"The Congress of the Council of Europe next week organizes in Kyiv a conference on the electoral rights of the internally displaced persons at the local level in Ukraine. We aim to discuss the steps needed to ensure the participation of the IDPs in elections," head of the service of statutory activities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Renate Zikmund said in an exclusive commentary to an Ukrinform correspondent in Strasbourg.
Zikmund reminded that the Council of Europe had experience in monitoring the local elections in Ukraine, in particular, last time such monitoring was conducted in 2015.
"Then the issue of guaranteeing the electoral rights of temporarily displaced persons in the territory of Ukraine arose. It is also linked with the problem of migration across Europe," she said.
"We hope that we will have effective, open dialogue with our Ukrainian partners in Kyiv. It’s important to present, discuss and implement in Ukraine the best practices of the European countries, which faced similar difficulties in this field," Zikmund stressed.
The Congress representative also noted that there was very positive progress in the reform of decentralization in Ukraine.
At the same time, Zikmund admitted that the situation with the enforcement of the electoral rights of Ukrainians living in the temporarily occupied territories was complicated.
"Indeed, there are people, who live in the non-government controlled areas but are eager to take part in the elections. We know about such a situation. But this remains an open question. We have no answer to it. This, in fact, may be a talking point with Ukrainian partners in Kyiv. The Congress is open for such a discussion," Zikmund said.
As a reminder, the Russian aggression has forced about 1.5 million people to leave the occupied territories and move to other regions of Ukraine.
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