MOSCOW, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine will hold early parliamentary elections Sunday, October 26, amid the ongoing armed conflict between Kiev authorities and independence supporters of the country's southeast.
In late August, President Petro Poroshenko dissolved Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and declared an early parliamentary vote, saying that the composition of the parliament, elected under the presidency of ousted Viktor Yanukovych, was no more adequate to the existing political situation.
A total of 29 political parties are expected to take part in the Verkhovna Rada election. Petro Poroshenko Bloc, backed by the incumbent president, is considered to be the undisputed leader, with an approval rating of about 25 percent. Poroshenko has tasked his party with drafting an agreement to secure a 300-seat coalition.
Incumbent Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk heads the political council of the newly-created Popular Front Party and is going to compete with the pro-presidential bloc. According to preliminary polls, Yatsenyuk's party is likely to come third in a best-case scenario.
Other strong contenders, according to surveys, are Oleh Lyashko's Radical Party, Yulia Tymoshenko's Batkivshchyna, Civil Position, People's Front and Strong Ukraine, while the Communist Party, right-wing Svoboda and far-right Right Sector are likely to lose seats.
Ukrainians will go to the polls to vote in 424 members of parliament – 225 of them from party lists and 199 in single-candidate constituencies. The electoral threshold is 5 percent.
Ukraine's Central Election Commission said that the vote could not be conducted in almost half the districts in the southeastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, administered by independence forces.
However, according to the Ukrainian law, the election will be recognized valid even if voting takes place at only one polling station in a district.
The law on the special status of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, adopted by Ukraine as part of the Minsk agreements reached in September, stipulates that local elections are to take place on December 7. However, the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics, laying claims to the whole territory of respective Ukrainian regions, intend to hold their own elections. The two self-proclaimed republics will choose their leaders and parliaments on November 2.