The Constitution of 1996 provided for the dualism of the executive branch – there is the President and the Prime Minister who have executive powers. Until 2004, the President had had super powers, had been able to tell the Prime Minister what to do and would not have born any responsibility for these decisions. In 2004, the Constitution was changed, the parliament was given the authority to control the government, but the powers of the President in the executive branch were not taken away. Therefore, if there is a strong President – such as Yanukovych or Poroshenko – he then fully controls the government and actually usurps power, and if there is a weak one – like Yushchenko – there are constant conflicts between the President and the Prime Minister and a political crisis.
In order to eliminate this dualism, Ukraine should become a parliamentary republic — remove the President from the executive branch, and provide the government, headed by the Prime Minister, with respective powers. At the same time, parliamentary control over the government should be extended.
Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Oksana Syroyid says: “The parliamentary form will eliminate the existing dualism of power. Even now the President remains the head of state, the one responsible for foreign policy, the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.
The executive branch is in the hands of the Prime Minister, who should be nominated as a winner in the parliamentary elections.” But for this we need to make changes to the Constitution.
Speaking in more detail about the current powers of the President, the politician notes:
“The President controls half of the executive branch and half of the money in Ukraine. At the same time, he does not report to anyone.” Actually, this is what makes this position very desirable and attractive for those who want to enrich themselves at the expense of the state and incredibly important for the oligarchs. Therefore, it is necessary to limit the power of the president and make it less attractive. To do so, the Verkhovna Rada should support the draft law “On the President of Ukraine” developed by Samopomich. The document stipulates, in particular, that the head of state will not be able to unconstitutionally appoint the composition of the National Commission for State Regulation in Energy and Utilities and other regulators, heads of the SBU in the regions. In addition, the President will not be able to create any State Management of Affairs offices or other governing bodies and will be able to appoint or dismiss someone in the executive branch only with the consent of the Prime Minister.
As for the government, Oksana Syroyid says it is necessary to change the approaches to the control of its activities. Presently the parliament has very weak instruments of control over the executive branch. They need to be strengthened, for example, through making the budget specification more explicit. This will minimize corruption. The Deputy Speaker states: “A transparent budget is one of the most effective instruments of parliament’s control over the government. If the budget is detailed, there will be no possibility to dispose of it in a manual mode because every hryvnia will be traced.”
It depends on Ukrainians – who will elect the President in a few weeks and the new Verkhovna Rada in autumn – whether the proposed changes will be implemented qualitatively or will be ignored by the authorities. Oksana Syroyid concludes: “We all must learn to be responsible when choosing. Unless people realize that the quality of their life depends on who they cast their vote for, nothing will change.”