Three amalgamated hromadas – the Volnovaska, Olhinska and Khlibodarivska AHs of the Volnovakha rayon – were ready for the first elections. All necessary documents were handed over to the Central Electoral Commission with expectations that elections date would be appointed for December 2017. However, the CEC did not permit these hromadas to hold elections, giving as a reason that certain areas of the Volnovakha rayon, bordering with the collision line, are dangerous.
Possible ways out of a difficult situation were discussed during a round table meeting held in Volnovakha with the participation of the officials from the village and rural settlement councils, and a representative of the Ministry for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine. The event was organised by the Donetsk Local Government Development Centre, established with the support of the U-LEAD with Europe programme and MinRegion.
According to Maksym Tkach, decentralisation advisor of the Donetsk LGDC, the Volnovakha rayon experienced a controversy in the legislative field. The first elections in the hromada are appointed by the CEC. But in 2015 the Verkhovna Rada's resolution was adopted, according to which elections were not held in the settlements located on the demarcation line, because of safety reasons. So far, there has been no clear explanation from the legislators who will appoint the first elections in those AHs that fell within the Verkhovna Rada resolution.
The discussion turned out to be lively, everyone could express their attitude to the situation. Oleksandr Vorozhbyt, head of Novotroyitske rural settlement, assured that holding elections on the territory of the council is a problematic issue, as the enemy positions are in 20 kilometre distance. There is a checkpoint in Novotroyitske, shots are heard almost every single day. The Novotroyitske rural settlement council should be part of the Olhinska hromada. The population of the AH will be 20 thousand people, and the Novotroyitske mining administration will be the budget-forming enterprise.
Petro Buryak, head of Ivanivka village, noted that local residents are ready to amalgamate in the hromada, because they understand all further development possibilities. The first task should be the construction of the road from Ivanivka to Volnovakha, that will become the centre of the amalgamated hromada.
Some participants of the round table meeting expressed their anxiety about the future prospects of AH development, investors’ attracting for infrastructure construction and powerful production, as well as non-usage of arable land because of fortification buildings located on them, etc.
Olena Zborovska, head of Khlibodarivka village, noted: “We conducted a great deal of work with the support of the rayon authorities and Rayon State Administration, we were waiting for the elections in December, but they were not appointed. We are convinced that after the AH establishment, life would have changed for the better, there would have been more prospects. We were looking forward to the construction of the Safety Centre in Khlibodarivka. We wanted to amalgamate in order to work together to solve urgent problems. Our hromada with 24 settlements, would have been capable, because Khlibodarivka quarry and agricultural enterprises operate on the territory.”
As a result of the discussion at the round table meeting, the Donetsk LGDC team with the support of the representative of the Ministry for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine will make certain recommendations to the central authorities for the purpose of their possible consideration during the decentralisation reform implementation.
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