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KIEV, March 03, /ITAR-TASS/. No referendum in Crimea (autonomy within Ukraine) is possible, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission said on Monday, March 3.
“Under effective Ukrainian legislation no local referendum may be called, prepared and conducted,” the commission’s press service said.
No effective Ukrainian law sets the procedure for conducting local referendums, it said. “Therefore, there is no mechanism for exercising the right of citizens to make decisions of local importance by conducting a local referendum. Under current regulations, any local referendum would be impossible,” the Central Election Commission said.
Article 92 of the Ukrainian Constitution says that “issues of organising and conducting elections and referendums are regulated exclusively by Ukrainian laws” and the Law “On All-Ukrainian and Local Referendums,” which in 1991 regulated issues of initiating and conducting local referendums, is no longer valid.
At the same time, the Crimean parliament on Monday officially changed the date of the referendum on the autonomy’s status and powers from May 25 to March 30.
At its urgent session on February 27, the Crimean parliament adopted a resolution that called a referendum on the autonomy’s status and powers on May 25. The resolution was supported by 61 of 64 registered MPs. Crimean parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov said earlier in the day that “the situation [in the autonomy] remains tense. A conflict was provoked yesterday. Radical elements did not allow us to hold an urgent session. Today I ordered an urgent meeting [of the parliament] to discuss the most pressing issues.”
He stressed that the parliament was the only legitimate body of power in Crimea.
The Crimean parliament presidium earlier made the decision to hold a referendum on the status of the autonomy and expansion of its powers.
“As a result of the unconstitutional seizure of power in Ukraine by radical nationalists with the support of armed gangs, peace and calm in Crimea have been put in danger,” Konstatinov’s spokesperson Oksana Korniychuk said. “Yesterday’s clash outside the Crimean parliament building that led to bloodshed and loss of life is a result of rampaging political extremism and violence that have swept the country. Ukraine is descending into complete chaos, anarchy and economic catastrophe. In this situation, the Verkhovna Rada of Crimea, as the highest representative body of power in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, leaning on the will of the people of Crimea who elected it is assuming the full responsibility for the fate of Crimea.”
“Following the fundamental principles of democracy, the presidium of the Crimean parliament believes that the only possible way out of the current situation is to apply the principles of direct rule of the people. We are convinced that only a referendum on the improvement of the status of the autonomy and expansion of its powers will allow the people of Crimea to determine the future of the autonomy on their own without external pressure or diktat,” Korniychuk said.