DONETSK, November 2 (RIA Novosti) — The current prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, is leading in Sunday’s elections in the east Ukrainian republic with 81 percent, according to the latest exit polls.
The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic’s Central Election Commission, Roman Lyagin, announced the first results in the republic’s capital of Donetsk. According to Lyagin, the next contenders to lead the republic are Alexander Kofman with 9.7 percent and Yuri Sivokonenko with 9 percent.
In parliamentary elections, Zakharchenko’s party, Donetsk Republic, is also leading with 65.11 percent, according to the latest exit polls, followed by the Free Donbas party with 34.89 percent.
In April, Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation in the country's southeast, where independence supporters refused to accept the new government that was put in power following a coup in February.
The political discontent led Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine to hold referendums this May on self-determination. Over 90 percent of the voters cast their votes for greater autonomy. The territories declared themselves sovereign states as a result.