State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003

State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003

State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003

State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003

Synopsis

This book examines the development of the Ukrainian parliament - the Verkhovna Rada - from before Ukraine's independence in 1991 to the present. It shows how the parliament transformed itself from a provincial republican Soviet to the national legislature of a sovereign state, and from a nominal, symbolic body to a genuine legislative and representative institution. It discusses the key role of parliament in the wider state-building process, and examines the evolution of political factions and the committee system in the parliament.

Excerpt

Between parties and the president

The Verkhovna Rada, 1990-2003

A principle aim of studying internal parliamentary development in Ukraine is to identify not only the extent and meaning of institutional change, but also to explain the process. As argued in Chapter 1, institutional change is caused by a combination of exogenous and endogenous factors. However, in practice, the division between them is not always clear-cut. in order to manage analytically the complex intermeshing of different levels of factors driving change and an assessment of the extent and meaning of this change in the empirical analysis to follow, this chapter will identify the key exogenous changes over time to set the scene for the later chapters, enabling these factors to be brought into the empirical analysis as appropriate.

The main exogenous factors for internal parliamentary institutionalization in Ukraine have been identified as: the emerging constitutional framework; the leadership styles of Presidents Kravchuk and especially Kuchma; the electoral laws and the party system. Exogenous factors are seen to include those structures, rules and agencies that were essentially 'external' to parliament in the sense that they shaped the Verkhovna Rada from outside its day-to-day operation. Thus, this is an analytical division, while at the same time recognizing that in practice, such boundaries are blurred and overlapping. For example, the constitution is treated as exogenous because it provided formal parameters to the operation of parliament that conditioned the path of internal parliamentary development, but it was the Verkhovna Rada that amended the constitution pre-1996 and adopted the post-Soviet constitution in 1996. the same is true for electoral legislation. However, once these normative acts were passed, they became 'higher order' rules that were difficult to change and that independently shaped the structure and operation of the Verkhovna Rada during 1990-2003.

The role of parliament vis-à-vis the executive remained largely ill-defined before 1996, a situation which laid the foundation for extended inter-branch conflict over the form of state after the election as president of Leonid Kuchma, who was committed to establishing a strong executive presidency. the debate over the division of powers was long and deeply contested between the branches and within parliament. After the adoption of the constitution in 1996, which outlined a president-parliamentary system, dissatisfaction with the division of powers led to attempts to alter the balance of power at the expense of the other.

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