Politics of Ukraine
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Politics of Ukraine takes place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by both the President and the Government. Legislative power is vested in the parliament (Verkhovna Rada). Scholars have described Ukraine's political system as "weak, fractured, highly personal and ideologically vacuous while the judiciary and media fail to hold politicians to account" (Dr. Taras Kuzio in 2009). Ukrainian politics has been categorised as "over-centralised" which is seen as both a legacy of the Soviet system and caused by a fear of separatism. Corruption in Ukraine is rampant, and widely cited, at home and abroad, as a defining characteristic (and decisive handicap) of Ukrainian society, politics and government.
- 1 Constitution of Ukraine
- 2 Fundamental Freedoms
- 3 Executive branch
- 4 Legislative branch
- 5 Political parties and elections
- 5.1 Parties currently represented in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament)
- 5.2 Former parliamentary parties
- 5.3 Presidential Election 2014
- 5.4 Parliamentary Election 2012
- 5.5 Presidential Election 2010
- 5.6 Parliamentary Election 2007
- 5.7 Presidential Election 2004
- 6 Judicial branch
- 7 Local government
- 8 Autonomous Republic of Crimea
- 9 International organization participation
- 10 See also
- 11 External links
- 12 References
Constitution of Ukraine
Shortly after becoming independent in 1991, Ukraine named a parliamentary commission to prepare a new constitution, adopted a multi-party system, and adopted legislative guarantees of civil and political rights for national minorities. A new, democratic constitution was adopted on 28 June 1996, which mandates a pluralistic political system with protection of basic human rights and liberties, and a semi-presidential form of government.
The Constitution was amended in December 2004 to ease the resolution of the 2004 presidential election crisis. The consociationalist agreement transformed the form of government in a semi-presidentialism in which the President of Ukraine had to cohabit with a powerful Prime Minister. The Constitutional Amendments took force between January and May 2006.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by law, although religious organizations are required to register with local authorities and with the central government. Minority rights are respected in accordance with a 1991 law guaranteeing ethnic minorities the right to schools and cultural facilities and the use of national languages in conducting personal business. According to the Ukrainian constitution, Ukrainian is the only official state language. However, in Crimea and some parts of eastern Ukraine—areas with substantial ethnic Russian minorities—use of Russian is widespread in official business.
Freedom of speech and press are guaranteed by law, but authorities sometimes interfere with the news media through different forms of pressure (see Freedom of the press in Ukraine). In particular, the failure of the government to conduct a thorough, credible, and transparent investigation into the 2000 disappearance and murder of independent journalist Georgiy Gongadze has had a negative effect on Ukraine's international image. Over half of Ukrainians polled by the Razumkov Center in early October 2010 (56.6%) believed political censorship existed in Ukraine.
Official labor unions have been grouped under the Federation of Labor Unions. A number of independent unions, which emerged during 1992, among them the Independent Union of Miners of Ukraine, have formed the Consultative Council of Free Labor Unions. While the right to strike is legally guaranteed, strikes based solely on political demands are prohibited.
|President||Petro Poroshenko||Independent||7 June 2014|
|Prime Minister||Volodymyr Groysman||Petro Poroshenko Bloc||14 April 2016|
The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President nominates the Prime Minister, who must be confirmed by parliament. The Prime-minister and cabinet are de jure appointed by the Parliament on submission of the President and Prime Minister respectively. Pursuant to Article 114 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament of Ukraine) has 450 members, elected for a four-year term (five-year between 2006 and 2012 with the 2004 amendments). Prior to 2006, half of the members were elected by proportional representation and the other half by single-seat constituencies. Starting with the March 2006 parliamentary election, all 450 members of the Verkhovna Rada were elected by party-list proportional representation. The Verkhovna Rada initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget.
The overall trust in legislative powers in Ukraine is very low.
