KIEV, January 17. /TASS/. Ukraine’s parliament has 300 votes needed to pass decentralization-related amendments to the Ukrainian constitution in the second reading but suspense over the voting will be kept "until the very last minute," speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, or Ukrainian parliament, Vladimir Groisman said on Sunday.
"Political consultations go on. Potentially, the parliament has 300 votes but this is a question to each leader of the political parties in the parliament," he said in an interview with the Espresso TV channel. "We have time. But suspense will be kept until the very last minute."
He said the issue of effective voting is the "question to the leaders of political forces." "All political forces should demonstrate political will to take a decision that will put an end to our post-Soviet past," he stressed.
On August 31, 2015, the Verkhovna Rada passed amendments to the constitution by the majority of votes. These amendments however were not agreed with representatives of the self-proclaimed republic in Donbass, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, or DPR and LPR. When the parliament was voting these amendments, nationalists protesting against Donbass’ special status plunged into clashes with the police. As a result, four National Guard servicemen were killed and more than 100 people were hurt.
On December 9, 2015, the Rada’s legal policy committee recommended the parliament to pass in decentralization-related amendments to the Ukrainian constitution. President Pyotr Poroshenko earlier submitted a relevant bill as a top priority one.
A constitutional reform is an important part of the February 12 comprehensive action plan to fulfil the Minsk accords worked out by the 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 parts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions agreed with their representatives, as well as adopting permanent legislation on the special status of certain Donbass areas.