The text of the bill appeared on the website of the Ukrainian parliament on Wednesday. It refers to the extension of the law for exactly one year. "In Article 1 of the law of Ukraine 'On the special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the number '2019' should be replaced by the number '2020,'" the document says.
The draft law on amending Article 1 of the law of Ukraine "On the special procedure for local self-government in separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions" is registered under No. 2569.
As reported, following a meeting in the Normandy format in Paris on December 9 of Presidents of Ukraine, France, Russia, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a communique was adopted.
The section "Measures for the implementation of the political provisions of the Minsk Agreements" contains the following: "The parties express interest in reaching agreements within the Normandy format (N4) and the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on all legal aspects of the Law on the special procedure for local self-government (on special status) of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions - as indicated in the Set of Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements of 2015 - with a view to ensuring its functioning on an ongoing basis. They think it is necessary to incorporate Steinmeier formula in the Ukrainian legislation in accordance with the version agreed by the N4 and the TCG.
At the end of the negotiations in Paris, Zelenskyi explained: "The current law will be submitted [to the Verkhovna Rada] for extension. It's easier for us to extend this bill now, and then introduce the Steinmeier formula later, seeing certain steps from that part that we are getting closer to de-escalation."
Zelenskyi pointed out that if we now wait for the expiration of this law, then "afterwards, if everything is well, we will again vote on the new law which is more difficult."
The law on the special procedure of local self-government in the ORDLO was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada in September 2014 and entered into force on October 18, 2014 for a period of three years. The document provides that the special procedure for local self-government in certain areas of Donbas enters into force only "after all the conditions set forth in Article 10 of the law are met, in particular with regard to the withdrawal of all illegal armed groups, their military equipment, as well as fighters and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine."
In particular, Article 10 of this law (transitional provisions) establishes that the special procedure for local self-government is implemented exclusively by local self-government bodies, which will be elected in early elections. This article also spells out the conditions without which elections in the ORDLO are impossible, among the conditions are the withdrawal of illegal armed groups and military equipment from Ukraine, guarantees of free will, observation of elections, including representatives of international organizations, prevention of unlawful interference in the electoral process, observance of the principles of political pluralism and freedom of agitation.
Later, the Verkhovna Rada more than once extended the duration of this law for a year. So, on October 4, 2018, the Ukrainian parliament supported the presidential legislative initiative, which will introduce a special procedure for local self-government in the ORDLO from the day the relevant law comes into force for a period until December 31, 2019.