Yesterday, the Verkhovna Rada referred draft law No 6466 on the voluntary accession of hromadas of villages, rural settlements to the hromadas of cities of oblast significance for further elaboration. The draft law was supposed to be adopted in the second reading and as a whole. However, only 194 people’s deputies supported it by votes, 3 voted against, and 25 abstained. 138 deputies did not vote, including people’s deputies representing the party of Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, who is also head of the Association of Ukrainian Cities.
This stance is unexpected, because on 4 December during his speech at a solemn meeting of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on State Building, Regional Policy and Local Self-Government, on the occasion of the Local Self-Governance Day, Vitali Klitschko said: “The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has to promptly adopt a package of laws ensuring the further development of local self-government”.
“Decentralisation” portal asked Mykola Fedoruk, people’s deputy, who presented the draft law from the rostrum, about his viewpoint on the topic and the reasons why the words do not coincide with the actions.
“After this shameful vote, I congratulated Vitali Klitschko from the rostrum of the Verkhovna Rada on the Local Self-Governance Day and “thanked him” for the failure of his party to approve such an important draft law,” said Mykola Fedoruk. “I cannot say why “Udar” party members acted like this – you have to ask them directly. It would be especially interesting to hear the opinion of the representative of the President of the Association of Ukrainian Cities in the Parliament. I can assume that draft law No 6466 was not voted to please latifundists, i.e. large landowners. When the land of the neighbouring village councils is attached to large cities within the AH framework, the cost of this land will increase dramatically, and large landowners will have to pay much higher rent fees. This is my judgmental opinion. As for the “Batkivshchyna” faction, whose representatives abstained or did not vote, everything is clear. The faction is interested in holding re-elections in the cities of oblast significance, since there is no city mayor in the whole Ukraine. Thus, these elections give “Batkivshchyna” a chance to get several important positions in the cities.
According to Mykola Fedoruk, the draft law will be voted again. At the same time, Mr Fedoruk relies on the active position of the public, putting pressure on those who abstained from voting.
“Several hundred hromadas become hostages of this situation,” said Mykola Fedoruk. “And some of them have already filed documents to the Central Electoral Commission. The CEC did not announce elections in these hromadas, as it was also waiting for the adoption of this draft law. A further delay in its adoption may lead to the fact that amalgamated hromadas will cover the entire territory around cities, depriving them of their development opportunities.”
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