|President||Leonid M. Kravchuk||01 Dec 1991||19 Jul 1994||Social Democratic Party|
|President||Leonid Kuchma||19 Jul 1994||23 Jan 2005||People's Democratic Party|
|President||Viktor Yushchenko||23 Jan 2005||25 Feb 2010||Our Ukraine|
|Prime Minister||Viktor Yanukovich||04 Aug 2006||18 Dec 2007||Party of Regions|
|Prime Minister||Yuliya Tymoshenko||18 Dec 2007||11 Mar 2010||Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc|
|President||Viktor Yanukovich||25 Feb 2010||2015||Party of Regions|
Ukraine has a parliamentary-presidential system of government with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Ukraine's presidency was initially the pre-eminent post in the Ukrainian government and economic and legal reform was primarily dependent on the president's support. Amendments to the Constitution that took effect January 1, 2006, shifted significant powers from the president to the prime minister and Supreme Rada. Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruled on 30 September 2010 that the 2004 constitutional reform, which transferred a significant amount of power from the president to parliament, was adopted in breach of the constitution. The court's decision meant that the amendments that came into force in summer 2006 are no longer valid, and that the norms of the 1996 Constitution have been restored.
Ukraine is a parliamentary democracy with separate executive, judicial, and legislative branches. The president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and may veto legislation. The 450-member parliament (Supreme Rada) initiates legislation, ratifies international agreements, and approves the budget. Its members were elected to four-year terms in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. Initially the prime minister was appointed and dismissed by the president, although his/her appointment was subject to parliamentary approval. The prime minister nominated and the president appointed the members of the Cabinets of Ministers. The prime minister can also be removed by a majority vote in the Verkhovna Rada. Should the prime minister be removed, the entire Cabinet of Ministers resigns.
The constitution was amended to transfer power, especially with respect to appointment of ministers, from the president to the prime minister. Beginning in 2006, a majority of deputies in the 450-member unicameral parliament (Supreme Rada) forms a coalition, which then names the prime minister, who in turn nominates other ministers. The president nominates the defense and foreign ministers, and the Prosecutor General and Chief of the State Security Service (SBU), each of whom must be confirmed by the parliament.
Although final independence for Ukraine was achieved in 1991 with the dissolution of the USSR, democracy remained elusive as the legacy of state control and endemic corruption stalled efforts at economic reform, privatization, and civil liberties. A peaceful mass protest "Orange Revolution" in the closing months of 2004 forced the authorities to overturn a rigged presidential election and to allow a new internationally monitored vote that swept into power a reformist slate under Viktor YUSHCHENKO.
The Orange Revolution allowed Ukraine to move away from patronage politics to charismatic politics, but a necessary shift to programmatic politics remained in the future. Through the end of the Kuchma era, patronage politics had dominated Ukraine's political scene; people voted for candidates they believed would provide direct benefits, and politicians sought office and connections primarily for division of the spoils. The Orange Revolution ushered in an era of charismatic politics, a large but only partial step away from the patronage model, to which Regions was still firmly wedded. Ukraine's weakness, in Taran's view, was an absence of programmatic politics and clear party platforms. Most Ukrainian parties remained associated with their dominant personalities rather than policies or ideologies: Yushchenko (Our Ukraine), Tymoshenko (Batkivshchyna, Tymoshenko Bloc), Yanukovych (Party of Regions), Lytvyn (People's Party), Moroz (Socialists), Vitrenko (Progressive Socialists). The Communists were perhaps the only exception currently, but they had no future. Yushchenko, Yanukovych, Tymoshenko, Moroz, and Lytvyn were all cut from the same cloth and used to the same "old" rules of politics. Ukraine sorely lacked a new generation of politics and politicians. The current Rada was nearly bereft of professionals, packed instead with what one Rada member called "businessmen, bureaucrats, cultural figures, and crazies."
The September 2005 split between erstwhile allies Yushchenko and ex-Orange PM Yuliya Tymoshenko got deeper and wider in the 2006 election campaign, despite talk (dreams?) of a post-election re-formation of the "Maidan team" (shorthand for the political forces that joined on Kiev's Independence Square to resist the Kuchma-Yanukovych efforts of 2004 to "win" the presidential election by hook or by crook). When not spitting on each other, many Our Ukraine and Tymoshenko bloc (BYuT) representatives spared little energy in attacking their "Blue" opponent, Yanukovych's Party of Regions.
