Kiev's City Council Gets Ready To Rumble

KIEV, Ukraine -- Pro-government lawmakers will try to hold a session of the Kiev city council either this month or next despite earlier assurances from opposition groups that they would not let this happen.

Volodymyr Oliynyk

The session may trigger new clashes between the pro-government and opposition parties and may destabilize the situation in Kiev ahead of the next presidential election in March 2015.

"You can not stop the life of the city,” Volodymyr Oliynyk, the lawmaker from the Regions Party, said Monday.

“There will be a session in July or August. There is a legal necessity for the session.” 

Opposition lawmakers disrupted the session of Kiev city council on July 11 saying that the authority of the local Kiev lawmakers had expired last month.

The lawmakers also called for new elections later this year in Kiev and pledged to disrupt any new attempts to hold a session by current lawmakers.

The confrontation came as pro-government lawmakers cited a Constitutional Court ruling on May 30 saying the next election must be held in October 2015, de-facto extending the council’s authority for two-years.

The ruling is believed to benefit President Viktor Yanukovych who is facing re-election in March 2015 and needs to make sure that Kiev city is run by a loyalist, not by an opposition figure, at the time of the vote.

Any upcoming election in Kiev is likely to produce a government that would be in opposition to Yanukovych, according to opinion polls.

Meanwhile, Halyna Hereha, the secretary of the Kiev city council and a Yanukovych loyalist, called law enforcement agencies to investigate the opposition lawmakers for their actions disrupting the session.

The lawmakers and their allies "invaded and illegally kept for a long time the premises,” Hereha said in a letter to the Internal Affairs Ministry.

“While in the room, the unidentified persons arbitrarily moved within building hindering normal activities of employees of the Kiev City Council and Kiev City State Administration.”

The opposition groups, which have strong popular support in Kiev, have been seeking to schedule the Kiev mayor and Kiev council votes for June 2, but the bill was defeated by the ruling Regions Party.

The disagreement over the Kiev mayoral vote has led to a political crisis in March, with opposition parties blocking the work of Parliament for days in protest.

The opposition groups later submitted a bill to Parliament that schedules the next Kiev mayor and Kiev council votes on October 27, but the bill is likely to be defeated by the Regions Party.

Source: Ukrainian Journal