Rada extends law on special self-governance procedures in ORDLO by one year
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has extended the law on the special procedure of local self-governance in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (ORDLO) for one year until December 31, 2020.
Some 320 Members of Parliament voted in favor of respective bill No. 2569 at the morning parliamentary sitting on Thursday, according to an Interfax-Ukraine reporter.
The document was backed by 220 votes from the Servant of the People faction, 33 – from the Opposition Platform – For Life faction, 23 – from the European Solidarity faction, 16 – from the For Life faction, 14 – from the Dovira (Trust) faction, and 13 – from independent MPs.
Eighteen members of the Holos faction and one member of the Batkivschyna faction voted against the bill.
Nineteen MPs refrained from voting, including 15 members of the Batkivschyna faction, one from each the Servant of the People and the Dovira factions, and two independent MPs.
Twenty-two MPs did not participate in the voting.
Fifth President of Ukraine, member of the European Solidarity faction Petro Poroshenko said from the tribune ahead of the voting that his faction has reasons for not supporting the extension of the bill, still the faction would vote in favor of the document.
"[President of Russia Vladimir] Putin dreams of the cancellation of the bill on the special status of Donbas. If we vote in favor, we will help our army to hold the line with fewer losses. The diplomats should continue working in coalition. We are state-minded people. We do not change our principles. That is why we vote in favor," Poroshenko said.
The bill extends for the one year the temporary special procedure of local self-governance in the ORDLO in line with Article 1 of the law Ukraine on the special procedure of local self-governance in some districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The law on the special procedure of local self-governance in the ORDLO was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in September 2014 and entered into force on October 18, 2014 for a period of three years. The document provides that the special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donbas enters into force only "after all the conditions set forth in Article 10 of the law are met, in particular with regard to the withdrawal of all illegal armed groups, their military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine."
In particular, Article 10 of this law (transitional provisions) establishes that the special procedure for local self-government is implemented exclusively by local self-government bodies, which will be elected in early elections. This article also spells out the conditions without which elections in the ORDLO are impossible, among the conditions are the withdrawal of illegal armed groups and military equipment from Ukraine, guarantees of free will, observation of elections, including representatives of international organizations, prevention of unlawful interference in the electoral process, observance of the principles of political pluralism and freedom of agitation.
Later, the Verkhovna Rada more than once extended the duration of this law for a year. On October 4, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament supported the presidential legislative initiative, which will introduce a special procedure for local self-government in the ORDLO from the day the relevant law comes into force for a period until December 31, 2019.
On December 9, 2019, following the Normandy Format summit in Paris, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said, "That's right, the existing legislation will be submitted for extension. It's easier for us to extend this legislation now and then submit the Steinmeier formula later, after we see certain steps from that side showing that we are approaching a de-escalation."