Political parties and elections
Ukrainian parties tend not have clear-cut ideologies but incline to centre around civilizational and geostrategic orientations (rather than economic and socio-political agendas, as in Western politics), around personalities and business interests. Party membership is lower than 1% of the population eligible to vote (compared to an average of 4.7% in the European Union).
Parties currently represented in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament)
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
|Petro Poroshenko Bloc||People's Front||Opposition Bloc||Self Reliance||Radical Party||Fatherland||Revival[a 1]||People's Will[a 2][a 3]||Non-affiliated[a 4]|
|End of previous convocation||DNP[a 5]||DNP[a 6]||DNP[a 7]||DNP||1||86||41||35||93||445||5|
|Seats won in 2014 election||132||82||29||33||22||19||DNP||DNP||96||423||27|
|November 27, 2014
|December 2, 2014||147||420||30|
|February 5, 2015||150||82||31||21||18||42||422||28|
|June 24, 2015||144||81||43||22||19||422||28|
|October 22, 2015||142||26||20||48||422||28|
|February 13, 2016||136||23||53||422||28|
|April 11, 2016||141||47||422||28|
|April 12, 2016||145[a 8]||19||44||422||28|
|July 19, 2016||142||42||422||28|
|Latest voting share||33.6%||19.2%||10.2%||6.2%||5.0%||4.5%||5.5%||4.5%||10.0%||93.8%||6.2%|
Former parliamentary parties
A faction of nonpartisan deputies under the name Reforms for the Future existed between 16 February 2011 and 15 December 2012. A faction of nonpartisan deputies under the name For Peace and Stability existed between 2 July 2014 and 27 November 2014.
The Communist Party of Ukraine (Soviet Union) was prohibited in 1991, however its members were not excluded from the Ukrainian parliament. They formed a parliamentary faction of the Socialist Party of Ukraine. For the 1994 parliamentary elections however the ban on communist parties was lifted and there were two parties with similar ideologies running for parliament the Socialist Party of Ukraine and the Communist Party of Ukraine that was reestablished in 1993.
Presidential Election 2014
Originally scheduled to take place on 29 March 2015, the date was changed to 25 May 2014 following the 2014 Ukrainian revolution. Petro Poroshenko won the elections with 54.7% of the votes. His closest competitor was Yulia Tymoshenko, who emerged with 12.81% of the votes. The Central Election Commission reported voter turnout at over 60% excluding those regions not under government control, Crimea and a large part of the Donbass. Since Poroshenko obtained an absolute majority in the first round, a run-off second ballot was unnecessary.
Parliamentary Election 2012
The Central Election Commission of Ukraine finalized the vote count on 12 November 2012 but simultaneously ordered - on recommendation of the Verkhovna Rada - repeat elections (on a yet unknown date) in five troubled single-mandate constituencies where it could not establish results. Because of occurrences in these five constituencies. Hence, on 12 November 2012 445 deputies had been elected of the 450 seats in parliament. On 8 February 2013 the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine deprived 2 more deputies of power. They were banned from parliament on 3 July 2013. On 5 September 2013 the Verkhovna Rada itself set the date of all 7 re-elections to 15 December 2013.
