By the next local elections, we have to ensure proper representation of hromadas in local councils, - Vyacheslav Nehoda

By the next local elections, we have to ensure proper representation of hromadas in local councils, - Vyacheslav Nehoda

Regular local elections should take place on a new territorial basis of hromadas and rayons. This is one of the main tasks of the new decentralisation phase. And, subject to effective work of the Verkhovna Rada, there is already everything for a quick resolution of this issue. At the same time, we must solve an equally important problem – to create conditions for the proper representation of hromadas in local councils.

This was informed by Vyacheslav Nehoda, First Deputy Minister of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services, during the first meeting of the working group on the development of amendments to the electoral legislation to ensure proportional representation of citizens in the councils of hromadas and territorial hromadas in rayon and oblast councils.

According to him, due to the specifics of the electoral system, after the local elections in 2015, in most oblast and rayon councils, the constituencies are represented unevenly or unrepresented at all.

An expert study conducted with the assistance of the OSCE Project in Ukraine showed that in 22 oblast councils (except for the Mykolayiv and Cherkasy ones), some rayons and cities of oblast significance are not represented by any deputies, and some – by two and more. In rayon councils, too, there is often no representation of certain hromadas of the rayon, and some are represented by several deputies (download the brief).

"The worst situation is observed in the Kyiv Oblast, where even quite powerful hromadas of Pereyaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Bucha, Vasylkiv are not represented in the oblast council. That is, important decisions regarding the oblast development are taken without taking into account the interests of these hromadas. This is a violation of the Constitution, or more precisely Article 140, which states that " rayon and oblast councils are local self-government bodies representing the common interests of territorial hromadas of villages, settlements and cities," said Volodymyr Kovtunets, head of the expert group that conducted the study.

According to him, the problem with representation of citizens in the local council is inamalgamated hromadas as well. Because of uneven number of residents in AH settlements, it is practically impossible to make every locality represented by at least one deputy in the AH council (download the brief).

"It is obvious that the current electoral system does not justify itself, and it needs to be improved. We must ensure that the interests of all citizens are represented in the local councils. It is also necessary to depoliticise local self-government so that the life in hromadas does not depend on the interests of the party elites. Today, together with our international experts, we start to develop the necessary changes to the legislation. But I want to emphasise – they should rely on the fact that by the regular local elections across Ukraine a new administrative-territorial structure will be formed at the level of hromadas and rayons,” noted Vyacheslav Nehoda.

The OSCE in Ukraine and the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine provide technical and expert support in drafting the necessary draft laws.

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