Voting cancelled in Ukraine’s key port Mariupol

Polling stations across all Kiev-administered regions are open except for key port Mariupol in Ukraine

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A woman casts her ballot during a regional election at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, on October 25, 2015

Ukraine’s local elections were cancelled on Sunday in the southeastern port of Mariupol due to not being ready, officials said.

"Polling stations did not open in Mariupol because the ballots were not ready," electoral commission Natalia Kashchiy told AFP.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's Solidarity party said in a statement said that the polls "were aborted... due to the improper preparation of election ballots, the absence of control over their printing and number, and reliable storage."

The doors of polling stations remained shut in the southeastern city of nearly 500,000 people.

Mariupol has been a focal point of pro-Russian rebel attacks mostly for the 18-month conflict which separated the ex-Soviet nation. The city provides a land bridge between pro-Moscow rebel regions and Ukraine’s Russian-annexed Crimea peninsula, seized by Russia after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February 2014.

Poroshenko’s party said it believed to carry out mayoral and regional council votes in Mariupol in the coming weeks.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko casts a ballot during a regional election at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine on October 25, 2015 (Reuters)

The Solidarity party and its ruling coalition partners "will initiate changes to the legislation that will allow elections to be held on November 15 – the date of the (potential) second round of mayoral election, or at some other short-term date."

Western-backed Poroshenko’s ruling coalition faced a survival test on Sunday in local elections with exclusion of the pro-Russian east. The elections came during a break from fighting.

Ukrainian politicians were concerned that Ukraine was slipping off the global radar despite turning into Europe’s second poorest country and still standing as a bulwark against Russia’s west. However, politicians were most worried about Mariupol’s situation. The city is a vital outlet for the east’s industrial output.

In January, Mariupol was hit by a mortar and rocket attack, monitors accused the insurgents of carrying out this incident that killed 31 people and injured more than 100.


TRTWorld and agencies