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Poroshenko urges parliament to pass decentralization amendments to Ukraine’s Constitution

April 14, 2016, 11:32 UTC+3

The constitutional amendments were passed in the first reading on August 31, 2015 but haven't been endorsed by the constitutional majority

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KIEV, April 14. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has called on members of the Verkhovna Rada to pass the amendments to the country’s Constitution with a view to "returning Donbass peacefully."

"The amendments to the Constitution concerning decentralization and the implementation of ‘Minsk’ are the basis for the peaceful return of Donbass," he said addressing lawmakers ahead of considering the issues of appointment of a new prime minister and a new government.

The agreements of the Contact Group reached in Minsk, Belarus, in September 2014 and the comprehensive Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements signed in February 2015 are the basis of the peaceful settlement in the Donbass region. The Package of Measures envisages not only a ceasefire, withdrawal of weapons, creation of security zones, amnesty, resumption of economic ties and social benefits to residents of Donbass, but also a profound constitutional reform in Ukraine, which should lead to the decentralization of power taking into account a special status of separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The constitutional amendments were passed in the first reading on August 31, 2015, at an extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada and, in theory, should have been endorsed by the constitutional majority at the regular session that ended on February 1. However, there were no necessary 300 votes in parliament. Later the Constitutional court legally justified the possibility of postponing the voting until the next session, and the Verkhovna Rada got the right to return to the constitutional reform at any moment.

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