, a kind of ‘political drills’ ahead of possible local election," he explained. "We will in fact use the same system and the same procedures which are usually used during elections," he added.
The DPR head stressed that primaries "are in no way in violation of the Minsk Agreements, since they are purely preliminary and are aimed at clarifying the prevailing attitudes and preferences of residents."
LPR’s envoy to the Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in Donbass Vladislav Deinego said that primaries "represent the result of Ukraine’s unconstructive position." "When the representatives of the ‘Normandy Quartet’ set a task for us to prepare Ukrainian legislation in the shortest possible time for holding local election, the Ukrainian side was trying to prolong this process as much as it could," he said. "However, we are not going to stop. We need local government, that’s why it is very important now to see the most popular leaders on our territories. Primaries will be like a test in three administrative-territorial districts," he noted.
In DPR, primaries will be held in nine districts of Donetsk and settlements of Staromikhaylovka, Alexandrovka, Larino, as well as in the town of Mospino. In LPR, primary election will be held in Lugansk, Alexandrovsk and Yubileyny settlement.
Polling stations will be open from 8am until 8pm local time.
Representatives of different countries will monitor the election, including from Finland, Greece, Germany, Italy, South Ossetia, Czech Republic. DPR’s interim election commission registered 1,043 observers for the primaries, including 22 international observers. A total of 147 journalists from 23 media outlets in Donbass, Russia, CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and European Union applied for accreditation in DPR. No Ukrainian media outlets applied for accreditation.
In LPR, foreign journalists and observers from 15 countries, including from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Finland, Poland, Israel, and India, will monitor the process.
Kiev has spoken against primaries in Donbass. After a session of the Contact Group, Kiev’s representative Darya Olifer wrote that "Ukraine expressed concern over organization of the so-called primaries that are being prepared in separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions because such actions are in violation of the Minsk Agreements." Ukraine’s envoy to the Contact Group’s political subgroup Olga Ayvazovskaya described the primaries as "a fake process" which is destructive for the Minsk talks and is aimed at undermining them.