After the victory of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s team in the snap parliamentary elections, more and more people talk about possible early local elections in Kyiv. The conflict of Kyiv city mayor Vitali Klitschko with the current government only piques interest. Some sources report that local elections in Kyiv might be held on December 8. But first things first.
Kyiv city mayor and head of the Kyiv city administration
On July 22, it was announced that the Servant of the People party, which received a majority in the Ukrainian parliament, is initiating a bill that would divide the offices Kyiv city mayor and head of the Kyiv city administration.
For his part, Klitschko said that the deprivation of the elected mayor of his executive powers means using methods from the time of runaway president Viktor Yanukovych and the deprivation of the local self-governance. Klitschko added that in the case of the distribution of powers, he would initiate early elections of the Kyiv mayor.
Despite all the vicissitudes with the post of head of the Kyiv city administration, Vitali Klitschko still holds the mayor’s office, that is, and no one can deprive him of this.
The two offices - the chairman of the Kyiv city administration and the chairman of the Kyiv city council (mayor) - are tightly joined. This is regulated by a decision of the Constitutional Court (of 2003).
"The Kyiv city state administration should be headed only by a person, elected by the Kyiv mayor, appointed by the president as the chairman of the Kyiv city administration. As chairman of the Kyiv city administration, the Kyiv city head of executive power is accountable to the president of Ukraine and the Cabinet of Ministers, accountable and controlled by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine," the court decision said.
Klitschko vs Zelesnky’s team
Further, Andriy Bogdan, head of President’s Office, joined the conflict. During a press conference, Bogdan said that Vitali Klitschko should leave the post of head of the Kyiv City State Administration in accordance with part 2 of art. 8 of the law on local state administrations (which states that heads of state administrations are appointed and dismissed by the president on the proposal of the Cabinet of Ministers for the term of office of the president). Bogdan called on to dismiss of the chairman of the Kyiv city state administration. In addition, the head of the Presidential Office underlined the existence of the so-called institute of underbosses in the Kyiv city administration. However, he allowed appointing Klitschko as a speaker of the Kyiv city administration.
Klitschko called accused the head of the Presidential Office of manipulating the Constitution and laws.
After it, Kyiv mayor visited New York, where he met with ex-mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the lawyer of the current US President Donald Trump. Formally, the meeting was devoted to the problems of local self-governance. It looked like the mayor of Kyiv was seeking political support.
On September 4, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the dismissal of Vitali Klitschko from the post of head of the Kyiv City State Administration. The Cabinet of Ministers has already appealed to President Zelensky regarding the dismissal of Klitschko. The latter himself said that the Cabinet’s submission to dismiss him from the post of head of the Kyiv City State Administration was illegal and contradicted to the Constitution.
Article 141 of the Constitution reads that " Territorial communities elect for a four-year-term on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage, by secret ballot, the village, settlement and city head, respectively, who leads the executive body of the council and presides at its meetings. The term of authority of the Head of village, settlement, city, district and oblast council, elected at the regular election is five years. The regular election of the village, settlement, city, district and oblast councils, village, settlement, city heads are held on the last Sunday of October of the fifth year of the authority of the respective Council or the respective Head, elected at a regular election." It follows that the next local elections in Ukraine should be held on October 25, 2020.
According to paragraph 3 of Art. 14 of the Law "On Local Elections", extraordinary local elections are called by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in case of early termination of powers of the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, regional, district, city, district in the city, village, village council, village, village, city mayor, as well in other cases stipulated by the respective laws. Such a decision shall be adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine no later than 90 days from the date of early termination of powers of the Verkhovna Rada of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the relevant local council, village, town, mayor.
According to Art. 78 of the Law of Ukraine "On Local Self-Government", the termination of powers of local councils might take place:
- if the local council (city, town, etc.) has made a decision in violation of the Constitution, other laws, rights and freedoms of citizens, while ignoring the requirements of the competent authorities to bring such decisions into line with the law;
- sessions of the local council are not held on time without valid reasons or the council does not resolve issues within its competence;
- provided for by the laws "On civil-military administrations", "On the legal regime of martial law."
The parliament has a right to call early elections of local heads and councils if the court declares their orders or actions illegal and the conclusions of the relevant parliamentary committee are found.
In addition, the question of calling early elections of a village, city, a district in a city, district, the regional council might be raised before the Verkhovna Rada by a corresponding local administration.
The mayor of Kyiv is elected by the territorial community of the city on the basis of universal, equal, direct suffrage by secret ballot in the manner prescribed by law, and exercises its powers on an ongoing basis. The powers of the Kyiv mayor are determined by the Law of Ukraine "On Local Self-Government in Ukraine" and the Law "On the Capital of Ukraine - Hero City of Kyiv."
The powers of the village, town, mayor are considered to be prematurely terminated in the event of:
1) his appeal with a personal statement to the appropriate council on the resignation of the powers of the chairman;
2) termination of his citizenship;
3) the entry into force of a guilty verdict against him;
3 a) the entry into force of a court decision on bringing him to justice for an offense related to corruption, which imposed deprivation of the right to take offices or make activities related to the local government;
4) recall from the office on the popular initiative;
5) declaring him incompetent, missing, or declaring him dead;
6) his death.
In addition, the powers of the village, township, the mayor may also be prematurely terminated if he violates the Constitution or laws of Ukraine, the rights and freedoms of citizens, does not ensure the exercise of the powers granted to him.
Livy Bereh outlet, citing sources in the Servant of the People, reports that theoretically local elections in Kyiv could be held on December 8.
At the same time, Oleksandr Kornienko, the deputy chairman of Servant of the People faction, noted that the election of the Kyiv mayor and deputies of Kyiv City Council may take place after decentralization is completed.
The new version of the law "On the Capital" might abolish the post of chairman of the Kyiv city administration, and prefects might replace regional administrations.
In addition, some experts argue that even if early elections are held in the near future, urgent elections will still be held in the fall of 2020. That is, no matter how things turn out now, the elections to the city council would be held in October next year, according to the plan.