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The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine ( ; English: Supreme Council of Ukraine) is Ukrainemarker's parliament. The Verkhovna Rada is a unicameral parliament composed of 450 deputies, which is presided over by a chairman (speaker). It meets in the Verkhovna Rada buildingmarker in Ukraine's capital Kievmarker (Kyiv).

The Verkhovna Rada was first established in 1938 as the national parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. Since then, 17 convocations (sessions) of the Verkhovna Rada were held. The Verkhovna Rada of the 14th convocation officially changed the numbering of sessions, proclaiming itself the Verkhovna Rada of the third convocation. The sixth convocation is the latest convocation of the parliament.

In the Verkhovna Rada elections, the seats are divided among all parties that achieved a minimum 3% nationwide vote tally, using the Hamilton method of apportionment. The latest elections to the Verkhovna Rada were held on September 30, 2007. On October 8, 2008, President Viktor Yushchenko dissolved the parliament and called early elections.


The name Rada ( ) means "council". It originated in medieval Rus', and in the 10th century represented a boyar council. It was also used by Dnieper Cossacks in the 17th and 18th centuries for the meetings where major decisions were made and new councils were elected by popular vote.

This name was later used by the Ukrainian Revolutionary government between March 17, 1917 and April 29, 1918 (Central Rada).

Verkhovna, is the feminine form of the adjective meaning supreme. It is derived from the Ukrainian word meaning "top."


The first convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR assembled for the its first session in 1938. The first Secretary was Georgy Pyatakov, who was posthumously politically rehabilitated.

The first real election to select deputies to the Verkhovna Rada was held March 1990. Although the Communist Party still remained in control, a so-called "Democratic Bloc" was formed by numerous parties, including People's Movement of Ukraine (Rukh), Helsinki Watch Committee of Ukraine, Party of Greens of Ukraine, and many others.

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukrainian SSR of the twelfth convocation proclaimed the state sovereignty of Ukraine on July 16, 1990, and declared Ukraine's independence and the creation of the Ukrainian State on August 24, 1991, at approximately 6 p.m. local time. At the time, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada was Leonid Kravchuk. The Act of Ukrainian Independence was overwhelmingly supported in a national referendum held on December 1, 1991.

The Constitution of Ukraine was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of the thirteenth convocation on June 28, 1996, at approximately 9 a.m. local time. The parliament's fourteenth convocation officially changed the numbering of the convocations proclaiming itself the Verkhovna Rada of the third convocation. After the Orange Revolution, a set of amendments were adopted to the constitution on December 8, 2004, by the Verkhovna Rada of the fourth (fifteenth) convocation.

In January 2009 the Verkhovna Rada deputies trimmed their financing by 118 million hryvnias, compared with the year 2008 (amid statements of lawmakers about the necessity triming the expendure of government to fight the current economic crises of Ukraine). At first the parliament trimmed on details but later, under the pressure of government, lawmakers also trimmed their salaries. However mid-June Ukrainian newspaper DELO reviled that during a voting on the law on changes in the state budget-2009 (which proposed to finance providing those ill with diabetes with insulin at the expense of the increased excise duty on beer) Verkhovna Rada deputies introduced an amendment into the law and increased the Verkhovna Rada’s budget by 97 million hryvnias this way (as made public byYulia Tymoshenko Bloc faction member Oleh Liashko). President Viktor Yuschenko vetoed the law on June 18, 2009. The president stated that the 100 million hryvnias from the excise should be given to the health care sector instead of the parliament's own expenditures.

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc faction intends to initiate the abolishment of parliamentary immunity in September 2009.

A microphone throwing championship among MP, organized by the Kyiv independent media trade union, was held outside the building of the Verkhovna Rada on Friday, September 11, 2009 in response to an incident on September 1, 2009 when an Communist MP snatched a microphone from a STB reporter and threw it downstairs. Several MPs participated.


The Verkhovna Rada meets in a neo-classical buildingmarker on Kiev's Hrushevskoho St. The building adjoins a picturesque park and the 18th century Mariyinsky Palacemarker, designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, which serves as the official residence of the President of Ukraine.

