Parliamentary Elections in Front Line Villages
Residents of six frontline villages in Ukraine's Donetsk region won't be able to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections. For security reasons, polling stations will not be opened there. With a few days to go before the elections, many residents didn't have time to register to vote in nearby settlements
Sixty-one kilometers to Volnovakha, 20 – to the next village. Chermalyk is located right near the front line in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. In order to cast their ballots, local residents have to travel dozens of kilometers. First to register with another polling station, and then – to get there on election day. There is no bus service in Chermalyk. And the distance is too big to walk on foot. Therefore, residents of the village won’t be able to exercise their right to vote in the Ukrainian parliamentary election.
“There will be no voting for us. We’ve been thrown out. Are we not part of Ukraine? Why won’t we be able to vote? Why are we deprived of this right?” Halyna, a Chermalyk resident said.
Another village has around 1,500 residents. Most of them are elderly. They will not be physically able to go to Volnovakha to vote.
“The parliamentary election is coming up fast, but it was canceled here for an unclear reason. No one showed us any documents, no one explained who made this decision. And it should be made by the Verkhovna Rada, according to a ruling of the Ukrainian Constitutional Court. We have no information, we were just informed about this,” Chermalyk resident Serhiy Sahirov said.
On a nearly daily basis the residents are forced to put out fires. On July 11, a local man was killed outside his house after a shell exploded. This was one of the main reasons for the authorities to cancel the voting process in Chermalyk. The village council said it was a matter of security.
“There will be no election held here. The presidential election was held here, but there will be no parliamentary elections. We think that it’s because of security,” Olena Tabiya, the head of the Chermalyk Village Council said. “We have a very long list of people who won’t be able to come to the polling station. Usually, we organize voting at home for them. But we won’t be able to help them this time.”
“Aren’t we Ukrainians, residents of Ukraine? We’re patriots of Ukraine. We want life to improve here. We can’t wait for the shelling to stop,” Halyna said.
Chermalyk isn’t the only village where there will be no voting. As a security measure, the election will not be held in five other front line settlements. July 16 was the last day when residents could change their place of registration to vote.
However, according to local authorities, no one was able to do this due to the lack of bus service.