Розмовна тема: political situation in Ukraine

Розмовна тема: political situation in Ukraine

Although the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought Ukraine independence, the centralized Soviet structure of government remained. The first five years were a tumultuous time of trying to establish democratic institutions and traditions.Ukraine’s first direct presidential election was held in1991. In1994, an early presidential election took place, as well as elections to the legislature.Ukrainewas the last of the former Soviet republics to adopt a new constitution. The delay was caused by a struggle in the legislature between reformers, who wanted to introduce a new, democratic system of government, and conservatives, who wanted to preserve the structures of the former Soviet state. The reformers finally triumphed in June 1996 when the legislature adopted a new constitution that set a parliamentary democracy. All citizens aged 18 and over are eligible to vote inUkraine.

Under the 1996 constitution, the president is head of state. The president is elected by direct, majority vote for a term of five years and may serve no more than two consecutive terms. The president appoints the prime minister and, under the advice of the prime minister, also appoints the Cabinet of Ministers. These appointments are subject to confirmation by the legislature. The prime minister is head of government and is responsible for carrying out its policies.

The parliament (Verkhovna Rada) consists of a single chamber of 450 deputies elected for four-year terms. Among its prerogatives, the legislature has the right to change the constitution, pass laws, confirm the budget, and impeach the president.

The highest court is theConstitutional Court, which is charged with protecting and interpreting the constitution. The president, the legislature, and a conference of judges each appoint six of the court’s 18 members. The Supreme Court is the highest appeals court for nonconstitutional issues. A Supreme Judiciary Council, consisting of 20 members, recommends judiciary appointments and deals with the removal of judges.

AlthoughUkraineis a unitary state, its constitution allows for a considerable degree of decentralization. The country is divided into 24 oblasts (regions) and one autonomous republic Crimea. The cities of Kyiv and Sevastopol’ have special status; their governments, which operate independently of oblast authority, are responsible only to the central government in Kyiv. Local councils and executive bodies, elected every four years, are responsible for their jurisdiction’s taxes, budgets, schools, roads, utilities, and public health. TheCrimeanAutonomousRepublicenjoys far-ranging autonomy withinUkraine, including its own constitution, legislature, and Cabinet of Ministers. The latter controls Crimea’s government and economy, but is restricted from implementing policies that would contradict the constitution of Ukraine.

As for The United Kingdom, it is a parliamentary monarchy — that is, the head of state is a monarch with limited powers. Britain’s democratic government is based on a constitution composed of various historical documents, laws, and formal customs adopted over the years. Parliament, the legislature, consists of the House of Lords, the House of Commons, and the monarch, also called the Crown. The House of Commons is far more influential than the House of Lords, which in effect makes the British system unicameral, meaning the legislature has one chamber. The chief executive is the prime minister, who is a member of the House of Commons. The executive branch also includes Her Majesty’s Government, commonly referred to simply as “the government.” The government is composed of ministers in the Cabinet, most of whom are members of the House of Commons; government departments, each of which is responsible to a minister; local authorities; and public corporations. Because the House of Commons is involved in both the legislative and executive branches of the British government, there is no separation of powers between executive and legislature as there is in the United States.