Politics of Ukraine

Politics of Ukraine take place in a framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the Cabinet. Legislative power is vested in the parliament.

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 June 28, 1996, which mandates a pluralistic political system with protection of basic human rights and liberties.

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 wide-spread 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. 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.

Intense Ukrainization and return of Crimean Tatars to Crimea during 1992 prompted a number of pro-Russian political organizations to advocate secession of Crimea and annexation to Russia. (Crimea was ceded to Ukraine in 1954 by First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev, in recognition of historic links and for economic convenience, to mark the 300th anniversary of "Ukrainian union with Russia".) In July 1992, the Crimean and Ukrainian parliaments determined that Crimea would remain under Ukrainian jurisdiction while retaining significant cultural and economic autonomy.

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.

Presidential Elections Crisis of 2004

The Orange Revolution was a series of peaceful protests that resulted in the nullification of the results of the elections re-run on November 21, 2004. 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.

Executive branch

Viktor Yushchenko
January 23, 2005
Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc
18 December, 2007

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. of .

Legislative branch

The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament of Ukraine) has 450 members, elected for a five year term (four year until 2006). 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.

Political parties and elections

Ukraine has a large number of political parties, many of which have tiny memberships and are unknown to the general public. Small parties often join in multi-party coalitions (electoral blocks) for the purpose of participating in parliamentary elections.

Presidential Election 2004

Parliamentary Election 2007

Judicial branch

"constitutional jurisdiction":
* the Constitutional Court of Ukraine."general jurisdiction":
* the Supreme Court of Ukraine;
* high specialized courts: the High Arbitration Court of Ukraine ( _ua. Вищий господарський суд України), the High Administrative Court of Ukraine;
* regional courts of appeal, military courts of appeal, specialized courts of appeal;
* local district courts, military garrison 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.

Local government

Local government is officially guaranteed. Local councils and city mayors are popularly elected and exercise control over local budgets.

Practically, the scope of local self-government is limited Fact|date=February 2007. A large-scale reformation of the local government (that would require new constitutional changes) is periodically urged since 2000, most actively by the Socialist Party of Ukraine and Oleksandr Moroz.

International organization participation

BSEC, CE, CEI, CIS, 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 (applicant), Zangger Committee

ee also

*Ukrainian nationalism
*Declaration of Independence
*Proclamation of Independence
*Cassette Scandal
*Ukraine without Kuchma
*Orange Revolution
*Russia-Ukraine gas dispute
*Universal of National Unity
*2007 Ukrainian political crisis
*NATO-Ukrainian relations

External links

* [http://www.aegee.tv/movies/archive/movies/307.html Short film: AEGEE's Election Observation Mission]
* Learn the latest news about Ukrainian politics from the [http://www.pravda.com.ua/en Ukrainska pravda] newspaper

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