The Constitutional Court of Ukraine has declared unconstitutional law No.2222-IV of December 8, 2004 amending the Constitution of Ukraine (the so-called political reform of 2004) due to the violation of the procedure in its examination and adoption.

"The court has ruled that the 2004 amendments to the Ukrainian constitution were unconstitutional due to violations of constitutional procedures in their examination and adoption," the head of the court, Anatoly Holovyn, announced in Kiev. on Friday.

According to the ruling, law No.2222-IV became ineffective on the day the ruling was issued, i.e. on September 30.

"The Constitutional Court believes that the declaration of law No.2222 as unconstitutional due to the violation of the procedure in its examination and adoption means a return to the previous wording of constitutional norms that were amended and excluded by law No.2222," reads the court's ruling.

The Constitutional Court's ruling must be observed on Ukrainian territory, is final and cannot be challenged.

A total of 252 lawmakers representing the parliamentary coalition submitted a respective motion to the Constitutional Court.

On December 8, 2004, the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, adopted a law amending the Constitution of Ukraine, which foresees a switch from a presidential-parliamentary to parliamentary-presidential form of government, the government's formation by a coalition of parliamentary factions, and the extension of parliamentary powers to five years.

Yanukovych's representative on the constitutional court, Olena Lukash, told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency the court's decision meant Ukraine had returned to its original constitution with immediate effect. Now the president gained back the power to pick his 'right hand'. But even should his allies lose the next general election, due in 2012, he will continue to have a free hand in deciding his prime minister and cabinet.

The Constitution was hastily rewritten during the 2004 mass protests which brought Viktor Yushchenko to power.

It was designed then as a compromise between the new pro-Western president and parliament and had the support of Mr Yanukovych's camp who, analysts say, saw it as way of checking Yushchenko's powers following their own candidate's defeat.

The reform did indeed frustrate Yushchenko's administration, setting him up for confrontations with parliament and his former ally Yulia Tymoshenko.

The current Constitution of Ukraine was adopted on June 28, 1996. The law on amendments to the main law came into force in 2006.


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