Ukraine on Sunday will hold its first legislative elections since clashes erupted last April between government forces and pro-Russia separatists, who will boycott the vote in the eastern provinces they hold. Kiev has said the boycott in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk will not affect the legitimacy of the process. Before the conflict started, around 6.5 million people lived in the region, around 15 percent of the total population. An estimated one million people have fled the area and sought refuge in neighboring Russia or other Ukrainian regions because of the fighting. “Here, there will be no elections,” said Andrei Purguin, deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Donetsk and Lugansk are scheduled to choose their own parliaments and leaders in a separate election scheduled for November 2. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stressed the importance of full transparency in the October 26 elections in areas controlled by Kiev in the two rebel regions.
The presence of large Ukrainian military units in the area, which is under an undeclared state of emergency, casts a shadow over the voting process there.
Since the election of Poroshenko on May 25, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have made inroads in various rebel areas.
In the May poll the turnout in Lugansk and Donetsk, was 4.70 and 3.22 percent respectively out of a total of around five million registered voters, according to Kiev’s Central Electoral Committee.
Now the turnout is expected to increase, after Kiev took control of 50 percent of rural areas, although the main cities remain in the hands of the separatists.