DOES UKRAINE NEED A NEW CONSTITUTION?
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The Center for Constitutional Design stems from the recognition of the importance of a new constitutional design for Ukraine. The CCD founders believe that the politics in Ukraine is too personalized and therefore cannot break from the vicious circle of being under a spell of and then disappointed in one politician after another. Instead, we suggest focusing on modeling a new constitutional architecture for the state that would minimize damage from come-and-go people who might get to high power offices and would provide a dynamic model of checks and balances between society and government institutions as well as within the government.
We do not have any democratic mandate to draft a new constitution for Ukraine but we are certain that an inclusive constitutional process is able to give answers to the numerous systemic challenges our country is facing. That is why we have created CCD as a forum to discuss issues that, regretfully, were not thoroughly discussed in the course of transforming the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic into an independent Ukrainian state. What do the Ukrainians expect of their state? Where should the proper boundary run that separates the state regulation of relations within society from the territory of freedom where the intervention of government agencies is banned, at least, without an invitation from citizens to help settle a dispute between them? What should be the competence and responsibility of basic state institutions? And which institutions exactly should be fixed at the level of a constitution? How to make the Ukrainian state efficient, safe, and comfortable for its citizens?
We have no ready answers to these and other questions of the future constitutional design of Ukraine. We know, however, that Ukraine is living in a constitutional vacuum. The modern science of constitutionalism allows us to study hundreds of current and former constitutions and come to conclusions on the relationships between the choice of certain constitutional options and their consequences in the real life. Since Ukrainian universities have quite a few chairs of constitutional law but none of the constitutional design, we set ourselves a task to familiarize Ukrainians with the current state of affairs in constitutional engineering. When the next constitutional moment happens in Ukraine, we wish all the constitutional options known in the present-day world be close at hand and developers of the new Constitution be well aware of logical links between specific constitutional constructions and their social, economic, and security consequences for the state.
Ultimately, we wish to instill a constitutional culture in Ukrainians. Try to persuade the grassroots that Constitution does matter. That it is not a far-out book on the shelf but rulemaking rules reaching out to everybody. That the new Constitution is more important than the name of a president, prime minister, or a majority leader. Because it is the Constitution that they draw their legitimacy from and not vice versa.