On August 24 1991, Ukraine proclaimed its independence, and during the referendum held on December 1 of the same year, the Ukrainian people confirmed their choice of independent development by saying "yes" to it. Leonid Kravchuk was elected the first president of a newly independent Ukraine; in 1994, he lost the election to Leonid Kuchma who was re-elected in 1998.
Ukraine faced a multitude of very difficult tasks which had to be solved within a short period of time: a new political system had to be built; new statehood principles based on law had to be introduced; a new system of national security and defence had to be created; new relations with other countries of the world had to be established — Ukraine wanted from the very start to be into the European and world community; social, economic and ecological reforms had to be carried out; the nuclear weapons were to be scrapped. The enormity of all these large-scale, time, labour and finance consuming tasks was further exacerbated by the multiple crises the country was living through — economic, political and psychological.
In 1996 a new constitution was adopted.
Ukraine was the first among the post-soviet countries to establish working relations with the European Union. A charter was signed with NATO in 1997. Over the years, Ukraine sent its peacekeepers to the Balkans; it was a guar of peace in Moldova;
Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe and of the Security Council of the United Nations Organization.
At present, Ukraine is a presidential-parliamentary republic. Verkh Rada — "Supreme Council" — is made up of 450 deputies who are elected 4-year term. In the spring of 2002, the fourth parliamentary elections were in Ukraine, and they introduced considerable political changes to the distribution of political power. Viktor Yushchenko's Nasha Ukrayina block of parties received 23.53 percent of the votes cast; the Communist Party of Ukraine collected 20.4 percent of the votes; the third were Za Yedynu Ukrayinu election block of parties; Yuliya Tymoshenko's opposition block was the fourth wit 7.2 percent of the votes; the fifth came the Socialist Party which won 6.94 percent of the votes, and the sixth were the social democrats with 6.24 percent o votes. In other words, six major political forces entered parliament, and elections could be regarded as evidence of public support for the reforms and the "pragmatically minded" opposition.
Nowadays Ukraine is a democratic state, ruled by the law and created as an implementation of the people's sovereign right to self-determination.
The Ukrainian political system has a popularly elected President, a 450-person single-chamber national Parliament - the Verkhovna Rada.
Ukraine is divided into 24 regions and the Autonomous Republic Crimea, each of which has elected council, whose Chairman, elected at large, also serves as head of the executive branch.
Ukraine not only strives to live in peace with the rest of the world community, but also to cooperate with other countries and participate in the European and world structures.