Kyiv, February 8, 2016. “It has never happened in an independent state that a court would stop the course of elections with its decision. It is a precedent when a decision issued by the Kyiv city administrative court stops the course of elections to district-level councils in Kyiv,” said Serhiy Gusovsky, Head of “Samopomich” faction at the Kyiv City Council speaking at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. He said the Central Election Commission (CEC) is not duly performing its functions stipulated by the Constitution of Ukraine to secure uninterrupted election course. In this regard “Samopomich” faction at the Kyiv City Council will appeal to the court regarding inaction of the CEC. Several factions at the Kyiv City Council have united into the so-called “Ad-hoc coalition” to secure the legal right of Kyiv residents to elect district-level councils. They also spoke against annulling elections to district-level councils in the city.
“Twenty one in Madrid, 20 in Paris, 12 in Berlin, 18 in Warsaw and zero in Kyiv. That’s the number of local self-governance bodies at the district level. Kyiv is nearly the only capital in Europe that has its power completely centralized,” said Anastasia Shymchuk, Head of Kyiv office of “Democratic Alliance” party. She said the civil society of Kyiv is fully excluded from decision-making at basic level. She also explained that it is almost impossible to exercise pressure upon a member of a local-level council. Shymchuk noted that “local authorities are actually abusing city resources” in Kyiv today. Such daunting problems of Kyiv residents as illegal construction, space illegally used for advertising, commercial stalls that block access to metro stations need to be resolved at the district level in the city, noted Head of Kyiv office of “Democratic Alliance”.
It is not possible to talk about decentralization in Ukraine and deny local self-governance in Kyiv, said Yuriy Surotyuk, Head of “Svoboda” faction at the Kyiv City Council. “Is it possible to talk about decentralization in Ukraine while there is direct presidential management in the districts of Kyiv that are the largest districts in the country? Heads of district-level city administrations appointed by the President totally disregard citizens’ opinion,” Syrotyuk is convinced. Moreover there are Kyiv districts not represented at the city council, thus the principle of local self-governance stipulating that each territorial unit needs be represented is violated. “Elections to district-level councils are to ‘fill this gap’,” said Head of “Svoboda” faction at the Kyiv City Council.
According to Tetyana Melikhova, secretary of “Batkivshyna” faction at the Kyiv City Council, authorities are afraid that the territorial community will number 10 district-level councils. Each council gets together and elects the head from civil society. According to the law head of the district-level council needs to be appointed by the head of administration. “That’s what the current struggle is centered around,” stated Melikhova.
Speakers said that elections to district-level councils of Kyiv need to take place on March 27, annulling the elections through controlled judges is inacceptable. Representatives of other political forces joined the statement including Roman Mykhailov, Head of Kyiv office of “Syla Lyudey” party, Dmytro Simansky, Head of Kyiv Office of “Ukrop” party, Oleksiy Hrytsenko, Head of Kyiv office of “Hromadyanska pozytsia” organization and Artem Nikolayenko, Deputy Head of regional Kyiv office of “Respublika” party. They appealed to the President of Ukraine drawing attention to processes linked to justice and political crisis. Several factions at the Kyiv City Council will initiate considering the appeal to the President on returning elections to district-level councils at the council session on February 11, the speakers said.
They also reminded that the court is to consider the case of postponing elections on February 9. On February 11 the appeal will be considered that pertains to annulling of the decision by judge Ogurtsova to postpone elections.