No separate status for occupied areas of Donbas laid down in Constitutional amendments draft – MP

No separate status for occupied areas of Donbas laid down in Constitutional amendments draft – MP

Ukrinform
The temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will be granted no special status in the upcoming amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine regarding decentralization.

That’s according to MP Vitaliy Bezgin (SoP), Chairman of the Parliament Subcommittee at the Committee on State Power organization, Local Self-Government, Regional Development, and Urban Planning, who spoke with Ukrinform in an interview.

"There will be no status for ORDLO (occupied areas – ed.) in the document, there’s no need for them there. This is a clear position of President of Ukraine and our Verkhovna Rada Committee. The country has been reforming toward decentralization since 2014, which provides for increased powers for all local governments and development opportunities for all regions," said Bezgin.

After Donetsk and Luhansk regions are liberated, they will be developing as part of decentralization reform, like any other region across Ukraine.

Read also: Chernyshov, Kvien discuss decentralization reform in Ukraine

"There are no grounds, except fantasies and the intention to destroy Ukrainian statehood on the part of the Russian Federation, to implement the special status of ORDLO in the Basic Law. Therefore, there can be no such thing. Moreover, there will be no ‘hooks’ to implement it in any other way," said the people's deputy.

Asked about the safeguards against local councils’ moves to initiate decisions going beyond their powers and contrary to the interests of the state, Bezgin said: If the decisions of local councils threaten territorial integrity, there will be an immediate response. "

According to Bezgin, in introducing the post of prefect, his main function will be to coordinate and monitor the legality of decisions passed on the ground. If deputies in any territorial community try to pass decisions that violate rights and freedoms of citizens, a prefect, as a representative of the central government, shall intervene.

The parliamentarian also believes that the Verkhovna Rada should consider amendments to the Constitution in terms of decentralization as early as by year-end. He noted that the process of finding compromises on the text is underway “to satisfy a large number of political stakeholders.”

According to the parliamentarian, the major problem is to shift the discussion on amendments to the Constitution from the political to the constructive plane, that is, to finalize the text.

Read also: More than half of Ukrainians ready to take up arms to defend Ukraine – Ukroboronprom CEO

As Ukrinform reported earlier, in December 2019, President Volodymyr Zelensky submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on amendments to the Constitution regarding decentralization of power.

In January 2020, following expert, local government-level, and public discussions, the amendments were withdrawn from Parliament for further revision.

Since then, work has continued on developing a new version of amendments to the Constitution in terms of decentralization.

It was also reported that the President's envoy to the Constitutional Court, MP Fedir Venislavsky (SoP), said late June that a bill to amend the Constitution in terms of decentralization could be tabled in the Verkhovna Rada as early as the next session. He predicted that the bill would pass first reading or be tentatively approved by the end of the calendar year.

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