Ukraine to Become More Decentralized
Ukraine has moved toward decentralization after the country's Parliament approved Wednesday reforms giving more autonomy to local administration.
The changes include withdrawing competences of Ukraine's president to appoint and dismiss heads of local administrations, website Lenta.ru has reported.
Parliament has nevertheless stopped short of adopting a federal structure for the country.
Regional Development Minister Volodymyr Groysman said that, following constitutional amendments, three-level "prefectures" are to be created in which power will be subdivided to "regions, districts and municipalities".
Local executive branches will be created out of existing regional councils and will be in charge of transferring taxation revenues to the central budget.
Groysman underscored that regional administrations are presently subordinated to Kiev in a way ensuring the monopoly of central authorities, partially because their heads are appointed by the government.
The reform is to be carried out in two stages: the legal basis and constitutional amendments necessary are planned for 2014, whereas administrative changes and delegation of power could be implemented between 2015 and 2017.
Lenta.ru, citing Ukrainian Regional Development Ministry's press office, has revealed that a reform plan was being drafted as early as 2009.
Ukraine's leadership in Kiev is seeking ways to reduce tensions to the east of the country, where many fear that Russian-speaking population could try to repeat Crimea's vote to break away and join the Russian Federation.
The Kremlin earlier insisted that Ukraine revise its constitution and take steps toward federalization.
Kiev's government considers such option dangerous to Ukraine's unity, but is trying to make concessions to Russians in its eastern regions in order to prevent further escalation.