Policy Memos

From Presidentialism to Parliamentarianism: Strengthening or Weakening Democracy in Ukraine?

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




Since the late 1980s, crises in Ukrainian politics have been resolved through political compromise. Ukraine’s peaceful transition to independence, the 1994 electoral transition of power (the first in the post-Soviet space), and the adoption of the 1996 constitution all came about through elite compromises. Even during former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma’s second term, marked by a drift toward authoritarianism, Ukraine’s political system remained quite pluralistic; neither the Ukrainian parliament nor the constitutional court were under Kuchma’s full control. This can be explained by the presence of a strong democratic opposition in parliament, as well as by competition among oligarchic groups within the ruling elite. [...]

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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