|Parties||List votes||%||Swing %||Seats (proportional representation)||Seats (constituencies)||Seats (total)||Seats (% of total)||Change
|Party of Regions||6,116,815||30.00||4.37||72||113||185||41.56||10|
|All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" (incl. United Opposition)1||5,208,390||25.55||5.16||62||39||101||22.67||55|
|UDAR (Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform) of Vitaliy Klychko2||2,847,878||13.97||N/A||34||6||40||8.89||40|
|Communist Party of Ukraine||2,687,246||13.18||7.79||32||—||32||7.11||5|
|All-Ukrainian Union "Svoboda"||2,129,246||10.45||9.69||25||12||37||8.44||37|
|5% threshold for the party-list vote|
|Ukraine – Forward! of Natalia Korolevska1||322,202||1.58||N/A||—||—||—||—||First election|
|Radical Party of Oleh Lyashko||221,136||1.08||N/A||—||1||1||0.22||New party|
|Party of Pensioners of Ukraine4||114,198||0.56||0.42||—||—||—||—||0|
|Socialist Party of Ukraine||93,081||0.46||2.40||—||—||—||—||0|
|Party of Greens of Ukraine||70,316||0.35||0.05||—||—||—||—||0|
|Ukrainian Party "Green Planet"10||70,117||0.35||N/A||—||—||—||—||0|
|Ukraine of the Future||38,544||0.19||N/A||—||—||—||—||New party|
|Political Association "Native Fatherland"||32,724||0.16||N/A||—||—||—||—||New party|
|People's Labor Union of Ukraine||22,854||0.11||N/A||—||—||—||—||First election|
|New Politics||21,033||0.10||N/A||—||—||—||—||First election|
|All-Ukrainian Association "Community"5||17,678||0.08||N/A||—||—||—||0|
|Liberal Party of Ukraine7||15,566||0.07||N/A||—||—||—||—||0|
|United Centre8||DNP11||DNP||N/A||—||3||3||0.67||New party|
|Independents (elected in electoral districts (see below))||DNP11||DNP||N/A||—||43||43||9.78||43|
|Invalid ballot papers||409,068||1.97||0.35|
|Total (turnout 57.99%)||20,759,472||100%||4.03||225||220||445||98.89||5|
|Sources: (Proportional votes, Constituency seats) Central Electoral Commission (in Ukrainian) & ((% of total seats) Ukrayinska Pravda
Presidential Election 2010
|Candidates||Nominating Party||First round||Second round|
|Viktor Yanukovych||Party of Regions||8,686,642||35.32||12,481,266||48.95|
|Yulia Tymoshenko||All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland"||6,159,810||25.05||11,593,357||45.47|
|Petro Symonenko||Communist Party of Ukraine||872,877||3.54|
|Volodymyr Lytvyn||People's Party||578,883||2.35|
|Oleh Tyahnybok||All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom"||352,282||1.43|
|Oleksandr Moroz||Socialist Party of Ukraine||95,169||0.38|
|Yuriy Kostenko||Ukrainian People's Party||54,376||0.22|
|Liudmyla Suprun||People's Democratic Party||47,349||0.19|
|Source: Central Election Commission of Ukraine|
The first round of voting took place on January 17, 2010. Eighteen candidates nominated for election in which incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko was voted out of office having received only 5.45% of the vote. The two highest polling candidates, Viktor Yanukovych (34.32%) and Yulia Tymoshenko (25.05%), will face each other in a final run-off ballot scheduled to take place on February 7, 2010
Parliamentary Election 2007
|Parties and blocs||Votes||%||Swing %||Seats||(2006)|
|Party of Regions (Партія регіонів)||8,013,895||34.37||2.23||175||-11 (186)|
|Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Блок Юлії Тимошенко)||7,162,193||30.71||8.43||156||+27 (129)|
|Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc(1) (Блок Наша Україна–Народна Самооборона)||3,301,282||14.15||0.21||72||–9 (81)|
|Communist Party of Ukraine (Комуністична партія України)||1,257,291||5.39||1.73||27||+6 (21)|
|Lytvyn Bloc(2) (Блок Литвина)||924,538||3.96||1.53||20||+20 (0)|
|Socialist Party of Ukraine (Соціалістична партія України)||668,234||2.86||2.82||33 (33)|
|Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine(3) (Прогресивна соціалістична партія України)||309,008||1.32||1.61|
|All-Ukrainian Union "Freedom" (Всеукраїнське об'єднання "Свобода")||178,660||0.76||0.41|
|Party of Greens of Ukraine (Партія Зелених України)||94,505||0.40||0.14|
|Electoral Bloc of Liudmyla Suprun – Ukrainian Regional Asset(4) (Виборчий блок Людмили Супрун — Український регіональний актив)||80,944||0.34||0.15|
|Communist Party of Ukraine (renewed) (Комуністична партія України (оновлена))||68,602||0.29||N/A(5)|
|Party of Free Democrats(9) (Партія Вільних Демократів)||50,852||0.21|
|Bloc of the Party of Pensioners of Ukraine (Блок партії пенсіонерів України)||34,845||0.14|
|Party of National Economic Development of Ukraine (Партія національно-економічного розвитку України)||33,489||0.14|
|Ukrainian People's Bloc (Український Народний Блок)||28,414||0.12|
|Peasants' Bloc "Agrarian Ukraine" (Селянський Блок "Аграрна Україна")||25,675||0.11|
|Christian Bloc (Християнський блок)||24,597||0.10|
|Electoral Bloc of Political Parties "KUCHMA" (Виборчий блок політичних партій «КУЧМА»)||23,676||0.10|
|Bloc "All-Ukrainian Community" (Блок "Всеукраїнська громада")||12,327||0.05|
|All-Ukrainian Party of People's Trust (Всеукраїнська партія Народної Довіри)||5,342||0.02|
|Invalid ballot papers||379,658||1.62|
|Total (turnout 62.02%)||23,315,257||100||450|
|Source: Central Election Commission of Ukraine (English) More detailed information: Центральної виборчої комісії України (Ukrainian)
Presidential Election 2004
The initial second round of the Presidential Election 2004 (on November 17, 2004) was followed by the Orange Revolution, a series of peaceful protests that resulted in the nullification of the second round. The Supreme Court of Ukraine ordered a repeat of the re-run to be held on December 26, 2004, and asked the law enforcement agencies to investigate cases of election fraud.
|Candidates — nominating parties||Votes first round 31-Oct-04||%||Votes run-off 21-Nov-04||%||Votes rerun 26-Dec-04||%|
|Viktor Yushchenko — Self-nomination||11,188,675||39.90||14,222,289||46.61||15,115,712||51.99|
|Viktor Yanukovych — Party of Regions||11,008,731||39.26||15,093,691||49.46||12,848,528||44.20|
|Oleksandr Moroz — Socialist Party of Ukraine||1,632,098||5.82|
|Petro Symonenko — Communist Party of Ukraine||1,396,135||4.97|
|Nataliya Vitrenko — Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine||429,794||1.53|
|Participation rate from 37,613,022||74.54||81.12||77.28|
|Source: Central Election Commission of Ukraine. On December 3, the Supreme Court of Ukraine declared the results of the November 21, 2004 run-off ballot to be invalid. The re-run ballot was held on December 26, 2004.|
- the Supreme Court of Ukraine;
- high specialized courts: the High Arbitration Court of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Вищий господарський суд України), the High Administrative Court of Ukraine;
- regional courts of appeal, specialized courts of appeal;
- local district courts.
Laws, acts of the parliament and the Cabinet, presidential edicts, and acts of the Crimean parliament (Autonomous Republic of Crimea) may be nullified by the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, when they are found to violate the Constitution of Ukraine. Other normative acts are subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court of Ukraine is the main body in the system of courts of general jurisdiction.
The Constitution of Ukraine provides for trials by jury. This has not yet been implemented in practice. Moreover, some courts provided for by legislation as still in project, as is the case for, e.g., the Court of Appeals of Ukraine. The reform of the judicial branch is presently under way. Important is also the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, granted with the broad rights of control and supervision.
Administrative divisions of Ukraine are 24 oblasts (regions), with each oblast further divided into rayons (districts). The current administrative divisions remained the same as the local administrations of the Soviet Union. The heads of the oblast and rayon are appointed and dismissed by the President of Ukraine and serve as representatives of the central government in Kyiv. They govern over locally elected assemblies. This system encourages regional elites to compete fiercely for control over the central government and the position of the president.
Autonomous Republic of Crimea
During 1992 a number of pro-Russian political organizations in Crimea advocated secession of Crimea and annexation to Russia. During USSR times Crimea was ceded from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 by First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev to mark the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav. In July 1992, the Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments determined that Crimea would remain under Ukrainian jurisdiction while retaining significant cultural and economic autonomy, thus creating the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
The Crimean peninsula—while under Ukraininan sovereignty, served as site for major military bases of both Ukrainian and Russian forces, and was heavily populated by ethnic Russians.
In early 2014, Ukraine's pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted by Ukraininans over his refusal to ally Ukraine with the European Union, rather than Russia. In response, Russia invaded Crimea in February 2014 and occupied it.
In March, 2014, a  a controversial referendum was held in Crimea with 97% of voters backing joining Russia. On 18 March 2014, Russia and the new, self-proclaimed Republic of Crimea signed a treaty of accession of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol in the Russian Federation. In response, the UN General Assembly passed resolution 68/262 declaring the referendum invalid, and officially supporting Ukraine's claim to Crimea. Although Russian retains administrative control of the peninsula, Ukraine and nearly all other nations reject Russia's claim to the territory.
International organization participation
BSEC, CE, CEI, CIS (participating), EAPC, EBRD, ECE, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UNMOT, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, Zangger Committee
- List of Ukrainian politicians
- Declaration of Independence
- Proclamation of Independence
- Corruption in Ukraine
- Cassette Scandal
- Ukraine without Kuchma
- Orange Revolution
- Russia-Ukraine gas dispute
- Universal of National Unity
- 2007 Ukrainian political crisis
- NATO-Ukrainian relations
- Ukrainian nationalism
Center for Adaptation of Civil Service to the Standards of EU - public institution established by the Decree of Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to facilitate administrative reform in Ukraine and to enhance the adaptation of the civil service to the standards of the European Union.
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- Ukraine talks set to open without pro-Russian separatists, The Washington Post (14 May 2014)
- Foreign Electoral District
- Party of Regions gets 185 seats in Ukrainian parliament, Batkivschyna 101 - CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (12 November 2012)
- With all party lists ballots counted, Regions Party gets 30%, Batkivschyna 25.54%, UDAR 13.96%, Communists 13.18%, Svoboda 10.44%, Kyiv Post (8 November 2012) Cite error: Invalid
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- Repeat elections in troubled constituencies unlikely to be held before March 2013, says CEC deputy head, Interfax-Ukraine (7 November 2012)
- Okhendovsky:CEC could call repeat elections in five districts only after parliament passes law, Interfax-Ukraine (8 November 2012)
- Q&A: Ukrainian parliamentary election, BBC News (23 October 2012) Cite error: Invalid
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- Baloha, Dombrovsky no longer MPs, Ukrinform (3 July 2013)
- Rada schedules reelection in troubled districts for December 15, The Ukrainian Week (5 September 2013)
- People First: The latest in the watch on Ukrainian democracy, Kyiv Post (11 September 2012)
- (Ukrainian) Candidates, RBC Ukraine
- 2012 Parliamentary Elections Boundary Delimitation Summary and Analysis, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (May 2012)
- Results of the vote count, Kyiv Post (9 November 2012)
- Novinsky wins by-election to Rada in Sevastopol, according to CEC, Interfax-Ukraine (8 July 2013)
- Cite error: The named reference
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- (Ukrainian) ЦВК оприлюднила офіційні результати 1-го туру виборів, Gazeta.ua (January 25, 2010)
- Yulia Timoshenko received 45.47 percent, or 11.6 million votes
- "The Politics of Regionalism". Eurasia Review. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
- "Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch One)". vicenews.com. 5 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Official results: 97 percent of Crimea voters back joining Russia". cbsnews.com. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Alex Felton; Marie-Louise Gumuchian (27 March 2014). "U.N. General Assembly resolution calls Crimean referendum invalid". cnn.com. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- Michel, Casey, [one-year-after-russias-annexation-world-has-forgotten-crimea "The Crime of the Century,"], March 4, 2015, The New Republic