Policy Memos

Is Democracy Irreversible in Ukraine? Political Reconfiguration on the Eve of the March 2006 Elections

Policy Memo:


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The Orange Revolution in November-December 2004 against falsifications of the presidential election was a tremendous step forward in the democratization of Ukraine. Since the election, however, democratically elected President Viktor Yushchenko has faced impediments in implementing his reform policies, supported by a majority of Ukrainians. One of the main impediments arises from the compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada) on December 8, 2004 (between the fraudulent second round and the run-off). The compromise made possible the December run-off election which Yushchenko ultimately won, although many analysts criticize some of its provisions, including oversight powers granted to the Prosecutor General and the power granted to the Rada to dismiss any minister by a simple majority. Most notably, the constitutional reform (effective January 1, 2006) will reduce the powers of the presidency and increase the role of prime minister and the new parliament which will be elected in March 2006. As a result, growing populism in Ukrainian politics on the eve of new parliamentary elections led to a decline in economic performance and the split between Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in September 2005. This split resulted in the formation of a new cabinet under Yuri Yekhanurov, viewed as a more pragmatic politician than the populist Tymoshenko. [...]

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About the author

Professor, Founding Director of the Kyiv Mohyla University School of Policy Analysis
National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy