President’s address on local elections (30.10.2015)
Local elections held on Sunday have completed the restart of the government initiated last year. First of all, I would like to thank everyone for coming to the polling stations and demonstrating concern for the future of the country.
Although, amendments to the Constitution regarding decentralization have been adopted only in the first reading, we have broadened financial opportunities of local self-government approximately by 40% through amendments to the Budget and Tax Codes. That is why you have chosen not simply “assessors”, but full-fledged representatives that gained real opportunities to solve local problems and responsibility.
The election campaign was characterized by a high level of competition, great number of participants and active campaigning.
Certain election commissions, unfortunately, dared violate the law or demonstrated insufficient professionalism. In such exceptional cases, as guarantor of the Constitution, rights and freedoms of citizens, I had to influence the situation, whether it was Mariupol or Pavlohrad.
Certainly, there was still an acute problem of vote-buying by individual candidates, but this time law enforcement bodies provided active reaction to that.
In general, violations were mostly of technical, organizational and procedural nature. According to non-governmental monitoring organizations and a great number of foreign observers, these violations did not influence the results.
Representatives of authoritative international organizations, which have been specially invited to get independent and objective evaluation of the quality of local elections, described them as positive. According to the envoys of the OSCE, Council of Europe, European Parliament, European countries, the elections were free and fair, and met the international standards and European political culture.
These elections have brought us closer to Europe and demonstrated the irreversibility of changes in the country, maturity of society and proper attitude of authorities to democratic procedures.
The number of political parties that will be represented in local councils is much greater than the number of parties represented in the Parliament. More than 20 participants crossed the five percent barrier.
However, the most important thing is that the revenge of anti-Ukrainian forces has not taken place. And it is due to your wisdom, dear Ukrainians!
Political forces of the ruling coalition have gained a decent result. Overall support for pro-European and pro-Ukrainian forces is much bigger than that of the party originating from Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.
In the nearest time, I expect local councils of all levels to form pro-Ukrainian majority capable of adopting efficient decisions and solving problems of local communities.
Emotions in the parliamentary coalition should also fade out promptly. Competition of its members in the local elections has become a real challenge for the coalition.
I call on everyone to bury the hatchet, smoke the pipe of peace and make up for the lag in the pace of reforms.
On the next plenary week, the Parliament should adopt a series of draft law required for the fulfillment of technical conditions by Ukraine for establishing the visa-free regime with the European Union.
Immediately after announcement of election results, I expect proposals from the parliamentary factions regarding the new composition of the Central Election Commission. It is the issue of our agenda.
Once again, I urge all the parties to refrain from crossing the red lines in political competition. Otherwise, the political struggle may become extremely tense and reduce country’s capabilities of confronting external threats.
It is important that the vote took place in the territory of Donbas controlled by Ukraine.
It is the first time when Donetsk and Luhansk regions elected local authorities on a relatively competitive basis. This has never happened there before.
The monopoly of famous political force, which has been forming there for ages, has been ruined for the first time.
Pro-European parties will be represented in the councils of Donetsk and Luhansk regions for the first time. Even more so, they are obliged to coordinate efforts on the control over the activities of local majority.
Those who think they are still in 2004 are wrong. The country has changed and Donbas has changed. It is no longer one’s patrimony. Unfortunately, because of the irresponsibility of a well-known political force, elections in Mariupol were disrupted.
I expect the Parliament to make respective amendments to the law in order to ensure immediate elections in Mariupol.
The elections are held in conditions of severe social crisis. Kremlin military aggression against Ukraine and economic war, in which Russia has almost completely closed market for Ukrainian goods, dealt a powerful blow at the economy and living standards of Ukrainians.
I would like to express gratitude to those who objectively looked at this issue, who appreciated our efforts aimed to establish a truce at the front and macro-financial stability in the rear.
My political party confirmed the status of a national party that unites the country. Not for nothing is it called “Solidarity”. As of today, the party gained the first place in the elections in Kyiv and 14 regional councils from 23 regions where elections were held; in seven regions, the party was the second to reach the finish line. In addition, “Solidarity” will be represented in all district councils of Donbas controlled by Ukraine.
This result is not a reason to celebrate. It implies increased responsibility of the party and me personally. The government in general and I personally are making adequate and self-critical conclusions from the results of the elections.
We see that people demand serious work on mistakes and acceleration of reforms.
And we will act in accordance with this guideline.
Glory to Ukraine!