Ukraine failed to hold Presidential election in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk
Poroshenko is winning the presidential election in the first round of voting, having secured more than 50% of votes, several exit polls show. Some 55.9% of voters have cast their ballots and local TV channels claims the he has gathered 57.3% support. Tymoshenko won around 13% of the vote in exit polls results.
Kiev: Ukraine has failed to hold Presidential election in Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian media claims that Poroshenko is winning presidential race with over 50% votes so leaving no chance for anybody for runoff elections.
Polling stations at western Ukraine showed election festivity from 8.00 morning and people wearing traditional embroidered shirts go to the polling stations with their children to cast their vote for one of the candidates. While there was no voting held in Crimea and less than 10% in Donetsk that has announced separation from Ukraine.
Immigrants from the Crimea and Eastern Ukraine actively vote at polling stations in the Lviv region, Crimean Tatars also vote in the Kherson region.
There are 21 candidates for the slot of new President of Ukraine. Main competitors, according to recent opinion polls, are ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (leader of the largest party “Fatherland” and billionaire Poroshenko.
Preliminary election results may not be known in the morning on Monday, May 26. Chief Election Commission is obliged to establish the final results of the vote until June 4. If none of the candidates will not be able to win more than half of the votes in the first round (50% of total polled votes) , the CEC shall announce Runoff Election that will take place on June 15.
Sunday’s ballot took place despite deadly violence in the sprawling eastern regions that form Ukraine’s industrial heartland, where pro-Russia separatist have seized government buildings and announced separation from Ukraine through referendums.
According to the Donetsk Regional State Administration, 100% of the sites were opened in the Alexander area and in Dimitrov. At 8.45 in the Donetsk region voting started on 308 sites of 2430, according to the temporary site of the Donetsk Regional State Administration. However Russian media denied these reports and said there was no voting in any of polling stations of Donetsk. The rebels, who have declared two sprawling regions of Donetsk and Luhansk independent, have said they wouldn’t allow the vote, which they described as an election in “a neighboring country.” They have seized or blocked election offices and intimidated election officials and voters. Ukrainian authorities claimed only 20 percent of polling stations in the two restive eastern regions were working. Just 16 percent of the 3.3 million people in Donetsk region had access to a place to vote. No polls were open in the regional capital, a city of a million, where streets were largely empty with people afraid to venture outdoors. But independent sources dispelled this claim and even independent Ukrainian media confirmed that eastern cities were turned into ghost towns where armed separatist fighters kept polling stations shut.
Russian-speaking eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, where pro-Moscow fighters have proclaimed independent “people’s republics”, men with guns succeeded in blocking voting process. There was no voting held in Crimea, which Russia annexed in March.
European election monitors have largely pulled out of the Donetsk region for their own safety, citing a campaign of “terror” by the pro-Russian separatists against Ukrainian electoral officials.
Even Ukrainian soldiers sent to assert the government’s authority in the east said they had no place to vote.
“Our superiors promised we would be able to vote here but it turns out that is not so. This is a violation of my rights, it’s ridiculous – I am here to safeguard an election in which I cannot vote,” said Ivan Satsuk, a soldier from the Kiev region sent to man a roadblock near the eastern port of Mariupol.
Washington and its EU allies are concerned that while Russia may accept the election result, it may use influence in eastern Ukraine to undermine the new president’s authority and keep the country beholden to Moscow. Russian officials have questioned the value of holding the vote when the east is in “civil war”.