Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The Central Election Commission (CEC) emphasised to subjects and other participants of the electoral process concerning the local elections held in regions where martial law has been introduced the need to strictly observe the requirements of part one of article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On a legal regime of martial law” about a ban on elections.
This was stated by the CEC at a meeting on November 29th, during which members of the commission considered some issues with the organisation of preparation and the carrying out local elections in certain regions of Ukraine where martial law has been imposed. This was reported by the press center of the CEC.
As a reminder, in October the CEC appointed the first village, town, and city council deputy elections, as well as elections for the corresponding chairpeople and mayors of 125 united territorial communities (UTC) in 22 regions. They have to take place on December 23rd.
Thus, because of martial law, the 45 first and 7 additional elections appointed for December 23rd, and also 19 mid-term elections that have to take place in the next few weeks, won’t take place.
As was stated by the CEC, the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On the Introduction of martial law in Ukraine”, approved by Law of Ukraine No. 2630-VIII from November 26th 2018, imposed martial law in Ukraine from 14:00 on November 26th, 2018 for a period of 30 days until 14:00 on December 26th, 2018 with the reservation that martial law is imposed in Vinnytsia, Lugansk, Nikolaev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Chernigov, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and the Kherson regions, as well as the internal waters of Ukraine in the Azov-Kerch water zone.
According to part one of article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On a legal regime of the martial law”, in the conditions of martial law presidential elections, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine elections, Verkhovna Rada of Crimea elections [Ukraine pretends that it still owns Crimea – ed], and local governmental elections are forbidden.
At the same time, in the Vinnytsia, Donetsk, Zaporozhye, Lugansk, Nikolaev, Odessa, Sumy, Kharkov, Kherson, and Chernigov regions during the period for which martial law is imposed the first and additional local elections appointed by the Central Election Commission, and also the mid-term and repeated local elections intended by the corresponding territorial election commissions, will be held. In this regard the commission emphasised to subjects and other participants of the electoral process concerning local elections held in regions where martial law was introduced the need to strictly observe the requirements of part one of article 19 of the Law of Ukraine “On a legal regime of the martial law” about the ban on elections.
Thus, it is defined that the issue of appointing local elections in the specified regions will be sorted out by the subjects responsible for appointing them in the order determined by the legislation of Ukraine after the termination or cancellation of martial law.
As “Uspishna Varta” specified in the report “Political and civil rights and freedoms in Ukraine: monitoring of observance in 2014-2018”, the Law “On amendments to some laws of Ukraine concerning the organisation of carrying out the first elections of deputies in local councils and rural, town, and city leaders” was adopted on September 4, 2015. Powers to appoint the first UTC elections were delegated to the Central Election Commission. On October 29th 2017 the first elections in 201 UTC took place. On December 24 of the same year elections took place in 51 UTC in 17 regions.
According to the estimates of public observers, the electoral process was accompanied by the unequal application of legislation by election commissions and other subjects of the electoral process. New legislative opportunities for UTC, including those belonging adjacent regions, weren’t harmonised with other laws and created a number of legal conflicts, which is inadmissible for a high-quality electoral process. This created the ground for election commissions to manipulate the legal norms and to make controversial decisions.
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