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

See all articles by Sujit Choudhry

Sujit Choudhry

Center for Global Constitutionalism, WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Thomas Sedelius

Dalarna University

Julia Kyrychenko

Centre of Policy and Legal Reform

Date Written: August 25, 2018

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Choudhry, Sujit and Sedelius, Thomas and Kyrychenko, Julia, Semi-Presidentialism and Inclusive Governance in Ukraine: Reflections for Constitutional Reform (August 25, 2018). 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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238520

Sujit Choudhry (Contact Author)

Center for Global Constitutionalism, WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Thomas Sedelius

Dalarna University ( email )

SE-788 81 Borlange
United States

Julia Kyrychenko

Centre of Policy and Legal Reform ( email )

Kyiv, 01001
Ukraine

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