On May, 11, 2021, the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals held illegal and repealed the Resolution of the Central Election Commission on unfeasibility to have the first elections of local deputies in certain village, township, and city councils of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and for respective village, township, and city heads on October, 25, 2020.

OPORA found the information from several unrelated sources.

Thus, the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals considered a case No 855/25/20 under the lawsuit against the Central Election Commission claiming to cancel its Resolution No 161 of August, 8, 2020. Regional state civil and military administrations of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts acted as the third parties.

On August, 12, 2020, a claimant took an action to the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals claiming to hold illegal and repeal the Resolution of the Central Election Commission “On Unfeasibility of the First Elections of Deputies in Certain Village, Township, and City Councils in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and for Respective Village, Township, and City Heads on 25.10.2020” dated 08.08.2020, No 161.

The Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals forwarded the claim according to the jurisdiction – to the District Administrative Court of Kyiv City.

In their lawsuit, the claimant stated he lived on the territory of Severodonetsk city territorial community of Luhansk Oblast, thus the CEC’s adoption of the contested resolution infringed on the active and passive suffrage of the claimant to elect and be elected to local self-government.

The District Administrative Court dismissed the claim stating that if the elections failed to take place on October, 25, the CEC Resolution was enforced. Therefore, the consideration of its illegality and repeal after October, 25, would not resume the claimant’s challenged right.

The claimant submitted an appeal against this decision, and the Sixth Administrative Court of Appeals repealed the decision of the District Administrative Court, and satisfied the claims in full. Therefore, the CEC resolution was thereby declared illegal and repealed. 

The ruling of the court of appeals shall come into force from its adoption date and may be contested under cassational procedure in the Supreme Court within 30 days from the day of finalizing the complete court decision.

The full text of the court ruling is expected in 5 days.

To update, on August, 8, 2020, the Central Election commission relied on the opinions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast civil and military administrations and declared it impossible to have the first local elections on October, 25, 2020, in 10 territorial communities in Donetsk Oblast, and in 8 communities in Luhansk Oblast. In particular, the local elections have not been held in the de facto Oblast capital of Luhansk region, Severodonetsk, and in other, rather big communities in the two regions (Lysychansk, Volnovakha, Avdiyivka, Vuhledar, Toretsk, Stanytsia Luhanska, Popasna, Shchastia, etc.). The CEC decision attracted public attention among voters in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, especially in communities where voting did take place at all national and local elections in 2014-2019. 

On January, 16, 2021, the CEC received the opinions from Donetsk and Luhansk Oblast Civil and Military Administrations about security threats to voters on the territory of the 18 communities, and held it impossible to have local elections on March, 28, in these places.

OPORA has multiple times urged the respective public authorities to initiate the discussion of legal regulation options for local elections in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, and develop certain criteria for the decision not to have elections.

The G7 ambassadors also expressed their hopes about resuming voter rights in the 18 communities.

At the first session of the Working Group on Improvements of Electoral Law under the auspices of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Organization of State Power, Regional Development, Local Self-Government, and Urban Planning, proposals were made to develop the criteria disabling the elections, and to visit Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts to explore the matter on the ground. 

Besides, OPORA developed a  concept for resolving an issue with elections feasibility  in certain communities of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.