News & Views

Constitutional News

ANNOUNCEMENT: Is it time for a constitutional convention in Ukraine?

A public discussion on “Is It Time for a Constitutional Convention in Ukraine?” will be held on Dec. 1, 2021, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., in the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Leading politicians and constitutionalism experts are invited to participate in the event dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the nationwide referendum that proclaimed Ukraine’s independence.

According to the discussion’s organizers, the Center for Constitutional Design, the current situation in Ukraine indicates a systemic crisis of its statehood. The country’s present constitutional architecture allowed Ukraine to come into being as an independent nation but has failed to ensure well-being, security, and liberty for its citizens.

Regardless of the President’s name, the Parliament’s configuration, and the Government’s personal composition, Ukrainians – after the brief surge of their confidence in the newly-elected leaders – have been time and again disappointed in them and felt being permanently alienated from their own state. The citizens’ deep distrust of the state institutions (except those that defend our independence in Eastern Ukraine) seems to have been the only constant for all the years of Ukrainian independence. And without citizens’ trust, any statehood is doomed to stagnation and decline.

We are sure that it is fundamental blunders in the Ukrainian state’s constitutional design that are behind this tragedy. Unlike most developed democracies, we have never had a broad public discussion on which state exactly we need and which institutions with which functionalities exactly can ensure security, well-being, and liberty in the Ukrainian land.

The Ukrainian situation is painfully reminiscent of the United States just after the victory of the American Revolution when the former colonies managed to gain independence and create their own state. However, it soon became clear that the Articles of Confederation (saving as a U.S. Constitution at the time) had built an inefficient and unbalanced framework dooming the Americans to stagnation and decline.

Then, America’s best sons, whom history called the Founding Fathers, instead of competing for power in the inefficient polity, gathered together in Philadelphia to change the American state’s framework. In this way, the confederation became a federation, the institute of Presidency was embedded in the U.S. constitutional architecture, and the central government was allowed to collect taxes from American citizens.

The constitutional design of the Articles of Confederation all but ruined the newly-established state. It took two centuries for the state framework enshrined in the Constitution of the United States to turn the union of former colonies into the world’s greatest power.

We believe that it is time for Ukraine to call its constitutional convention. Because, before again and again plunging into an electoral race for representation in power institutions, we need a broad public discussion on which institutions exactly we need in this state and what for.