Internal squabbles in the YUSHCHENKO camp allowed his rival Viktor YANUKOVYCH to stage a comeback in parliamentary elections and become prime minister in August of 2006. An early legislative election, brought on by a political crisis in the spring of 2007, saw Yulia TYMOSHENKO, as head of an “Orange” coalition, installed as a new prime minister in December 2007. YUSHCHENKO, TYMOSHENKO, and YANUKOVYCH had dominated Ukrainian politics in the last few years.
For most of February 2008, there was a deadlock within the Rada due to objections by opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych and his Party of Regions to Ukraine’s request for a NATO Membership Action Plan (MAP). The Rada experienced a deadlock again during summer 2008 due to the defection of two BYuT members of parliament (MPs), resulting in the party’s loss of the majority. In July, Yuliya Tymoshenko’s government survived a vote of no confidence. In September 2008, the coalition between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko’s parties collapsed. A new coalition was formed between the former Orange allies, along with the Lytvyn Bloc, at the beginning of December 2008; however, this new coalition did not resolve disagreements between the President and Prime Minister.
Russia weakened the country by splitting, by feeding different groups of influence, by using openly energy as a weapon of international policy, using religious issues and others, cultural and etc. Ukraine faced so many things happening and those things were organized and well thought of in advance, unlike the situation in Ukraine. Therefore Russia clearly used Ukrainian weaknesses to the maximum to strengthen their own.
But while Russia might have some influence in political maneuvering leading up to elections, the most important question was how Ukraine managed to deal with the economic crisis. And that, observers say, will not be decided by elections but by how soon Ukraine's political leaders can put aside their differences and push through significant economic reforms. By 2009 political infighting was the greatest threat to stability. They say that conflicts between Mr. Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko have already paralyzed policymaking - and this is likely to benefit their political rivals. Especially Victor Yanukovich, the leader of the opposition Party of Regions. He had announced he would run for president and topped national opinion polls.
One reason for this is that Ukrainians have lost faith in the country's current leaders. The government and president cannot unite their forces and concentrate on purely economic things. They are talking politics all day and they tell you it's a continuous political scandal which is shown on TV channels, on the radio and the people of Ukraine understand that we cannot live in such way anymore.
Ukraine's constitutional court postponed the date of presidential elections from October 2009 until January 2010 - a move that bought more time for President Viktor Yuschenko, who faced a tough re-election challenge. The ruling followed an overwhelming vote in parliament to hold the election on October 25 - two months before Mr. Yushchenko's term expires. With his popularity plummeting, political infighting between the president, prime minister and parliament took its toll on the economy undergoing a severe slowdown.
Ukraine held local elections on October 31, 2010. International and local election observers concluded that overall the elections did not meet standards for openness and fairness. Observers noted shortcomings such as insufficient training for electoral commissions, which contributed to procedural violations and organizational problems. In particular, the registration of fraudulent Batkivshchyna Party candidate lists led to the disqualification of all Batkivshchyna Party candidates in the Kyiv and Lviv oblast council elections, preventing the main opposition party from running for election in regions where it had considerable support. Election observers also reported incidences of law enforcement authorities pressuring monitors and candidates, and election officials selectively barring or removing candidates from ballots.
The new parliament, elected in the country’s 28 October 2012 elections, was widely expected to be divisive after opposition forces made considerable gains. Ukraine’s three opposition parties drew slightly more votes than President Yanukovych’s two-party governing alliance. The president is to keep narrow control of parliament. But he faces new parties and younger faces as the vote recharged Ukraine’s pro-Western opposition. While the Party of Regions remained the largest faction in the 450-seat body with 210 seats, imprisoned former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's Fatherland opposition faction and world champion boxer Vitaly Klitschko’s Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms (UDAR) now held 99 and 42 seats, respectively. The nationalist All-Ukrainian Union “Freedom” also enjoyed a surge in the polls, now holding 37 seats.
Ukraine faced political uncertainty after the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his Cabinet December 04, 2012 . The president asked the prime minister to stay on as interim leader as the country prepares for talks with international lenders on multi-billion-dollar financial assistance to help overcome its economic crisis. The office of Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, said Azarov, who was 64, resigned because he wanted to take his parliamentary seat rather than stay on as prime minister. He made the decision after spending two-and-a-half years trying to revive the debt-ridden economy. Despite these efforts, the economy shrank in part because demand declined for Ukraine's main export products, such as steel. The national currency, the hryvna, has also weakened. On 13 December 2012 the new Ukrainian parliament finally managed to choose a speaker and reelect Mykola Azarov of the Party of Regions as prime minister after two days of brawling among deputies in the chamber crippled its inaugural session. The Verkhovna Rada has a long history of physical altercations between lawmakers.
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