Ukraine to amend its Constitution
Published December 24th 2003 in The Russia Journal

KIEV - The Supreme Rada, Ukrainian parliament, has passed a bill initiating amendments to the national Constitution in the first reading. A central highlight of the bill is the proposal to elect the president through the Rada, and not through general election as it’s currently stipulated in the country.

Two hundred and seventy six legislators voted for the amendments — several votes over the 226 votes needed to pass them in the first round of voting, while 300 votes will be needed to pass the law in the second and final reading, Izvestia reports.

If this happens, the president will no longer be elected through a general election, but by the parliament, thus depriving Ukrainians a say in electing presidents in the country. Through this system, a presidential aspirant will have to win 300 votes in the Supreme Rada.

Other constitutional amendments will include extending legislators’ term in the Rada from four to five years and a proportional voting system in future parliamentary elections, effective from 2006.

However, a public-opinion poll conducted by Ukrainian Center of Economical and Political Studies shows that 86.5 percent of respondents want the president to be elected by direct national vote, compared to only 4.7 percent who want the Supreme Rada to elect the president. The pollsters did not indicate the survey’s percentage error in their results.