After the local elections on 23 December 2018, there will be 782 amalgamated hromadas in Ukraine. In general (taking into account the AHs, formed without elections - around cities of oblast significance), there are already 804 AHs in the country. They comprise over 3700 village, settlement and city councils. Elections of the heads of 77 AHs have shown people’s convincing support of the decentralisation reform and the goals set by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and implemented by the Government – that is unquestioned transfer of powers and finance to the ground.
That is how Hennadii Zubko, Vice Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, commented on the leadership of the candidates, who are members of Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc or were nominated with the support of the pro-presidential party in the elections of the AH heads.
“The President of Ukraine, the Government, MPs, managed to unite and consolidate the society around the decisive reform for the state – the reform of decentralisation. We are on the right path. People have confirmed it again,” emphasised Hennadii Zubko.
In fact, the elections took place in 77 AHs. Out of 72 candidates for the heads of AHs, nominated by the pro-presidential bloc, people elected fifty-two as heads of their hromadas. This is a significant result and in no way politicisation of the process. New leaders, ready to take on the powers, opportunities, and most importantly, responsibility appear on the ground. This is a considerable mandate of trust in the decentralisation reform, initiated by the President in 2014.
“From now on we have not only an ambitious task from the President, but also a guideline from people to complete the decentralisation reform in Ukraine. In 2020, local elections should take place on a new territorial basis. To do this, we must mobilise the efforts of all participants of the process – central and local authorities, local self-government bodies, the Verkhovna Rada and international partners. Already in January we will have a step-by-step plan for fulfilling tasks with our international partners,” said the Vice Prime Minister.
At the same time, 4 priority draft laws have been registered in the Verkhovna Rada for the new decentralisation phase, which need to be first on the priority list for approval. These are the drafts of the Laws of Ukraine No. 8051 “On Principles of the Administrative-Territorial Structure”, No. 6403 “On Amendments to the Law “On Urban Development Regulation”, No.6641 “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Concerning the Formation, Reorganisation and Elimination, Denomination and Renaming of Local State Administrations” and No.8369 “On Service in Local Self-Government Bodies”. The prompt adoption of the above-mentioned documents is the responsibility of parliamentarians. And MPs should realise that society is waiting not for the process of draft laws’ consideration, but for effective voting for key decentralisation implanting instruments. This stance of the society is supported by the Vice Prime Minister.
“Regarding the responsibility of central government and local authorities: by 2020, a basic level of local self-government – hromadas – must be formed in Ukraine. Therefore, the priority task for 2019 is one hundred percent formation of perspective plans. Local hromadas, oblast councils and oblast state administrations should jointly carry out this work. The Government sets itself the task of modeling the most effective perspective plans of capable hromadas on the oblast territory. This will allow us to choose the perfect model of a capable hromada, that can take on the powers and effectively use all the tools for local self-government development,” stressed Hennadii Zubko.
It is worth noting that 1285 AHs have been modeled according to perspective plans of the oblasts. And a conclusion can already be made that by covering rayons with no AHs formed by perspective plans it is possible to form 1,450 capable hromadas. But such a result can be achieved due to decisions of the oblast councils while compiling perspective plans.
“For the first time since independence the central government has transferred not only powers, but also resources to the ground. For the first time in the history of the country the share of local budgets in the consolidated budget of Ukraine exceeds 51%. We forecast that by the end of 2018 the volume of local budget revenues will amount to more than UAH 230 billion. And hromadas themselves – people on the ground – will decide what to spend these funds on – to insulate a school or repair the road, set up lighting, build a kindergarten or other necessary facility. Consequently, decentralisation is not only the redistribution of money to the ground to meet the needs of hromadas, but also empowerment to making correct decisions and a clear division of responsibilities between central and local authorities,” emphasised Hennadii Zubko.
It should be mentioned that on 23 December 2018 the first local elections of heads and deputies took place in 77 AHs in 12 oblasts of Ukraine. Earlier, the CEC postponed elections in 45 AHs of 10 oblasts with martial law introduced: the Vinnytsia, Luhansk, Mykolayiv, Sumy, Odesa, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts. In total, 874 AHs have been formed in Ukraine, of which 665 already have direct interbudgetary relations. In addition, this year, 16 oblast cities joined the amalgamation process, which shows the high pace and irreversibility of decentralisation.
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