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Government and politics in Ukraine

Ukraine continues to make steady progress toward developing a democratic state based on the rule of law. Under Ukraine's first post-Soviet Constitution, adopted on June 28, 1996, power was formally divided between three branches of government -- the executive, national legislature, and the judiciary. Although the new Constitution has not definitively resolved the formal division of powers between the three branches of government, it has provided the Ukrainians with a strong, legal framework for addressing this problem. More importantly, it has codified the fundamental rights of free speech, freedom of the press and assembly, and freedom of religion for all Ukrainians.

Ukraine's unicameral parliament, known as the Rada, has 450 seats and is elected to a four-year term. Beginning with the March 1998 elections, half of the Rada's seats are filled from individual single-seat districts, while the other half are filled from political party lists.

The Ukrainian Prime Minister, whom the President nominates, is subject to the Rada's approval. The Prime Minister is responsible for heading the government and his primary duties include selecting and chairing the Council of Ministers. The division of powers between the Presidency and the Prime Minister's office, however, has often proved to be an issue of contention.

Ukraine's Presidency remains the preeminent post in the Ukrainian government. The President is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and may veto Rada legislation. The Rada can override Presidential vetoes by a two-thirds vote. Under the new Constitution, Ukrainians hold presidential elections every five years and are scheduled to return to the polls in 2004.

Useful sites for more information:

Constitution of Ukraine Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political studies
Brama's list of links to pages with info on Ukrainian government and politics  





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