KIEV, August 20. /TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament will convene an extraordinary session by the end of this month to discuss the issue of decentralisation of power, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists on Thursday.
"Decentralization of power and delegation of authority to local governments will be the key issue at the extraordinary session," Poroshenko said, adding that discussions would also focus on plans to lift parliamentary and judicial immunity alongside judicial amendments to the country’s constitution.
The president expressed confidence that the Verkhovna Rada would support the proposed constitutional changes.
The exact date for the session would be decided by lawmakers, Poroshenko said, noting that this could be August 27 or 31.
On July 16, Ukraine’s parliament gave preliminary approval to constitutional amendments. Backed by 288 lawmakers in the 450-seat legislature, the draft law was sent to the Constitutional Court for review.
President Poroshenko told lawmakers before the vote that the law envisaged no special status for the Donbass region. Representatives of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk said the proposed changes did not correspond to a ceasefire deal agreed in the Belarusian capital Minsk in February as Ukraine had to coordinate the constitutional reform with the heads of the two regions.
Poroshenko revised and submitted the bill to parliament on July 15 to confirm in its main text the special status of the Donbass region. The updated draft was published on the Ukrainian parliament’s website.
In the draft amendments introduced on July 1, the provision that the status of certain areas in Donbas is defined by a special law was included in the transitional articles of the bill on amendments. The updated version puts this provision in the transitional articles of the constitution itself.
Constitutional reform is an important part of the February 12 comprehensive action plan to fulfil the Minsk accords worked out by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in the search for peace in the embattled eastern Donbass region.
A key element of reform is decentralization of government with respect to the peculiarities of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions agreed with their representatives, as well as adopting permanent legislation on the special status of certain Donbas areas.