Klichko has no right to reverse City Council’s decision to repeal property tax exemption for UOC (MP)
Chairman of the Commission on Religious Affairs of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine, executive director of the Institute for Religious Freedom Maksym Vasin believes that Vitaliy Kllichko cannot reverse the decision of the City Council to repealproperty tax exemptionfor the UOC (MP), as he wrote in his blog post.
According to him, the mayor has no authority to overrule the City Council as a representative body. According to the city council’s regulations, he can suspend the ruling made by the City Council in a five-day period and submit it for further review by the City Council with substantiated comments.
The City Council may reject the mayor’s comments. If the Council’s deputies confirm their previous decision by 2/3 of members, it shall enter into force. Then Klichko can file an appealwith the prosecutor or court.”
“Indeed, says Maksym Vasin, the Law of Ukraine ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations’guaranteesin unison with the Constitution:“All religions, faiths and religious organizations are equal before the law. Implementation of any advantages or limitations for a certain religion, faith or religious organization over others is not permitted” (Article 5). Pursuant to the Law ‘On Local Government in Ukraine’,the mayor is authorized to ensure observance of the Constitution and laws of Ukraine.”
As a result, the expert recommends the deputies not to incite religious hatred, but tobring to responsibility the specific individuals who abuse the sacred dignity or use the Church’s name for political purposes or against the unity and independence.
“Criminal penalties might have preventive and educational effect on the rest of them,” says the expert.
As RISUreported, on January 28, the deputies of Kyiv City Council decided by a majority vote to removethe buildings, facilities and premises of the Moscow Patriarchate’s parishes from the list of religious buildings that enjoy property tax exemption. This decision is motivated by the fact that the UOC (MP) carries on anti-Ukrainian and anti-state propaganda ... refusing to serve burial office for fallen soldiers, who defended the country’s unity.
Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klichko, for his part, did not approve of the initiative of the representative body, and, referring to the Constitution of Ukraine, demanded to return tax exemption to the Moscow Patriarchate. Subsequently, a number of media outlets and the UOC (MP)website reported that Klichko abolished theresonant decision of the City Council.