2 October 2016, 13:14


LPR primaries USA observer says his concerns completely answered as 30 thousand cast ballots

No violations of democratic standards in the LPR primaries, said observer from the USA Patric Lancaster speaking at a briefing in Lugansk Media Center.

The primaries are monitored by observers from a total of more than 15 countries. As of 12 p.m. over 30 thousand registered voters cast their votes. The Interim Vote Commission (IVC) said that a more precise tally is to be announced at the next briefing at Lugansk Media Center.

Addressing the turnout, he said that "it was a bit slow at first, but then more and more started coming. It was a very interesting process to see."

"We went to five locations, two in the center of Lugansk, one in Vergunka, one in Aleksandrovsk and Yubileiniy. Throughout the time we had a chance to speak to the residents that were coming to vote, asking why they were voting, and they were saying simply it’s their city where they were born, they want to have a choice to elect their own leaders," the observer told journalists.

"The process itself seemed to be very well planned, a lot of safeguards in place," he noted, "everyone who were disabled or elderly were able to have opportunity to vote by someone who could bring the voting documents to them," he explained.

"At the beginning of the morning I had two concerns that I had to clarify through the different polling stations," Lancaster added.

"The first one - it wasn’t completely clear to me until I asked directors of polling stations - that was how they were guaranteeing or what was the process in place not to have a possibility of one person voting twice through the day. And everyone at the polling stations that we attended I asked the same question, to directors or commission leaders of the stations. There’s a process that they go through the list and check, they say it’s completely impossible for one person to vote twice," Lancaster assured.

"The second question I had, had to do with how the ballot boxes were sealed, I noticed that each polling station had slightly different seals on them. As I asked the reps of primaries commission, they informed there is no issue to seals to the boxes, there are certain guidelines to what to be on, including a stamp, commission stamp, and signature of the director on polling boxes, when those guidelines are in place they are sealed correctly and were sealed in the morning before elections," he told journalists.

"By the end of the morning, by the end of our trip, the process was clear to me, that it was very professionally run and all the commissions representatives had the same information given to them, and it was the same across the board, it is a very good process of the primaries, all my concerns were completely answered."

A total of 80 polling stations opened today at 8 a.m. in 54 wards in Lugansk, Aleksandrovsk and Yubileiniy, its residents choosing candidates to local authorities positions, with 720 volunteers facilitating the work of polling stations commissions (PSC). The PSCs will pass turnout data to local vote commissions (LVC) every two hours, LVCs will hand it over to the IVC, and its members will inform journalists.

LPR Head Igor Plotnitskiy earlier urged people to actively participate in primaries to determine opinion leaders. He has already cast his vote, saying he is choosing peace and future.

LPR Head on July, 4th announced the preliminary public voting (primaries) for the candidates to local authorities. Earlier he declared that the Republic would hold local elections if Kiev, even pressured by the West, refused to fulfill the political part of the Minsk agreements, which stipulates holding local elections in Donbass.

"Today our society shows an explicit intention to hold local elections. We can not wait forever for Kiev to hear the demands of our people. I have decided to support this initiative that will give us an opportunity to test candidates and see the public opinion," Plotnitskiy said.

He guaranteed to all the participants transparent and fair procedures fully compliant with democratic, moral principles and OSCE standards.

"Ukraine election law does not permit self-nomination for party members, while in the Republic it is possible to nominate oneself, it is not prohibited. Time will show whom our people choose. But we shall never welcome those political forces that supported "anti-terrorst operation" (ATO) directly or indirectly, or by omission or powerlessness," LPR head stated.

The representatives of LPR major civil movements, Mir Luganshchine (Peace to Lugansk) and Lugansk Economic Union, have declared full support to the voting.

The public assemblies were held in 14 LPR towns, each to elect 7 delegates to the General meeting. The General meeting on July, 24th appointed 15 members to the Interim Vote Commission (IVC) that defines voting districts, members of local territorial and district commissions, work out candidate nomination procedure, etc. LPR's justice minister Sergey Kozjakov was elected to head the IVC. The vote steering committee on July, 26th decided to hold the primaries in Lugansk, town of Aleksandrovsk and Yubileyniy settlement on October, 2nd.

IVC registered 234 candidates for the primaries, the campaigning finished on 30 September. All candidates were guaranteed free access to mass media, while some entities and persons, for instance, public authorities, military units, charities, foreigners and foreign legal entities were not allowed to campaign. The Commission imposed some limitations as well: Nazi symbols, race discrimination, inciting violence, etc were banned.

Foreign journalists and international observers are welcomed in LPR to report the vote, their safety is guaranteed by Head of LPR Igor Plotnitskiy.

LuganskMediaCentre — 02 October — Lugansk