Political system of Ukraine underwent rapid change in the early 1990s after Ukraine gained its independence from the collapsing Soviet Union in late 1991. During the Soviet period (1922-1991), Ukraine had been governed by Ukrainian Communist Party, which in turn was subordinated to Communist Party of Soviet Union.
After independence, however, Ukraine’s rubber-stamp legislature, Supreme Soviet, was converted to a functioning parliament called Supreme Council. It is a 450-person, single-chamber legislature. Ukraine parliament members are chosen to four year terms in free, multicandidate elections. The chief executive of Ukraine is the President, who is also chosen in free elections.
The president of Ukraine has strong executive powers. He can issue decrees and can appoint presidential representatives to oversee policy implementation by local authorities. The day-to-day administration of the government rests in the hands of prime minister, who heads Council of Ministers.
Ukraine comprises 24 regions called oblasts. In addition, Crimea enjoys a special status as a republic within Ukraine, which grants it a significant amount of economic autonomy. The control of Crimea is at the center of political dispute between Ukraine and Russia.
The range of Ukrainian political parties reflects European traditions. They include the Green party, Republican party, Democratic party, Peasant-Democratic party, Christian-Democratic party, and Socialist party. These parties tend to have small memberships, numbering only several thousand each, which demonstrates the legacy of antiparty feeling following decades of Communist party rule.