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Ukraine: The 1996 Constitution Is Reinstated

(Oct. 8, 2010) On October 4, 2010, the coalition of ruling party factions in the Ukrainian Parliament was dissolved, and a unified parliamentary majority was formed. This move reflected Ukraine's Constitutional Court ruling of October 1, 2010, which repealed the 2004 constitutional amendments that had transformed Ukraine from a presidential republic into a mixed parliamentary-presidential system. The 2004 reform was the result of a compromise between major political forces in order to secure the achievements of the “Orange Revolution” and provide for more parliamentary control over the activities of the nation's president. (Parliamentary Majority Is Established in Ukraine [in RUSSIAN], NEWSRU.COM (Oct. 4, 2010),

The Constitutional Court found procedural violations in the adoption of the 2004 amendments, which served as the reason for their abrogation. The Court ordered that Ukrainian legislation be brought into accordance with the provisions of the original Ukrainian Constitution of 1996 immediately, and the Prime Minister of Ukraine Nikolai Azarov ordered the Ministry of Justice to draft the necessary documents. A bill on the Cabinet of Ministers has been approved by the government, and it was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (legislature) on the same day. (Constitutional Court of Ukraine Changed the System of Government [in RUSSIAN], NEWSRU.COM (Oct. 1, 2010),

According to the Ukrainian News Agency UNIAN, the following major changes will occur in Ukraine as a result of the proposed legislative measures.

  • The terms of office of the members of the Verkhovna Rada, provincial legislative assemblies, and local councils will be shortened from five to four years.
  • The members of the Verkhovna Rada will not be able to appoint the Cabinet of Ministers and chairpersons of the State Property Fund, National Antimonopoly Committee, Security Service of Ukraine, and National Committee for TV and Radio Broadcast, as they had formerly done. The Parliament will keep its right to issue consent to the President of Ukraine's appointment of the Prosecutor General (parliamentary consent is not required for his dismissal).
  • The power of the President of Ukraine is extended, and he will have the right to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister, other members of the government, other heads of national executive bodies, and heads of provincial and local administrations.
  • Reorganization of the government establishment and liquidation of national executive agencies are now included as functions under the sole jurisdiction of the President of Ukraine, who can also repeal the acts of the Cabinet of Ministers and of the Government of the Crimean Autonomous Republic within Ukraine.
  • The Cabinet of Ministers will be responsible to the President and will resign as soon as a new President of Ukraine assumes office, not when the new Parliament is elected, as was formerly the case.
  • The constitutional norm that required presidential elections to be held on the last Sunday in October of the fifth year of the President's term is reestablished.

(Political Reform Repealed: What Will Be Changed: UNIAN Report [in Russian], UNIAN (Oct. 1, 2010),