Committee of Electors of Ukraine: Politicians wage undeclared war on decentralization reform

Committee of Electors of Ukraine: Politicians wage undeclared war on decentralization reform
September 12, 2016.

Members of different political parties refuse from previously express support for the reform and don’t fulfill the promises. Hindering the reform impacts especially badly the social sphere.

Kyiv, September 12, 2016. Decentralization is a basic reform. If it is not launched properly, it would be impossible to reform law enforcement, health care, schools, prosecution, judiciary, etc. – eventually, all tied to administrative-territorial reform. This was stated by Oleksiy Koshel, Director General of All-Ukrainian Non-Governmental Organization “Committee of Electors of Ukraine”, at a briefing held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “Decentralization reform was promised by all parliamentary forces, it is given significant attention in the Coalition Agreement – as many as 72 points,” noted Mr. Koshel. He explained that they had analyzed politicians’ election programs, statements of heads of parties, presidential candidates and MPs, the Coalition agreement and come to certain conclusions.

According to Oleksiy Koshel, firstly, political parties and politicians do not fulfill their campaign promises. “As a part of the decentralization reform, the Verkhovna Rada has adopted 12 laws and voted on five draft laws in the first reading over the entire convocation period. MPs from “People’s Front” and “Petro Poroshenko Bloc” were the most active. “Opposition Bloc” did not vote for those 12 laws at all. No MP from “Batkivshchyna” supported the draft law which was to unlock elections to united local communities representing different areas. It was just a technical issue, and there was no point looking for any political basis,” said Mr. Koshel.

Another problem is that politicians criticize the laws which they have supported earlier. According to Mr. Koshel, “Radical Party” and “Batkivshchyna” have voted for association of local communities, and then made statements about unconstitutionality and unreasonableness of Kyiv’s interference in these issues. “The issue of decentralization should be depoliticized. Most likely, the law on unification of communities will be voted down in the second reading. If the law is not adopted until the end of this year, communities will receive no financial resources for the next year,” stressed Oleksiy Koshel. According to him, this situation may affect half a million citizens.

According to Denys Rybachok, expert of all-Ukrainian non-governmental organization “Committee of electors of Ukraine, politicians are waging an undeclared war against decentralization. “None of the factions has stated that they are against the reform and consider it unnecessary for Ukrainian society. Although all factions favor the reform, their actions contradict their words. Kherson Regional Council advocated the abolition of a roadmap of unification of communities – the key plan specifying the number of communities to be associated, their boundaries and so on. To abolish it means to make a clean sweep of everything that has been done before,” noted the expert. However, MPs make these steps. According to Mr Rybachok, local deputies make statements that contradict the core ideas of the party and undermine confidence in the reform. “This is a result of misunderstanding. Politicians do not understand and confuse different concepts,” believes Denys Rybachok. According to him, the decentralization reform is now in a condition that it requires legislative actions from politicians, but they are not ready for them.”

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