09:45 05.11.2014

Poroshenko ready to set new date for elections in some areas of Donbas

4 min read
Poroshenko ready to set new date for elections in some areas of Donbas

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called for passing new legislation setting a new date for local elections in some territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

"We are ready to adopt new legislation and set a new election date," Poroshenko said in opening a meeting of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council in Kyiv on Tuesday.

"We are ready to clearly outline the territory where, in line with Ukrainian law, these elections will be held and where special local government procedures will be in effect. Moreover, we are ready to ensure a special free economic area regime where businesses registered in these territories would have a special regime of economic relations with the EU and a special regime of economic relations with Russia," Poroshenko said.

He said he hoped the parliament would support his proposal on repealing the law on specifics of local self-government in some areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

At the same time, Poroshenko said the repeal of this law would not mean that Ukraine departs from the Minsk agreements and the peace process. "The repeal of this law absolutely doesn't mean our departure from the Minsk agreements," he said.

Ukraine will not be able to properly organize and hold such elections before December 7, the date for which local elections in certain parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions had been scheduled in line with this law, he said.

A new law on holding elections in these areas should be adopted when the Ukrainian authorities see a durable ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, when the troops are withdrawn, when the contact line indicated in the Minsk agreements is clearly demarcated, when resolute steps are taken toward freeing all captives, including those held in Russia, and when Ukraine sees that the effects of the November 2 elections in the DPR and LPR are annulled.

The Ukrainian law on special self-government procedures in certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions took effect on October 20. The Verkhovna Rada had passed the law on September 16, and Poroshenko signed it on October 16.

The law stipulates that, while the special self-government procedures in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are in effect, Ukrainian law in these areas is supposed to be applied taking into account the specifics stipulated by this legislation. In line with the law, cities, towns and villages will be governed by their territorial communities through local administrations in accordance with the constitution and other laws of Ukraine.

The powers of the local councils and officials elected during snap elections in line with Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Law No.1680-VII will be terminated ahead of time. The forthcoming snap elections to the legislatures in cities, towns and villages, as well as the elections of the heads of cities, towns and villages in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, have been set for December 7, 2014.

The special self-government procedures were introduced in the said territories temporarily, for three years from the moment the law took effect.

The document also determines the way activities of local self-government bodies of these territories would be coordinated with those of the central executive government bodies.

The law determines mechanisms of state support for socioeconomic development of certain districts in the two regions through introducing a different regime of economic and investment activities aimed at rebuilding industrial facilities, infrastructure, and housing, reorienting the industrial resources, and creating new jobs.

The state guarantees that individuals involved in the events in those districts will not be held administratively or criminally liable. Public order in the said districts will be maintained by people's militia units to be created by local government bodies.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics held elections of their heads and legislative bodies on November 2 in keeping with the rules they set themselves. The elections were not recognized by either Kyiv or the West, while Moscow indicated that it respected the way the population in eastern Ukraine expressed their will.