Over four years since the start of the local self-government reform, Ukraine has shown successes and high rates of implementation of decentralisation changes in the country, primarily through the fromation of capable amalgamated hromadas. 705 AHs have already been established in Ukraine. 100 hromadas with about 1 million citizens are waiting for the appointment of the first elections.
Appointment of elections by the Central Election Commission is the final stage in the formation of capable hromadas. However, at the meeting on 9 August 2018, the CEC adopted Resolution No. 122, which in fact suspended the consideration of the issue of the first and additional local elections in AHs. By such a decision the CEC blocked the further process of formation of capable hromadas.
In its decision the CEC appeals to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy and Justice to provide clarifications as to the legislative regulation of the organisation and procedure for conducting referendums in Ukraine, as well as possibility of appointing the first and additional local elections in AHs without a local referendum. This position of the Central Election Commission is unclear, since, according to the Law “On Committees of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine”, even if the committee provides such an explanation, it will not have the status of official interpretation.
While substantiating its own stance, the CEC refers to Article 6 of the Law “On All-Ukrainian and Local Referendums”, which expired in 2012. At the same time, according to the Law of Ukraine “On Voluntary Amalgamation of Hroamdas”, the decision on amalgamation is made by local councils or through a local referendum. The lack of legislation on local referendums in no way deprives hromadas of the right to decide on amalgamation at sessions of local councils. Thus, today there are no legal obstacles to the appointment of the first and additional elections in amalgamated hromadas.
According to Article 15 of the Law of Ukraine “On Local Elections”, the first local elections are scheduled not later than 70 days prior to the day they are to be held. Taking into account the norms of the Budget Code of Ukraine, in order for the AHs to receive direct interbudgetary relations with the state budget, the CEC must appoint the elections on the last Sunday of October and make the corresponding decision not later than on 17 August 2018.
Civic initiative “Reanimation Package of Reforms” requires that the Central Electoral Commission:
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