Elections to the Ukrainian and Crimean parliaments, and to local legislatures began in Ukraine on Sunday, Interfax informed.

Over 30,000 polling stations were opened in Ukraine at 7 a.m. and will close down at 10 p.m., local time.

Four hundred and fifty parliamentary deputies will be elected in 225 electoral districts under a proportional representation electoral system - a new practice in Ukrainian parliamentary elections, while the city and village legislatures will be elected based on the majority system.

Ukraine has over 37 million eligible voters.

Forty-five parties and election coalitions are entered on the ballot papers.

Seats in the Ukrainian parliament will be guaranteed to parties and coalitions that win at least 3% of the vote.

Election returns may be declared invalid only at individual polling stations.

The Central Elections Commission is required to announce the outcome of the election no later than 15 days after the polling day - before April 10, after which the official election returns are to be published in the newspapers Golos Ukrainy and Uryadovy Kuryer.

Sunday's polls will be the first after amendments were made in the constitution that envision a switch from the presidential-parliamentary to parliamentary-presidential form of government.

The new edition of the Constitution says that the parliament must convene no later than 30 days after the official election returns have been announced - before May 15.

A coalition of parliamentary factions, comprising the parliamentary majority - no less than 226 parliamentary deputies - is to be formed based on negotiated political positions, within four weeks following the first session.

The parliamentary coalition will then submit nominations for prime minister and ministers to the president. If no coalition is formed within a month, the president will have the right to dissolve the parliament ahead of time.

Parties and coalitions running in Crimea and in the periphery are also required to win at least 3% of the vote to get through to their respective legislatures.

Candidates running to local legislatures are required to win a simple majority of votes to get a seat in their respective local legislatures.

Individual political parties and election coalitions will count votes alongside the Central Elections Commission.

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