Democracy in Donetsk?

Submitted by Matthew on 15 October, 2014 - 11:11 Author: Dale Street

The Central Election Commission (CEC) of the "Donetsk People’s Republic" (DPR) has published a list of the organisations which will not be allowed to participate in the DPR elections on 2 November.

Pavel Gubarev’s "Novorossiya" is among those excluded, although Gubarev is the former "People’s Governor of Donetsk Region" and a regular of Moscow’s television studios.

According to Roman Lyagin, head of the CEC:

"Novorossiya has not held a conference. They say that they have, but they have failed to inform us about it. Now it is too late to do anything about it, as the final date for submitting documentation was 10 October."

At the moment Gubarev has more important concerns. He is currently fighting for his life after an attempted assassination on 12 October.

Oplot (closely linked to the Donbas oligarch Rinat Akhmetov) and United Russia (which appears to be an unauthorized attempt to create a Ukrainian counterpart to the ruling party in Russia) are excluded. So are all organisations which oppose separatism and support a united Ukraine.

The "Donetsk Republic" (the creation of current DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko and current DPR Deputy Speaker Andrei Purgin), "Popular-Liberation Movement of the Donbas", and "Free Donbas" will be allowed to stand candidates.

According to Yekaterina Gubareva, spouse of the injured Pavel Gubarev and now acting head of the "Novorossiya" party, they will take part in the elections as part of the "Free Donbas" bloc.

The application to stand candidates by the recently formed Communist Party of the Donetsk People’s Republic is still under consideration. Led by Boris Litvinov, President of the Supreme Soviet of the DPR, the new party is calling for a vote for Zacharchenko for the post of head of the DPR.

According to CEC chief Lyagin:

"Alexander Zakharchenko is the only [candidate for head of the DPR] who has provided the (required number of) signatures. Yuri Sivokonenko (a former Berkut officer) is collecting signatures. And another four have announced their participation."

But the deadline for nominations has already passed. Oleg Tsarov, a former member of the Ukrainian Parliament for the Party of the Regions who subsequently sided with the separatists and became Speaker of the Parliament of Novorossiya, has fallen foul of the requirement that all candidates have to have resided on the territory of the DPR for at least five years.

The CEC had asked the "Supreme Soviet" of the DPR to postpone the elections until 9 November, on the grounds that damage to intended polling stations from the military conflict meant that more time was needed to prepare for the elections. But the "Supreme Soviet" turned down its request.

DPR representatives say in advance that they expect a low turnout on 2 November. Tens of thousands of voters have fled the DPR. At most 50% of the remaining electorate are expected to vote.

But turnout will be increased by the DPR authorities’ decision to extend the franchise to all foreigners who have joined the separatist armed forces.

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