World

Vote scrapped in Mariupol as Ukraine holds local elections that test oligarchs' reach

  • A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    A voter casts her ballot at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kiev's current mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, right, his wife Natalia Klitschko, center, and his brother boxing heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko vote at a polling station in an regional and local elections  in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. According to local media, Kiev's current mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is expected to win in the capital. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Kiev's current mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, right, his wife Natalia Klitschko, center, and his brother boxing heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko vote at a polling station in an regional and local elections in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. According to local media, Kiev's current mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko is expected to win in the capital. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Voters read their ballots at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Voters read their ballots at a polling station in Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015. Polling stations opened in Ukraine on Sunday for regional and local elections across the country, except for the separatist-held regions in the east. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

Ukrainians are voting in local elections that are seen as a test of the strength of President Petro Poroshenko's government and of the oligarchs accustomed to running regions of the country.

The situation in Mariupol, a major port and steel city, is especially fraught. The city is torn by disputes over the influence of Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine's richest man whose industrial holdings are key to Mariupol's economy.

The dispute led to the last-minute scrapping of Sunday's election in Mariupol, with both sides blaming the other.

Poroshenko ordered the national parliament and central elections commission to make sure the election is held soon.

Elections also were not being held in parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by Russia-backed rebels.

Elsewhere, voters are choosing more than 10,700 local councils as well as mayors.