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Ukraine election commission approves signatures needed to hold referendum on joining NATO

Ukraine election commission approves signatures needed to hold referendum on joining NATO

Ukraine's Central Election Commission on Friday approved signatures collected in support of holding a plebiscite on whether the ex-Soviet republic should join NATO, officials said.
The commission validated 4.43 million signatures, well above the 3 million required to initiate a referendum in the nation of 47 million people.
The signatures were collected by the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (United), a party that is strongly anti-NATO and hoped to use the referendum to block Ukraine's entry into the military alliance. The signatures also support holding a referendum on joining the Common Economic Space, a Russian-dominated economic bloc.
Konstantyn Khivrenko, spokesman for the Central Election Commission, said the election commission will now forward its findings to the president to make the final decision about whether to hold a referendum. President Viktor Yushchenko's office made no immediate comment.
Yushchenko, who is a supporter of NATO membership, has backed holding a referendum, but has said that first Ukrainians must be informed about the advantages of joining NATO.
However, this year's parliamentary elections have reshaped Ukraine's political landscape.
Pro-Russian Premier Viktor Yanukovych, whose party won the most votes in the March elections, put NATO membership on hold, though he said he supports increased cooperation with the alliance.
Ukraine is sharply divided over the issue of NATO membership. Most Ukrainians, particularly in the largely Russian-speaking east and south, remain deeply skeptical about joining former Cold War adversaries in the military alliance.


Updated : 2021-04-17 10:24 GMT+08:00