The process of voluntary amalgamation of communities within the framework of the reform of local self-government and territorial organisation of power is being carried out for the fourth year in a row. The legislation, regulating the reform issues, is being constantly improved, based on the practice of its application. On 29 December 2017, a group of Ukrainian MPs registered a draft law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Improving the Procedure of Voluntary Amalgamation of Territorial Communities” (No 7467) in the Parliament.
Draft amendments suggest that the Perspective Plan for the formation of territories of hromadas of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or oblast shall be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea or relevant oblast state administration. Thus, MPs propose to legislatively remove oblast councils from the process of perspective plans’ formation.
The explanatory note to the draft law states that the practice of application of the Law of Ukraine “On voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities” revealed a number of shortcomings, including politicisation of oblast councils in approving the draft Perspective Plan for the formation of hromadas’ territories, their numerous violations of methodology for the formation of such a plan. It is also noted that the Perspective Plan for the formation of hromadas’ territories has not yet been submitted for consideration of the oblast council by the oblast state administration in Zakarpattya. In many oblasts, oblast councils have not adopted the Perspective Plan for the formation of hromadas’ territories covering the oblast’s entire territory.
“The practice of regulating the issues of the administrative-territorial system of European countries with a unitary structure shows that such issues fall within the exclusive competence of the central government. Participation of the oblast council as a representative body of local self-government at the regional level was justified at the first stages of implementation of the administrative-territorial structure reform, when it was necessary to diversify the emotional and political load, accompanied by insinuations and assumptions about the reform. Currently, most political forces are positively accepting the reform implementation. Thus, the need for the participation of oblast councils, which carried out the role of a damper of social processes during the first two years of the reform, has been now abandoned,” the explanatory note reads.
The draft law also proposes to define the exact timeframe for the Central Electoral Commission’s appointment of the first and additional elections in amalgamated hromadas – within a month after receiving the relevant appeal from the oblast state administration.
MinRegion welcomes the initiative of MPs, noting that these changes will considerably simplify the process of voluntary amalgamation of communities and streamline the process of approving perspective plans for the formation of hromadas’ territories.
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