President Viktor Yushchenko believes it is one of the nation’s "key priorities" to ensure that its local governments work effectively and said in a speech to open a meeting with Ukraine’s local officials on Wednesday he was going to propose laws aimed at improving the organization and functioning of local governments, President’s press office reports.

Yushchenko said there were quite a few problems in this area: “There are some legislative initiatives which have deepened Ukraine’s constitutional crisis. …Lots of conflicts have been created at the level of local governments, like those between self-government bodies and local executives,” he said and added that the central government was also often in conflict with local governments. “There are big discussions regarding [their] status, powers and delegated functions.”

Yushchenko said some problems were “inherited” and could be resolved through legislative means while some were caused by the ongoing election campaign. “Somebody wants to restore the old pyramid of councils, which is, no doubt, a flagrant violation of the status of local self-government,” he said and added that the central Government should have a “constructive vision beyond the election” of how to harmonize its relations with local governments and resolve all the problems.

The President asked the country’s local officials and governors to prepare their localities for this month’s snap parliamentary election. “This is your direct obligation, your direct responsibility,” he said, demanding the governors ensure that observers can monitor the poll without any problems. “These missionaries should feel their high status and possibility to perform their functions.”


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