Ukraine’s First President Kravchuk To Lead Constitutional Reform Efforts

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich invited the country’s first President Leonid Kravchuk to lead the constitutional reform work.

Leonid Kravchuk

A new constitution will become a result of reforms in the country, Yanukovich said on Monday, February 21.

“The constitution should protect human rights, create conditions for harmonious development of the country and build an effective system of public administration,” the president said.

He suggested that Kravchuk should coordinate preparations for constitutional reform in Ukraine.

Kravchuk, in turn, proposed to create a Constitutional Assembly as an advisory body under the head of state.

He did not rule out that constitutional amendments would be considered by a new parliament to be elected in 2012, and stressed that the assembly should be depoliticised.

In his opinion, the assembly should have 100-150 members – lawyers, political scientists, political philosophers, and public figures. “There is the opinion that politicians should make up no more than 20-25 percent of the total number of members in order to avoid opposition,” Kravchuk said.

The assembly will meet 2-3 times a year, while its scientific and expert group will work permanently.

“At its first session the Constitutional Assembly will discuss the concept of the first edition of the constitution that will be further worked on after that,” Kravchuk said.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is drafting a new constitution.

“We will continue the government reform. A Constitutional Assembly will start working in order to draft a constitution,” Yanukovich said earlier.

He believes that the assembly will bring together representatives of all interested political forces and public organisations that are ready to engaged in a serious and professional discussion on constitutional problems.

“The authorities will not impose upon the country a new vision for constitutional changes and will prepare conditions for independent and public work of the Constitutional Assembly,” the president said.

“The public administration reform will continue and the bureaucracy will be cut further. Government officials' activities will be monitored constantly as part of anti-corruption measures,” he said.

According to Yanukovich, “an important element of strengthening democracy will be public broadcasting and additional guarantees of government openness and access to important information for independent mass media.”

“Our chance not in calls for storming barricades, destroying and razing things to the ground, but in the opportunity to consolidate, develop democracy and supremacy of law, and move towards subsequent integration of the East and the West,” he said.

“As head of state I will do everything I can for the citizens of Ukraine to feel like one family,” Yanukovich said.

He promised to “firmly adhere to the development of democracy” and “work will all those who share these principles and can place national interests above their own ones”.