Opora
On 6 November 2018, a decision of Kyiv District Administrative Court concerning an administrative claim from MP of Ukraine Artem Vitko against the Ministry of Regional Construction and 34 city councils was published on the Register of Court Decisions. Thus, the Court has decided on 2 November to satisfy the administrative claim from the MP, and terminated decisions of city councils concerning voluntary uniting until the end of controversy. This court measure directly concerns 34 UTCs, where the first local elections were appointed for 23 December and the election process has already started.

Future events depend on CEC's decision on whether it should accept or deny the court decision as a basis for canceling the election process, which had already started. OPORA believes that on 1 November 2018 the CEC created a precedent for canceling an already launched election (the first and by-elections in 4 UTCs in Donetsk, Zhytomyr, and Vinnytsia oblasts). It is important to prevent destabilization of the first local elections, which have already started on 3 November, and take every necessary measure to guarantee citizen rights.

According to OPORA, the current legislation, bylaws, decisions of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU), and court practices do not give any grounds for cancellation of an election after its start. Periodicity of elections and sticking to the principle of legal certainty in an election process are two important conditions for any democratic election, and each state is obliged to follow them. A possibility to cancel an election process after its start is not only a violation of voting rights, but also a threat to the stability of election process. OPORA believes that the practices involving court challenges against decisions of communities to unite should be put in question. These decisions are non-normative legal acts of a local self-government body, created for a single use and terminated after implementation. We would like to emphasize that the plaintiff doesn’t challenge decisions, actions, or inaction of oblast state administrations, authorized to verify legitimacy of uniting processes before they are send for consideration of the CEC for appointment of the first elections.

The plaintiff asked the court:

  • To consider inaction of the Ministry of Regional Construction as illegal, particularly the absence of information about violations in creation and uniting of territorial communities, in its monthly monitoring of the government decentralization process and the reforming of local self-government in each region of Ukraine separately. 
  • Consider illegal and cancel decisions of 34 local councils on voluntary uniting of territorial communities.
  • To oblige the Ministry of Regional Construction to delete information about the creation of 34 united territorial communities, where the election process has already started, from its monthly monitoring of the government decentralization process and the reforming of local self-government.

The MP suggested a set of measures satisfying his claim: termination of city councils' decisions concerning voluntary uniting; obliging the CEC and TECs to stop any activities related to the election of local self-government bodies in UTCs; canceling CEC resolutions on the number of electoral districts in these elections and the distribution of state subventions for organization of election process. Besides that, the plaintiff asked the court to ban candidate registration by TECs, creation of PECs, printing ballot papers, and realization of other responsibilities.

Kyiv District Administrative Court decided to apply administrative measures, particularly to terminate decisions of city councils concerning voluntary uniting of territorial communities. No other measures, suggested by the MP, were applied. Thus, the CEC and other commissions were not prohibited to implement their responsibilities in election administration.

See the Court decision at: http://www.reyestr.court.gov.ua/Review/77588064

OPORA's comment concerning the cancellation of CEC's decision on organization of the first and by-elections in 4 UTCs in Donetsk, Zhytomyr, and Vinnytsia oblasts is here.

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