Attempt underway to neutralize Kyiv voters’ choice for Mayor?
Deutsche Welle writes that under the guise of developing local self-government, the government is increasing the powers of the Head of the Kyiv City State Administration [KCSA] Oleksandr Popov. Observers and the opposition see this as an attempt to neutralize the future mayor chosen by Kyiv residents.
Following the appointment of Yanukovych’s protégé Oleksandr Popov as Head of KCSA, Popov undertook a staff purge, with over 600 employees dismissed. The reforms also envisaged reduction of 37 departments to 14.
However in May 2013 the opposite trend was seen with the Cabinet of Ministers increasing the upper limit in the number of members of staff of KCSA by 37. In May a presidential degree gave the KCSA a whole range of additional powers. These include the right to issue various types of permits. In addition, KCSA was instructed to itself determine which additional powers it needs and pass these proposals to the Cabinet of Ministers for approval. This step is unprecedented in the history of Ukrainian self-government.
Platform for the President
Iryna Herashchenko, Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee on European Integration, told Deutsche Welle that she does not exclude the possibility that the government will seek to divide powers between the Mayor who is elected, and the Head of the KCSA who is appointed by the President. This, she says, is in order to neutralize a new elected Mayor since the regime understands very well that it has no chance of gaining victory for their candidate for Mayor. “It will therefore attempt to foist all failures on the future Mayor, and achievements solely on the head of the KCSA.”
Head of the Council of the Ukrainian Independent Centre for Political Research Yulia Tyshchenko sees elements of the usurpation of power in the capital city in the actions of the President’s Administration and Cabinet of Ministers. “Kyiv is an important platform for the Party of the Regions during the 2015 presidential elections. Therefore the Kyiv community has been deprived of the right to have its say”.
The financial side
Yulia Tyshchenko is convinced that aside from purely political tasks, the Party of the Regions also needs this “substitution of local self-government by managerial models of power” in order to gain control over the financial flow of money in Kyiv. Political analyst Viktor Nebozhenko adds that the President’s man is supposed to control the redistribution of the capital’s budget and premium asset Kyiv land and property. He believes however that even if the KCSA is given dictatorial powers, it will be incapable of achieving any political aim. He considers that Popov may be replaced but that no person put there by those in power will gain the trust of Kyiv residents.