How Ukrainian People Can Change Their Constitution

Andrew Chrucky
June 2012

Because the present Ukrainian constitution gives too much power to the office of the President -- making him a virtual dictator -- , the solution is to change the constitution to eliminate the powers of the President. And this -- at present -- can be done in the following way: either the President or 1/3 of the Verkhovna Rada (150 votes) proposes the amendment, and this is then approved by a 2/3 vote of the Verkhovna Rada (300 votes). But there is the further complication that the Constitutional Court can rule the amendment unconstitutionalm, as it did in 2010 about the 2004 amendment.

Short of some kind of coup or revolution, the legal way to change the constitution is by pressuring the 450 deputies of the Verkhovna Rada to pledge to change the constitution if they hope to be elected in October 2012. But exactly what must they pledge to do? They must pledge to bring Ukraine nearer to the Swiss form of government. This will require (1) giving the people of Ukraine the right to change the constitution through initiatives and referendums. But since there is always the possibility of the Constitutional Court ruling an amendment unconstitutional, it is necessary to (2) abolish the Constitutional Court, and make the people sovereign. I would also urge that (3) the office of the President be abolished, and a Federal Council (consisting of Cabinet posts) take its place -- elected by the Verkhovna Rada.

Require each Party and each candidate for the post of deputy to the Verkhovna Rade to make a pledge to propose and vote for these three amendements to the constitution:

1. Introduce a popular initiative and referendum for changing the constitution.
2. Abolish the Constitutional Court.
3. Substitute a Federal Council for the office of President.

If a party or candidate does not pledge to amend the constitution in these three ways, DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS PARTY OR FOR THESE CANDIDATES!