After the transfer of the capital of the Ukrainian SSR from Kharkivmarker to Kiev in 1934, a whole set of government buildings was planned for the city. In 1936, a contest for the construction of the new parliament building was won by architect Volodymyr Zabolotny.

Construction for the original building was done from 1936-38. Having been destroyed in the Second World War, the building was reconstructed in its original style in 1945-1947, with the glass dome being rebuilt one metre higher than the original one.

Mission and authority

The Verkhovna Rada is the sole body of legislative power in Ukraine. The parliament determines the principles of domestic and foreign policy, introduces amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine, adopts laws, approves the state budget, designates elections of the President of Ukraine, impeaches the president, declares war and peace, appoints the Prime Minister of Ukraine, appoints or approves appointment of certain officials, appoints one-third of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine, elects judges for permanent terms, ratifies and denounces international treaties, and exercises certain control functions.

Oath of office

Before assuming office, the Verkhovna Rada's deputies must take the following oath before the parliament:

In original Ukrainian:

In English translation:

When the work of the parliament is blocked during plenary meetings wages are not credited to deputies.


The Verkhovna Rada is a unicameral legislature with 450 national deputies ( ) elected on the basis of equal and direct universal suffrage through a secret ballot.

The deputies possess full personal legal immunity during the term of office. On the one hand, this may help certain individuals avoid criminal responsibility; on the other hand, the immunity serves as a guarantee for the existence of political opposition. In cases of egregious malfeasance, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine or the Head of the Supreme Court of Ukraine can request that a deputy's immunity be revoked; the decision whether to revoke is up to the Verkhovna Rada.

Currently, five parties and blocs are represented in the Verkhovna Rada: the Party of Regions, the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT), the Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc (OU-PSD), the Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), and the Lytvyn Bloc.

Privileges for deputies

Verkhovna Rada deputies have the right to free transportation, free use of the hall of official delegations, free housing, free medical services and free vacations at health spas. The Ukrainian President, Prime Minister, members of the governmentmarker and the Verkhovna Rada deputies also have parliamentary immunity(law enforcement also cannot search their homes or follow them.). During the Orange Revolution and the campaign for the 2007 parliamentary election Party of Regions, OU-PSD and BYuT all promised to strip lawmakers of there parliamentary immunity. June 2008 the parliament failed to adopt the bill on restriction of privileges for deputies and introduction of imperative mandate. 192 people's deputies voted "for" the bill submitted by the BYuT faction out of 436 deputies registered in the session hall. The factions of the opposition Party of Regions, as well as the CPU and the Lytvyn Bloc voted against, the OU-PSD faction voted partially "for" and the BYUT faction voted (fully) "for". A proposal to send the bill for the first reading for the second time did also not find support. In May 2009 the second Tymoshenko Government approved a bill amending the law on the status of a people's deputies of Ukraine, this bill reduces certain privileges for incumbent deputies and former deputies.

As of August 22, 2009 no deputy's immunity or their privileges were revoked. Individual deputies can be stripped of there immunity if a bill to strip their rights is passed by the Verkhovna Rada.

Speakers and vice-speakers

The parliament elects from among its ranks the Chairman (Speaker; ), the First Deputy Chairman, and the Deputy Chairman.

Before the Chairman of a newly convoked Rada is elected, parliamentary sessions are presided over by members of a temporary presidium of the first session ( ). The temporary presidium is composed of five deputies, representing the four largest parliamentary fractions plus the chairman of a preparatory deputy group of the first parliamentary session, however the Rada may enact an ad hoc deviation from this composition rule.

The Chairman presides over parliamentary sessions, signs bills and sends them to the President for promulgation, signs and promulgates parliamentary acts (other than bills), organises staff work, etc. The chairman is also allowed to call special sessions of parliament, enact bills vetoed by the president only when the Verkhovna Rada votes to overcome the veto by a two-thirds majority, and participate in meetings of the National Security and Defence Council.

