MPs are outraged by the CEC’s reluctance to appoint the elections in amalgamated hromadas. They will try to change the composition of the commission already in early September.
"My position here is unambiguous: recognition of the 2012 law on all-Ukrainian referendum as unconstitutional does not automatically restore the 1991 law,” said Andriy Mahera, deputy head of the Central Election Commission, in his comment to decentralisation.gov.ua on the eve of the abovementioned decision of the Central Election Commission. “At the same time, it can be said that legislation now has a gap in referendums’ holding. There is no such law at all.”
Experts and lawyers have supported this very position. However, the CEC is a collegial body, therefore, the Commission made another decision. And while the Verkhovna Rada Committee will consider whether it is legitimate or not to hold elections in 98 AHs, waiting for them, at least a few weeks will pass.
Viewpoint of Oleksandr Chernenko, head of the Subcommittee on Elections and Referendums of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy and Justice is definitive:
“I absolutely do not see the logic in the actions of the Central Election Commission... Obviously, there is a legislative gap in the conduct of all-Ukrainian and local referenda, in fact, the law that was in force has been recognised as unconstitutional, and there is no other law, but I do not understand how it is related to the reluctance of the CEC to appoint the first and other repeat local elections, including in the amalgamated hromadas. These are completely non-interdependent things.”
However, no matter what is said, the committee is unlikely to be able to meet by September this year. Thus, October elections in the AHs may not take place on completely “legitimate” grounds.
Georg Milbradt, Special Envoy of the German government on governance and decentralisation reforms in Ukraine, has already expressed his indignation regarding CEC’s demarche, along with representatives of amalgamated hromadas, the public and experts.
Decentralisation.gov.ua asked MPs about their attitude to the CEC.
“I am convinced that the Verkhovna Rada will respond to this shameful demarche, having finally renovated the CEC’s composition. The Central Election Commission should not restrain, but support the reforms in Ukraine, ensuring legality of elections. Neither the society nor the expert environment support the existing composition of the CEC. Thus, the Constitutional Court abolished the referendum law in April this year. According to the current logic of the CEC, it turns out that all the elections scheduled since then are illegal. When were the commission members sincere: when they appointed such elections, or now? So, we have to wait for the first plenary week, which will begin already on 3 September, in order to finally update the composition of the commission. The new CEC membership should compose of the representatives of all factions and deputy groups of the current Verkhovna Rada composition. And this coincides with the resolution of the PACE. I sincerely hope that CEC’s blocking of the elections in AHs will be a signal for the active actions of the Parliament in this direction.”
“I regard such actions of the members of the Central Election Commission as an attempt to undermine the decentralisation process in Ukraine. I would very much like parliamentary parties to properly assess CEC’s actions. It is very regrettable that the recent attempt to vote for the renewed composition of the commission was not successful, and now we really have a demarche on its part. I am convinced that the membership of the Central Election Commission should be changed as soon as possible. I think that the current CEC is not responsible to society, otherwise the Commission would not delay the elections in AHs. Thus, it has frankly demonstrated its position regarding the decentralisation process in Ukraine. Will there be enough votes in the Verkhovna Rada to change the CEC in September? It is necessary to make this issue as public as possible. Everything done behind the curtain does not have a chance to be voted. And if we discuss this problem sincerely and frankly, I think there is a chance.
“The Verkhovna Rada should have reacted to the unsatisfactory work of the Central Election Commission long time ago, and now we reap the fruits of inaction. The CEC adopted an illegal regulation that undermines the process of decentralisation. This is pure power abuse, since we have a special law on voluntary amalgamation of hromadas, which clearly specifies all procedures, as well as what the Central Election Commission should do. I think that the CEC has violated the law by transferring responsibility to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy. This is a frank sabotage of the reform. We will look for the reasons. I hope that the current actions of the CEC will be another incentive for the Parliament to finally change the membership of the commission. It's a pity that we have lost so much time. If elections in the AHs are not scheduled for October, it is not unclear, when they can happen at all...”
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