Ukraine flag Ukraine: Economic and Political Overview

The political framework of Ukraine

Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Volodymyr Zelensky (since 20 May 2019)
Prime Minister: Denys Shmyhal (since 4 March 2020)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 31 March 2024 although the Ukrainian government has enacted martial law, and Ukrainian law does not allow elections to be held when martial law is in effect
Supreme Council: the electoral procedure ought to occur within a month after lifting the state of martial law, which was implemented in 2022 in response to the Russian invasion
Current Political Context
On February 24th 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, which profoundly upsets the current political context in both countries and will have substantial political and economic ramifications. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

Since he was elected President in April 2019, former actor and television producer Volodymyr Zelensky promised to prioritise two issues highlighted during his campaign, corruption and the conflict in eastern Ukraine (Donbass). The absolute majority obtained at the legislative elections of July 2019 allowed him to launch a reform program but with many challenges, as illustrated by the political crisis that emerged in October 2020. A controversial ruling by the Ukrainian Constitutional Court cancelled key anti-corruption legislation, notably the requirement for government officials to file e-declarations of their assets. This led Ukraine's main donors, including the IMF, to suspend their funding. However, in 2022, internal divisions were put aside and as Ukraine was united around the political and military goals to restore its territorial integrity and the legally recognised borders of 1991, Zelensky enjoyed broad popular support.
Indeed, the situation escalated considerably since the Russian and Ukrainian presidents met in Paris in December 2019 regarding the Donbas issue. A tripartite meeting between Ukraine, Russia and the EU took place in Minsk in December 2019, leading to the renewal for five years of the contract binding Gazprom and Naftogaz governing the transit of gas from Russia to the EU by Ukraine. However, Russia completed in mid-2021 the construction of its Nord Stream 2 pipeline project linking Russia and Germany and doubling the capacities of Nord Stream 1, which would cause revenue losses for Ukraine of around 3 billion USD per year. Germany warned that the pipeline would not be allowed to come into service in the event of a new escalation in Ukraine, and following Russia’s large-scale military invasion of the country launched at the end of February 2022, Nord Stream 2 certification was withheld. Ukraine's government declared martial law, mobilised its armed forces and called on citizens to resist. Western countries adopted an unprecedented range of sanctions against Russia and provided significant financial and humanitarian support, training and weapons to Ukraine.
The war with Russia continued throughout 2023, causing significant devastation and displacement of the Ukrainian population. Meanwhile, Ukraine continued its efforts to join the European Union, and in June 2023, the country was granted candidate status, a major step forward in its integration process. Ukraine received continued international support throughout 2023, including military aid, humanitarian assistance, and diplomatic backing. The United States, the European Union, and other countries played a crucial role in supporting Ukraine's resilience and resistance against Russia. Attempts were made to resume negotiations between the two countries; however, not much progress has been achieved so far.

Main Political Parties
Among the main parties represented in parliament stand:
- Servant of the people: founded in 2016 under the name of Party of decisive change, then renamed according to the comic television series whose main character is Volodymyr Zelensky
- European Solidarity (YeS): pro-European, it is the largest opposition party in the parliament
- All-Ukrainian Union "Fatherland" (Batkivshchyna): centrist, advocates for social justice, economic development, and closer ties with the European Union
- Voice (Holos): center-right, founded in 2019 by singer Sviatoslav Vakartchouk
- For the Future (ZM): centre-right, it is known for its close ties to the Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi
Trust (Dovira): supports the ruling coalition
- Platform for Life and Peace: pro-Russian, it was a new parliamentary group formed after the Opposition Platform – For Life was banned due to allegations of having ties to Russia. On 20 June 2023, the party was banned by court
- Restoration of Ukraine: parliamentary group founded in 2022, cross-party alliance dedicated to rebuilding and revitalizing the country in the aftermath of the ongoing Russian invasion.
Executive Power
The President is the head of state and is elected by universal suffrage for five years. He is the commander-in-chief of the army and it is he who appoints the Prime Minister - the head of government - once he has been appointed by Parliament, as leader of the party or of the majority coalition. The Prime Minister's term is five years. Executive power is shared between the President and the Prime Minister. The President chooses the Minister of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the other ministers of the Council are chosen by the Prime Minister.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Ukraine is unicameral. The parliament called Supreme Council consists of 450 seats with its members chosen on a proportional basis from those parties that gain 3% or more of the national electoral vote; members serve five-year terms. The President has the power to dissolve the Supreme Council, if he so wishes. The people of Ukraine have limited political rights.

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:

Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Partly Free
Political Freedom:

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House


Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.


© eexpand, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: March 2024