'No parliamentary quota' for Tatars in Crimea govt

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine - The Crimean Tatars will not have the 20 percent quota in the regional parliament that was promised to them before Russia annexed the peninsula earlier this month, parliamentary officials said.

Vice President of the Crimean Parliament and head of the constitutional committee Grigory Ioffe said the decision to grant the Crimean Tatars a quota-based representation had been made before Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill of annexation. 

No legislative measure to create such type of quota exist under Russian law, Ioffe stated, before adding that elections for executives in Russia were done through "principles of equality."

Ioffe reiterated that all of the ethnic and religious groups in Crimea will be treated equally and based on their qualifications.  

According to the new constitution, Russian, Ukrainian and Tatar will have equal status as the official languages of Crimea, he said. 

Putin signed into law the annexation of Crimea following a March 16 referendum that saw 97 percent of the population vote in favor of joining Russia.

The U.S., EU and Ukraine have called the vote "illegitimate" with most of the international community contesting the Kremlin's claims regarding the 'yes' vote, saying that the Tatars - who make up 13 percent of Crimea's 2.1. million people - boycotted the vote. 

The Crimean Tatars are the peninsula's indigenous population. They were deported en masse to Central Asia by Moscow in 1944, before being allowed to return to their homeland in the late 1980s as the Soviet Union began to collapse.

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