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Referendum results in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions show landslide support for self-rule

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Referendum results in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions show landslide support for self-rule
Referendum results in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions show landslide support for self-rule
Published time: May 11, 2014 23:40
Edited time: May 12, 2014 18:48
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Members of a local election commission empty a ballot box as they start counting votes of today's referendum on the status of Lugansk region in Lugansk May 11, 2014 (Reuters / Valentyn Ogirenko)
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Ukraine turmoil

Clashes, Election, Military, Opposition, Paula Slier, Politics, Polly Boiko, Ukraine, Violence

The results of referendums have been announced in Donetsk and Lugansk Regions, showing the majority of voters support self-rule, amid an intensified military operation by Kiev which resulted in several deaths.

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Almost 90 percent of voters in Donetsk Region have endorsed political independence from Kiev, the head of the Central Election Commission of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’, Roman Lyagin, announced.

“Counting the ballots proved to be surprisingly easy – the number of people who said ‘no’ was relatively small and there appeared to be only a tiny proportion of spoiled ballots, so we managed to carry out counting quite fast. The figures are as follows: 89.07 percent voted ‘for’, 10.19 percent voted ‘against’ and 0.74 percent of ballots were rendered ineligible,” Lyagin told journalists.

In Lugansk Region 96.2 percent of voters supported the region’s self-rule, according to the final figures announced by the local election commission.

This is the pile for all the yes votes :) #Donetskpic.twitter.com/7wusyG8VK3

— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) May 11, 2014

Despite fears that amid Kiev’s intensified military crackdown – which killed at least two civilians on referendum day – the turnout will be low, in both of the region it was unexpectedly high. In Donetsk it reached 74.87%, while in Lugansk the central election commission says 75% of eligible voters came to the polling stations.

With such a huge turnout, the referendums have been recognized as valid by both election commissions.

The acting president of Ukraine, Aleksandr Turchinov, has condemned as a “farce” referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

“This propaganda farce won’t have any legal consequences, except for criminal charges for its organizers,” Turchinov said, Interfax reported.

Following the referendum, officials of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic have not ruled out that in case the situation in the region deteriorates, they may have to request peacekeeping forces to be deployed.

“We will try to cope with it on our own; we don’t want this confrontation to increase, especially on our territory,” Denis Pushilin, co-chairman of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said. "If the situation deteriorates, we reserve the right to ask for a peacekeeping contingent,” he added.

[link to rt.com]