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KIEV, August 31. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday that any provisions which could give eastern regions a special status had been removed from the country’s constitution.
"Article 92 envisioning a theoretical possibility of special status for certain cities has been removed to eliminate even the slightest legal hitch for a parade of sovereignties," Poroshenko said after Ukraine’s parliament on Monday voted in favour of constitutional changes.
The president noted that the special order of self-government in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions was governed by a separate law, "which has already been twice approved by parliament".
Most provisions of the law has been suspended and will come into force after local elections are held in the area in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and standards of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), as well as after Kiev reinstates control of the border with Russia, Poroshenko added.
On Monday, Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada passed the first reading of amendments to the country’s constitution. The decentralization draft law proposed by President Pyotr Poroshenko was supported by 265 deputies, above a required minimum of 226 votes. A total of 87 deputies voted against the changes.
The constitutional amendments should be passed at two Verkhovna Rada sessions - first by a simple majority of votes (226 votes), and then - by the constitutional one (at least 300 votes).
The voting on the bill has brought to an end the second session of the Verkhovna Rada. Then the document will be submitted to the next parliament session, due to begin on September 1, for passing it on the whole.
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 Donbass areas.