On 3 April, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted draft law No 6466 on the voluntary accession of hromadas to cities of oblast significance in the second reading and as a whole.
268 MPs voted for this decision.
The draft law allows hromadas to simplify the procedure of accession to cities of oblast significance.
As it is known, there are 187 cities of oblast significance in Ukraine, three of them – Lyman, Balta and Bilyayivka – have used the law on the voluntary amalgamation of hromadas in 2015, when local elections were held in the country. At the same time several more AHs were established around the cities of oblast significance, but the Central Electoral Commission did not allow them to hold the first election because of the need, according to the CEC, to change the boundaries of the rayons. After that, large cities remained outside the process of hromadas’ amalgamation. There was a lack of motivation to amalgamate, both because of the CEC’s stance and because the heads of the cities having won the elections did not want re-elections to be held.
Draft law No 6466 will allow the cities of oblast significance to unite neighbouring village and settlement councils around them and become the centre of AH without unnecessary bureaucratic procedures.
It should be noted that Prime Minister of Ukraine Volodymyr Groysman called this draft law one of the priorities for adoption in the Parliament.
“The cities of oblast significance are the least active in the process of hromadas’ amalgamation. It is wrong. They are the centres of economic activity, and it is logical for the surrounding hromadas to join them. We propose an effective mechanism for this: to legislatively designate cities of oblast significance as capable hromadas, enabling village and settlement hromadas to join them without holding elections to the city council of such a hromada, as is the case in other AHs,” said the Prime Minister.
It is worth mentioning the draft law was included in the list of draft laws necessary for the continuation of decentralisation process.
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