The ruling coalition in Ukraine’s parliament collapsed on 17 May just days before incoming President Volodymyr Zelensky’s inauguration on 20 May.
The move is seen as a maneuver by lawmakers to postpone or even avoid a dissolution of parliament, which Zelensky vowed to disband following his landslide victory in April which saw the entertainer-turned-politician defeat the incumbent president, Petro Poroshenko, by nearly 50 percentage points.
Under the constitution, parliament now has 30 days to form a new governing coalition, while the president has no right to dissolve parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and announce snap elections during that period.
Several of Zelensky’s key supporters, including his political advisor, Dmitry Razumkov, linked the coalition’s collapse to the new administration’s plan to dissolve parliament before the 28 May constitutionally mandated deadline.
“This is primarily due to the desire to postpone any actions related to the holding of elections. But in this situation it will be necessary to live by the law and act according to the law,” said Razumkov, who added that the dissolution of the Rada is still possible if the Zelensky administration can find “the legal prerequisites” to pursue the possibility.
The Ukrainian constitution, however, does not allow the head of state to dissolve the parliament six months before the deputies’ duties officially expire. The country’s sitting lawmakers, most of whom are openly hostile to Zelensky’s anti-corruption and pro-market reform agenda, are engaged in an open debate over whether Zelensky missed a deadline to dissolve the chamber and call snap elections ahead of parliamentary polls scheduled for 27 October.
Prior to the ruling coalition’s collapse, Zelensky had been in a weeks-long dispute with the Poroshenko-era parliament over the date of his inauguration as president. The Rada had repeatedly delayed naming a date before finally settling on 20 May for Zelensky to be sworn in as Ukraine’s sixth post-independence president.