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Speaking in tongues – Constitutional Amendments

June 27, 2015

Yesterday appears to be a day of progress perhaps, but no shortage of mutual backslapping with regard to constitutional change and “decentralisation”.

I want to congratulate all the members of the Constitutional Commission on the first decision that we made, I want to emphasize and to announce that we will continue our work you and we will continue to work out our proposals.” – Volodymyr Groysman, Speaker Rada.

The fact that I’m now expressing the position on the adoption is a proof that I will either partially or largely support the amendments and submit them to the parliament for consideration next week.

We still have a chance, we have not lost our chance to vote for changes to the Constitution before the date of the local elections, before October 25.

It’s very important that Donbas representatives take part in developing these constitutional amendments… It’s very important that numerous polls support our idea of complete unacceptability of the federalization. After these constitutional amendments on decentralization, Ukraine will remain a unitary state. And that’s why we can’t have any compromises.

Decentralization will be ‘a shot from totalitarianism.”  – President Poroshenko.

Well, very good.  Undoubtedly a somewhat sticky process as constitutional amendments normally are.

Yet for all the talk, constitutional progress made, and whatever amendments are eventually adopted, aside from public domain generalisms, just what will “decentralisation” actually deliver to the regions?

Undoubtedly “decentralisation” is a necessary and welcome move, but what exactly is the substance behind the form?

What exactly are local constituents going to hold their local governments accountable for that they currently do not?  What exactly are the envisaged responsibilities that will be moved from the centre to regional/local governance?

Is it not time to move from broad brush stroke public “decentralisation” statements to a little more, or indeed a lot more, detail?

Is it not now time to stop speaking in tongues and engage in some “clear-speak”?

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