Presidential election as a mirror of transitional society in Ukraine.

Electoral campaigns in transitional societies are important landmarks on the way of entrenchment and stabilization (or, on the contrary, of degeneration and decline) of newly constructed political institutions. They reveal achievements of a society and its non-resolved problems, show the attained level of political democracy, cultural and moral climate. 

Up to this time, Ukraine seemed to develop satisfactory in political dimension, despite its constant economic decline and impoverishment of a large percentage of people. After independence it successfully overcome some major political crises showing readiness and ability of different branches of political elite to compromise and to separate substantial problems from less important. In some of those political clashes, which ended in sum successfully, President Kuchma was a major player. He showed himself if not as a convinced democrat, then at least as a moderate sober-minded politician with a sufficient measure of flexibility who used his influence in order not to bring debates to their extreme and to achieve generally acceptable solution. The first political success was, of course, the democratic way of ahead-of-time resignation of the first President Leonid Kravchuk and election of Kuchma in 1994. Personal Kuchma’s (or his team’s) achievements in this field were Constitutional agreement in 1995 and adoption of Constitution in 1996. Though in those political battles a kind of President’s judicial nihilism sometimes became visible, in general all went in the right direction, in a sense that democratic institutions and procedures were on the march.

The year of 1996 was a turning point in many aspects…

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