Ukraine’s rebels plan to hold local polls in Lugansk

Kiev, (IANS) The leadership of the self-proclaimed “Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR)” in eastern Ukraine announced on Monday that they are planning to hold local elections in their region in November.

“I call the elections to choose the heads of cities and districts of the ‘LNR’ on November 1, 2015,” Igor Plotnytsky, the self-styled leader of the republic, said in a statement published by the insurgent-run Lugansk information centre, Xinhua reported.

He said the leadership of the republic decided to hold local elections without Kiev’s supervision as the Ukrainian government “has not fulfilled its obligations under the Minsk deal”.

“Until now, the special status of the ‘LNR’ has not been defined; the law on the special status is still not in place; and the blockade of the ‘LNR’ intensifies with each passing day,” Plotnytsky said.

Last week, the leadership of pro-independence insurgents in Donetsk region said they would hold local elections on October 18.

In mid-May, rebels in Lugansk and Donetsk said they are ready to hold elections under the Ukrainian law if certain conditions are met by Kiev.

Finishing of the government’s military operation in eastern regions, resuming benefit payments to people in the rebel-held areas and holding constitutional reform on decentralisation in Ukraine were the main insurgent requirements.

Holding local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law and under international observation is a requirement set by the government for eastern regions to acquire the “special status” under the Minsk ceasefire agreement, which took effect in mid-February.

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