Semi-Presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine: Reflections for Constitutional Reform
Semi-presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine: Reflections for Constitutional Reform, co-published by Centre of Policy and Legal Reform & Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, April 2018; ISBN: 978-91-7671-154-5
76 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2018 Last revised: 30 Jul 2019
Date Written: August 25, 2018
Since 1996, Ukraine's Constitution has provided for a semi-presidential form of government, but these constitutional arrangements have proved to be unstable.
Over the past four decades, constitutional stability in Ukraine has faced four main challenges: (a) recurring institutional conflict among the president, legislature and government, which has stalemated the political system and prevented effective legislation; (b) a presidency that has fallen prey to autocratic tendencies; (c) a fragmented and weak party system that has undermined the capacity of the legislature to act coherently; and (d) a weak constitutional culture and a weak Constitutional Court, manifested by irregular, politically motivated unilateral amendments to the Constitution.
In response to these challenges, this report identifies three principles to guide constitutional design: (a) guarding against presidential autocracy; (b) power sharing and executive leadership; and (c) legislative oversight of the executive.
The report provides options for the further reduction of presidential power, even under the current premier-presidential system (in force from 2005-2010, and since 2014), in which presidential power is already weaker than it was under president-parliamentary rule (in force between 2006 and 2010). It addresses the following issues: (a) formation and termination of branches of government; (b) distribution of powers between the president and the prime minister; and (c) additional constitutional design issues.
Keywords: Ukraine; Constitutional Design; Semi-Presidentialism; Former Soviet Union
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