A Presidential Dilemma in Ukraine

One form of a dilemma is this:

If you elect X, you will suffer.
If you elect Y, you will suffer.
You have to elect X or Y.
Therefore, you will suffer.

This is a valid argument — the conclusion follows from the premises. But, is the argument sound? That requires that the premises be true.

The dilemma is the result of the Ukrainian constitution, which requires the office of a President. And right now there are two candidates scheduled for a run-off election on April 21, 2019. One is the incumbent oligarch President, Petro Poroshenko; the other, a celebrity comedian, who stars in the role of a Ukrainian President in the television series “Servant of the People.” His name is Volodymyr Zelensky. Both are unwanted for legitimate reasons.

The dilemma can be resolve by getting rid of the office of a President. So, the question is: Is the office of a President necessary or even desirable?

In countries which elect their leader by the people, he is called a President — as in the United States. In countries in which the parliament elects the leader, he is called Prime Minister — as in the United Kingdom.

And is some countries — as in Ukraine, there is both a President and a Prime Minister.

Countries which elect a President always face the task of selecting the lesser of two evils. Why? Because it takes money to run a national campaign, and the candidates with the most money tend to be the leading candidates. And once in office, they tend to work both for their own interest and the interest of their backers.

As evidence of this, just study the history of the US in both its domestic and foreign affairs.

Although the office of a Prime Minister is more responsible, it too has its dangers. Witness the phenomenon of Mussolini and Hitler — both were elected as Prime Ministers.

The lesson should be clear. There should be no leader. A leader is neither necessary not desirable.

What is the alternative? Switzerland!

Instead of a President or a Prime Minister, Switzerland has a seven-member Federal Council. These are nominated by their majoritarian political parties, and confirmed by their bi-cameral parliament.

Ukraine would do well to introduce an amendment to its constitution to nominate and confirm an n-member Federal Council — thus getting rid of its Presidential Dilemma.

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