President signs changes to law on special local government order in Donbas
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a bill into law on amendments to Article 10 of the Law on Special Order of Local Government in certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Law No. 256-VIII, which was passed by the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday, is aimed at normalizing the social and political situation and ensuring proper operation of local government agencies in these districts through holding early elections of local deputies and heads in regional districts, cities, towns and villages, municipal and rural districts.
The amendments to Article 10 of the Law on Special Order of Local Government in certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions introduce Clauses 4 and 5, which determine the date of entry of some of its provisions into force. Thus, paragraph 4 states that Articles 2-9 of the abovementioned law will become effective from the date when local authorities elected during the early elections in certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions start performing their duties.
The document also stipulates that the will of citizens should be expressed in accordance with the Constitution of Ukraine, this and other laws, in compliance with the principles of general, equal, free and transparent elections, as well as openness and transparency of the electoral process as the basic principles of election law, established by the Ukrainian Constitution and international democratic standards.
During the election process, it is mandatory that OSCE standards for democratic elections should be observed, according to the new law. International unbiased observers, particularly those from the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, other international organizations and foreign governments, as well as other official observers should be allowed to monitor the local elections in Donbas. Their safety conditions should be ensured.
The new law also stresses the need for the withdrawal of all illegal armed groups and their military equipment, fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine to prevent their unlawful interference in the election process.
Elections must be held in compliance with the principles of political and party pluralism, equality of rights and opportunities to participate in the electoral process. The freedom of campaigning, equal access to the media should be ensured for all participants in the electoral process.
In this connection, Ukrainian television and radio broadcasts should be restored along with the circulation of Ukrainian print media throughout Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The law is to become effective since the day of its publication.