In case the post of the President of Ukraine becomes vacant, the Chairman of the Rada becomes acting head of state with limited authority. For instance, the acting president cannot dissolve the parliament, appoint or submit for parliamentary approval candidates for many key official posts, grant military ranks or state orders, or exercise the right of pardon. The Constitution and Ukrainian legislation contain no provisions for presidential succession in case the posts of President and Chairman of the Rada are both vacant.


Dramatic political developments in Ukraine have caused repeated changes of the parliamentary electoral system. Each convocation of the Verkhovna Rada has been elected under a different set of laws (gradually evolving from the purely majoritarian scheme of the Sovietmarker era to a purely proportional scheme, effective in 2006 under the transitional provisions of the constitutional amendments).

In the 1990 and 1994 elections, all 450 MPs were elected by majority voting. At the time, Ukraine was divided in 450 electoral districts. Each district sent 1 MP to parliament. In order to win the election, a candidate needed more than 50% of the votes. If no candidate had 50%, then the two candidates with the most votes ran in a second round.

In the 1998 and 2002 elections, 225 MPs were elected by majority voting as earlier (with the exception, that the candidate needed only a simple majority to win). Another 225 MPs were elected on a proportional basis. These seats were divided between the parties who obtained 4% or greater support in the general election.

From the 2006 election and onward, all deputies were elected on a proportional basis. All seats were divided between the parties that obtained 3% or more support of voters. For the 2007 election, the threshold percentage was not changed, but some amendments to the election process were made.

Latest election

On April 2, 2007, Viktor Yushchenko, the President of Ukraine, dissolved parliament and signed the presidential decree ordering early parliamentary elections in Ukraine to be held on May 27, 2007, which later triggered a political crisis. However, the election was later postponed to June 24, 2007. The Rada has called this decree unconstitutional, prevented funds allocation for elections and continued to function.

After more than 1/3 of the deputes resigned and the President, Prime Minister and Chairman reached an agreement the election was scheduled on September 30, 2007.

Summary of the 30 September 2007 Verkhovna Radamarker election results [[[Template:Ukrainian parliamentary election, 2007|Full version]]]
Parties and blocs
Party of Regions (Партія регіонів)
Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (Блок Юлії Тимошенко)
Our Ukraine–People's Self-Defense Bloc (Блок Наша Україна–Народна Самооборона)

Next election

On October 8, 2008, PresidentYushchenkodissolved parliament and called early elections. On October 29, the Verkhovna Rada voted against a bill to finance these elections, so an exact date cannot yet be set. Yushchenko postponed the election to an unknown date since then.

See also


  1. . Article 96.
  2. [ Parliament secretly increased its financing by 100 millions], UNIAN (June 15, 2009)
  3. Yuschenko Vetoes Increased Excise On Beer, Ukrainian News Agency (June 18, 2009)
  4. Yushchenko to veto increased excise on beer, Kyiv Post (June 16, 2009)
  5. Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc To Initiate Withdrawal Of Deputy Immunity In September, Ukrainian News Agency (August 21, 2009)
  6. Microphone throwing championship for MPs held near Ukrainian parliament, Interfax-Ukraine (September 11, 2009)
  7. Ukrainian MPs not being paid for days parliament was blocked, Kyiv Post (October 4, 2009)
  8. Future generations in debt, Kyiv Post (September 24, 2009)
  9. Official Immunity Turns Into Campaign Issue In Ukraine, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (August 16, 2007 )
  10. Case of fugitive ex-deputy, a murder suspect, heats up immunity debate, Kyiv Post (July 9, 2009)
  11. Verkhovna Rada failed to adopt bill on restriction of privileges for deputies and introduction of imperative mandate, National Radio Company of Ukraine (June 18, 2008)
  12. Government suggests canceling certain privileges for Memebres of the Parliament, Kyiv Post (May 27, 2009)
  13. Tymoshenko says her bloc will soon propose cancellation of deputy immunity, Kyiv Post (August 22, 2009)

External links

Communist Party of Ukraine (Комуністична партія України)
Lytvyn Bloc (Блок Литвина)
Socialist Party of Ukraine (Соціалістична партія України)
Against all
Invalid ballot papers
Total (turnout 62.02%)
Source: Central Election Commission of Ukraine (English)

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