Zelensky signs law on prolongation of special status of local self-government in certain parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions for a year
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has signed bill No. 2569 adopted by the parliament on the extension until the end of 2020 of the law on the special procedure for local self-government in certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The law adopted on December 12 was returned with the president's signature on December 18, an official website of the Ukrainian parliament reported.
As reported, 320 members of Parliament voted in favor of extending the validity of the law on the special procedure for local self-government in certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The law on the special procedure of local self-governance in certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions 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 certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions 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 certain regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions 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."