Hot spot

Local elections are under way in the unrecognized DPR and LPR

Local elections are under way in the unrecognized DPR and LPR
Photo: Reuters

Yesterday the self-proclaimed republics in the Donbas region began the elections of the local authorities. Ukrainian experts note the absence of active canvassing of participants in the elections and the fact that voters are confused. Despite this, Moscow promises that on Sunday there will be huge lines of voters at voting stations.

Painting a pretty picture

The elections in the DPR got off to a start in the form of preliminary voting on the Internet. The Central Election Commission of the DPR explained to Capital that online voting is imperative in order that residents beyond the limits of the republic are able to cast their vote. “These votes will be counted into the total results together with traditional voting through ballots that is scheduled for Sunday,” an interlocutor of told the publication. He said it is planned that 3.2 mn ballots will be printed.

Noteworthy, it is planned that the head of the republic and deputies of the people’s council will be elected in the elections to the DPR. While there are three contenders for the post of the head of the self-proclaimed republic, only two civil unions – the Donetsk Republic and Free Donbas will run in the parliamentary elections. The programs of pre-election candidates are not posted on the official site of the CEC and there are only top three candidates on the election lists of each.

In the neighboring LPR access to data about candidates is not available. It is known that three civil movements will run in the elections to the council. In this self-proclaimed republic the elections have also started – mobile groups held voting in a number of provincial towns.

According to information of Coordinator of the Election Programs of the OPORA civilian network in the Luhansk oblast Oleksiy Kormyletskiy, there is no active preparation for the elections on the territory of the LPR. He said that social cards for receiving pensions and discounts in “nationalized” stores were promised to all citizens that come out to vote. “Elections are being held on promises, not through canvassing and where the voting stations are located is unknown. The entire process is reminiscent of the last referendum,” he told Capital, admitting that OPORA is not engaged in the monitoring of the elections in the self-proclaimed republics.

Political analyst and head of the Donetsk-based Committee of Voters of Ukraine Serhiy Tkachenko says representatives of the DPR are proposing to people that have experience in organizing and holding elections to join this process. He said the CEC in the DPR does not know how many voters are left in the region, which is why they cannot specify their number. “I know the head of the CEC Roman Lyagin. He has experience in organizing similar acts. Prior to this, he was a political spin doctor and consulted many parties. The numbers will be drawn as needed. The main task is to show openness and publicity. In other words, to paint a nice picture,” Tkachenko made such a prognosis for Capital.

Noteworthy is that the self-proclaimed republics announced that the elections will be held according to the proportional system with a threshold of 5%.

Russian traces

The U.S. and the European Union have already expressed their concerns about the possibility of holding these elections. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that the holding of these elections poses a threat to the entire peace process in the Donbas region, which began after the Minsk agreements. Despite this, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov officially stated that Russia will recognize the results of the future elections. Russian political analyst and Director of the Institute of Political Studies Sergei Markov told Capital that acknowledgement of the results of the elections is imperative for Russia in order “to continue the peace process in the region”. He said after the elections the LPR and the DPR will have a legitimate government that will represent them in international negotiations, which is precisely why Russia supports this process. “If Kyiv wants territorial integrity, it should offer such rights to the Donbas region which it will agree to. Moscow will not allow for the Donbas region to be turned into a slave state,” Markov noted, specifying that around 80% of the people will turn out at the elections in the region where they will express their freewill.

Russian political spin doctor Stanislav Belkovsky, who is known for his criticism of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, believes that thanks to these elections Russia will strive to legalize the authority of leaders of local separatists, which will allow them to gain a stronghold on the occupied territories. Besides that, the Kremlin will no longer need to acknowledge the self-proclaimed republics. “The election techniques have no meaning whatsoever. Their results were formed in advance by Moscow. Now it must be shown that the elections were held and the authorities are legitimate, even though they are not recognized,” Belkovsky told Capital.

As a reminder, earlier the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on the special status of local self-government in the Donbas region, which envisaged the holding of local elections on December 7.

Comments (0)
In order to post comments, you must login.