Over the four years since the start of the local self-government reform, Ukraine has demonstrated success and high pace of implementation of decentralization changes in the country, primarily through the establishment of capable amalgamated territorial communities. As of now, 705 ATCs have already been established in Ukraine. Additionally, calling of the first elections is pending in about 100 communities, where 1 million citizens reside.
Calling of elections by the Central Election Commission is the final stage in the formation of capable communities. However, at a meeting on August 9, 2018, the Central Election Commission adopted Resolution No. 122, which in fact suspended the consideration of the issue of the first and additional local elections to the ATC. With such a resolution, the CEC blocked further process of establishing capable territorial communities.
In its resolution, the CEC appeals to the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Legal Policy and Justice to provide explanations regarding the legislative regulation of the arrangement of and procedure for referendums in Ukraine, as well as the possibility of calling the first and additional local elections to the ATCs without a local referendum. This position of the Central Election Commission is unclear as in accordance with 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.
In the justification of its own position, the CEC refers to Article 6 of the Law “On all-Ukrainian and local referendums”, which expired in 2012. However, in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “On voluntary amalgamation of territorial communities”, the decision on amalgamation is to be made by local councils or through a local referendum. Lack of legislation on local referendums will in no way deprive the community of the right to decide on amalgamation at the sessions of local councils. Thus, there are currently no legal obstacles to scheduling the first and second elections to the amalgamated territorial communities.
It should be noted that in accordance with Article 15 of the Law of Ukraine “On Local Elections”, the first local elections are to be scheduled not later than 70 days before the day they are held. Taking into account the regulations of the Budget Code of Ukraine, for the amalgamated territorial communities to have direct intergovernmental relations with the state budget, the CEC must call the elections on the last Sunday of October and make the corresponding decision by August 17, 2018.
Taking into account the above, Reanimation Package of Reforms demands from the Central Election Commission to: