Due to such legal conflict, 48 MPs have appealed to the Constitutional Court to explain the legislation on local elections in Kyiv. Meanwhile, the opposition threatens to block the work of the city council the very day acting Kyiv city council's term of service is expired (June 3).
To clarify the situation about forthcoming elections of the city mayor and council, ForUm asked MPs and political scientists.
Volodymyr Oliynyk: MP (Party of Regions):
- Kyiv does need local elections, but they must be held legally. First of all we should decide whom we elect - a powerless mayor who will perform a representative function only or a true city head who will govern the capital. Moreover, the Constitutional Court must solve the question of timing.
Even if we appoint the date and hold local elections this summer, there is a chance that the results may be challenged or recognized illicit, as the law on local elections says local elections must be held simultaneously countrywide. We do not need claims from international or Ukrainian observers about non-transparent and unfair elections.
It is hard to tell when the Constitutional Court will be ready to announce the decision, but we did ask to consider this issue urgently. It would be good if the decision comes in April.
The opposition tries to cover all possible outcomes: if it wins the local elections, it will pretend no conflict of law has ever existed, but if it loses, it will cry out about violation of the procedure.
Volodymyr Fesenko, political expert, head of the "Penta" center for political research:
- The question on the date of Kyiv local elections is still open, and the decision of the Constitutional Court remains the main intrigue. The paradox is that the term of service of the acting mayor expires this summer, but according to the law, the next local elections are scheduled for 2015.
There are two variants to solve the issue: to postpone mayor elections until 2015 or to hold early elections. In the second case, a mayor-elect will serve only for two years, until the countrywide local elections in 2015.
I am almost sure that Kyiv mayor elections will not be held on June 2, just because there is no time. I doubt the Constitutional Court will take a decision within one or two weeks. It needs more time for consideration. And if the Constitutional Court makes decisions in favor of this year elections, they may take place not earlier than July.
If the elections are not scheduled for this year, but postponed until 2015, the opposition will most probably hold protest actions and block the city council. Same old.
Vadym Kolesnichenko, MP (Party of Regions):
- If the opposition had not blocked the parliament b for two months, this question would have already been solved. What we have now is a conflict of law, and we must wait or the decision of the Constitutional Court. There is no point to speculate about the date before CC decision is announced.
Kost Bondarenko, political scientist, chairman of the Institute of Ukrainian politics:
- Elections should be held this year, if not on June 2, then some days later - June 6 or 16, etc. The fact is that after June 2 the Kyiv council will be illegitimate. Of course, the council will continue functioning by the principle of going concern, but every decision made after June 2 can be challenged in court and cancelled.
I am sure none of the parties wants this, thus the elections will take place this year. I believe the mayor election and elections of the city council members will be appointed for the same date.
Volodymyr Lupatski, political scientist, executive director of the Center for social study "Sofia":
- The problem of mayor elections in Kyiv is a part of the bigger problem concerning the status of local self-governments. I want to remind that not only Kyiv stays without a mayor, but also Mykolaiv, Yalta and Chernovtsy. The whole system of self-government faces total collapse. What we need is to reform this system.
Other post-soviet countries, current members of the EU, have conducted the reform of local self-government and have pushed the development of civil society and institutes of political system. Ukraine should follow the example. Adoption of other laws may not help. We need this reform to distance from the soviet past once and for all.
Oleh Lyashko, MP (non-factional):
- I stand for holding elections on June 2, but I doubt the majority will give without a fight. The chances are that the ruling party will lose the elections if they are held this year, and for this the parliamentary majority delays the consideration of this issue. Such plan does not meet the interests of Kyiv residents. If the ruling party does not vote for holding local elections this summer, the Radical party will organize the elections by itself. We will call on the public, we will form strike committees and election commissions. Moreover, we propose to hold a local referendum on combining the powers of the mayor and the head of the Kyiv city state administration, on reduction of the number of Kyiv council deputies and on keeping local revenues in the state budget (currently a major part of the Kyiv budget revenues is sent to the state budget). With our own money, we will be able to fix roads, buildings, hospitals, schools, etc.
Vasyl Stoyakin, political scientist, director of the Center for political marketing:
- The authorities have a bad tradition of considering local elections as an optional procedure. If they want to hold elections, they appoint a date, but if they do not want, they postpone the process. Similar situation happened in 2010, when local elections were postponed for two months without any legal reason.
I have an impression the Kyiv elections will not take place soon, as the parliament does not have a critical mass of MPs to decide on the election date unconditionally. Moreover, the opposition behaves strangely. On one hand, the opposition demands holding elections on June 2, but on the other hand, it insists on introducing amendments to the law in order to combine the powers of Kyiv mayor and the head of the Kyiv administration. They are well aware it is impossible to accomplish before June 2.
Oles Doniy, MP (non-factional):
- According to the law, local elections must be held at the end of May, but the ruling party does not want to hold them now, when the oppositional moods prevail in the capital. When the ruling parties MPs do not want to hold elections, they do not listen to any arguments and simply do not vote. With such attitude, Kyiv has not held local elections for two years already. The MPs invent various excuses and plots to postpone the process, and this includes the appeal to the Constitutional Court. Knowing how the Constitutional Court solves issues the ruling party is interested in I can assume that the elections will be postponed until 2015.
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