14 March 2017 the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine adopted as a whole the draft law regarding the peculiarities of voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities located in the territories of neighbouring Rayons (Districts) (No. 5520), which law allows holding the first elections in a number of already amalgamated communities.
232 Members of the Parliament voted for that resolution.
The draft law sets forth the sequence of actions to be taken in the process of establishment of amalgamated communities comprising local councils in different Rayons (Districts) or in the event of an amalgamation of communities with the cities of Oblast (Regional) subordinance. It is expected that, upon its adoption, the Central Election Commission will have indisputable grounds to call the first local elections in more than 30 amalgamated communities waiting for it for more than one year.
In addition, the draft law will allow completing the process of amalgamation of dozens of communities established at the boundary of Rayons (Districts) which, because of the position of the Central Election Commission, were not in hurry to make their final decision.
Making a speech at the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament), Vice-Prime Minister - Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine Hennadii Zubko emphasised: "Today is a focal point for us on the way of decentralisation and energy efficiency, as well as regarding the conduction of construction business in Ukraine. Now, just one word, community, comprises all that. The quality of education, health care, administrative services, and social protection - for this purpose we should lay a strong foundation for the Ukrainian state. The amalgamated territorial community makes that foundation. The adoption of the draft law is an important step awaited by dozens of communities all over Ukraine. The draft law affords the opportunity for and mechanism of establishment of amalgamated communities comprising local councils in different Rayons (Districts). Also, it relates to the amalgamation of communities with the cities of Oblast (Regional) subordinance. The communities are voluntarily amalgamating and willing to jointly build the future on the basis of their traditions and culture rather than in accordance with the erected boundaries of Rayons. Many communities found themselves beyond the possibilities of restoring their historic amalgamation and establishing such communities as having been in existence all the time but were divided under the Soviet system so it was easier to administer them. I thank the Members of Parliament for their support", emphasised Hennadii Zubko.
Moreover, the Vice Prime Minister believes that the "adoption of the draft law constitutes a great motivation for dozens of communities established at the boundary of Rayons to complete the amalgamation process and a great push to new amalgamations".
It is a reminder that the Central Election Commission substantiated the lack of grounds for calling the first elections in communities established at the boundary of Rayons or around cities of Oblast (Regional) subordinance by the need of changes in the boundaries of relevant Rayons to be first made by the Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine. Though, upon request of the Ministry of Regional Development, the Parliamentary Committee on State-building, Regional Policy and Local Self-government provided a clarification, stating that the elections in the said cases might be also called without changing the boundaries of Rayons.
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