Ukraine coup 2014/Parliament grants limited self-rule
|Description||Ukraine's parliament has voted to give the east of the country limited self-rule as part of proposals aimed at ending the deadly separatist insurgency.|
President Petro Poroshenko says the proposals will pave the way for decentralisation while guaranteeing "the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence" of Ukraine.
The main points of the legislation, unveiled as part of a peace plan signed with pro-Russian insurgents and Moscow on 5 September are:
• The rebel-held Luhansk and Donetsk regions will be granted a "special status" giving them broader autonomy for a three-year period.
• Local elections will be held in some districts of the two mainly Russian-speaking regions on 7 December. The last local elections held nationwide were in October 2010.
• Use of the Russian language to be allowed in state institutions.
• Regional councils will have the power to appoint local judges and prosecutors.
• Local authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk can "strengthen good neighbourly relations" with their counterparts across the border in Russia.
• The legislation also promises to help restore damaged infrastructure and to provide social and economic assistance to particularly hard-hit areas.
• Another bill on amnesty protects from criminal prosecution "participants of events in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions" – appearing to apply to both the insurgents and Ukrainian government troops. Rights groups have accused fighters on both sides of abuses that might be classified as war crimes.
Donetsk and Luhansk, together known as the Donbass, have a combined population of nearly 7 million people, about one-sixth of the national total. But it is responsible for nearly a quarter of Ukraine's exports and is home to strategic military production facilities that supply engines and other vital parts to the Russian space and aviation industries.
The industrial region is dotted with coal mines and steelworks that have been the engine of Ukraine's economy since the 19th century.
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The special status law has received 277 ‘yes’ votes from a total of 450 MPs, while the amnesty law was approved by 287 parliamentary members. The session of the Verkhovna Rada is underway during which MPs are to ratify an agreement with the EU.
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