Parts of this article (those related to the party’s leadership and regional representation) need to be updated.(February 2018)
|Founded||26 October 1991|
|Preceded by||Communist Party of Ukraine (Soviet Union)|
|International affiliation||None (expelled from Socialist International in 2011)|
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The Socialist Party of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Соціалістична Партія України, Sotsialistychna Partiya Ukrainy, SPU) is a social democratic political party in Ukraine. It is one of the oldest parties and was created by the former members of the Soviet-era Communist Party of Ukraine in late 1991 when the Communist Party was banned. It was part of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) from 1994 to 2007 and was long the fourth biggest party of Ukraine. Since 2007 the election results of the party have been extremely marginal.
After Ukraine gained independence on 24 August 1991 Leonid Kravchuk as the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) signed several important documents among which was the disbandment (August 26) and later the prohibition (August 30) of communist parties. This led to the collapse of the communist majority faction, informally known as the "group of 239". Four days after the prohibition of communist parties Oleksandr Moroz, the former leader of Group 239, called on communists to unite in a new left-wing party. In September in several major cities (particularly in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk and Kharkiv) local subsidiaries of the new party where founded. The founding congress of the party was held in Kiev on 26 October 1991; the first leader of the party became Moroz. The Socialist Party was registered at the Ukrainian Ministry of Justice on 25 November 1991 under registration number 157.
On June 19, 1993 a constituent congress of the recreated Communist Party of Ukraine took place in Donetsk that proclaimed itself a direct inheritor of the Communist Party of Ukraine. After the recreation of the Communists a substantial number of the former Communist Party of Ukraine members left the Socialist Party. The Communist Party, however, finally registered in October 1993. In December 1993 the Socialists proclaimed to be in the opposition to the government of Leonid Kuchma and the President Leonid Kravchuk. On the presidential elections of 1994 the Socialists leader Moroz was supported by both his party and the Communist Party. The Socialist party became known for its support in the central regions of Ukraine in the 1990s and 2000s.
In the rounds of the 1994 parliamentary election the party won 14 seats. In May 1994 Moroz became Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (speaker of parliament). By mid-1994 the party controlled a parliamentary faction of 25 deputies. In October 1995 some members headed by Nataliya Vitrenko split to form (in April 1996) the new Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine.
The party stood for election in 1998 in the Socialist Party – Peasant Party electoral bloc with the Peasant Party of Ukraine. Attempts to form a coalition with the Communist Party had failed. The block was named "Left Center" won 8,55% of the votes and 29 proportional seats and 5 individual seats out of 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. The bloc gained the post Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (speaker of parliament) with the election of Oleksandr Tkachenko on this post. The Peasant Party of Ukraine started its own parliamentary faction (containing 15 deputies) in the autumn of 1998 but in the spring of 2000 this factions was disbanded for lack of member. After the creation of the new parliamentary faction Solidarity in the spring of 2000 a lot of deputies of Peasant Party moved to this new faction. In June 2002 the "Left Center" faction had 17 members.
At the parliamentary elections on 30 March 2002, the party won 6.9% of the popular vote, and 24 out of 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. The party had limited access to media in the campaign. And the youth wing of the party had left it and had endorsed Social Democratic Party of Ukraine (united) in the election.
Late 2002 Moroz, Viktor Yushchenko (Our Ukraine), Petro Symonenko (Communist Party of Ukraine) and Yulia Tymoshenko (Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc) issued a joint statement concerning "the beginning of a state revolution in Ukraine". The communists stepped out of the alliance, Symonenko was against a single candidate from the alliance in the Ukrainian presidential election 2004, but the other three party's remained allies (until July 2006). The socialists where active participants in the Orange Revolution. The party was a coalition member in the First Tymoshenko Government and the Yekhanurov Government.
In 2005 the party was joined by the Ukrainian Party of Justice - Union of veterans, handicapped, Chornobyl liquidators, and Afghan warriors (former Ukrainian Party of Justice).
The Socialist Party of Ukraine was expected to form a governing coalition with Yulia Tymoshenko and Our Ukraine. However, after 3 months of negotiation agreement could not be finalized with Our Ukraine challenging Moroz's appointment as Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada (chairman of parliament). The Socialist Party then agreed to the formation of an "Anti Crisis" coalition with Party of Regions and the Communist Party following the election of Oleksandr Moroz as Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada in July 2006. The newly formed governing coalition elected Viktor Yanukovych as Prime minister of Ukraine and was later renamed the Alliance of National Unity. Several high up members left the party because of it becoming a partner in the new coalition, influential former member Yuriy Lutsenko created People's Self-Defense. President of Ukraine Yushchenko dissolved parliament on 2 April 2007 because he believed the government was acting illegally during the 2007 Ukrainian political crisis.[nb 1]
At the 2007 parliamentary elections, the party's vote share collapsed. The Socialist Party of Ukraine failed to secure parliamentary representation, having received 2.86% of the total national vote (0.14% short of the required minimum 3% representation threshold). This led to more high-ranking members leaving the party and the creation of the offspring Union of Leftists.
A March 2010 poll predicted that the party would get 0.2% of the vote at the 2012 Ukrainian parliamentary election. In the 2010 local elections the parties electoral misfortunes continued, winning few votes and securing little to no representatives in regional parliaments across Ukraine (winning representatives in 11 Ukrainian Oblasts parliaments in total), except in the Chernihiv Oblast and Poltava Oblast where they won 11% and 5,8% of the votes.
In July 2011, the party was expelled from the Socialist International. In April 2012 Petro Ustenko was elected leader of the party, replacing Oleksander Moroz. In December 2011, the Peasant Party of Ukraine and 4 other small parties merged with the party (Socialist Ukraine, Children of War, Children of War of the People's Party of Ukraine, Cossack Glory). Plans to merge 11 parties including the Socialist Party of Ukraine into United Left and Peasants where stopped by the parties council. On 28 January 2012 the merger with the Peasant Party of Ukraine was declared illegal by the Justice Ministry. In the election the party won 0.46% of the national votes and no constituencies (it had competed in 58 constituencies) and thus failed to win parliamentary representation.
In 2017 Serhiy Kaplin, at the time a member of the Ukrainian parliamentary faction of Petro Poroshenko Bloc, claimed to be the party's chairman. Kaplin intendeded to take the party to elections with Party of Pensioners of Ukraine under the label "For ordinary people".  But Illia Kyva also claimed to headed the Socialist Party of Ukraine. In January 2018, during a "joint meeting of the political council and the central control commission of the Socialist Party of Ukraine" Kyva was expelled from the party. Kyva stated this exclusion was illegitimate. According to the official registration of the party Illia Kyva is the chairman of the Socialist Party.
The party's candidate for the 1999 presidential elections, Oleksander Moroz, came third, with 11.3% of the vote in the first round. Oleksander Moroz also participated in the 2004 presidential election - first round ballot where he again came in third place, receiving 5.82% of the vote, and subsequently endorsed Viktor Yuschenko in the final run-off ballots.
The Socialist Party of Ukraine has chosen Oleksandr Moroz as their presidential candidate for the next Presidential election, scheduled to be held on January 17, 2010. 268 out of 422 party congress delegates registered supported the Moroz's nomination.
Public opinion polls have not rated the Socialist Party of Ukraine or its leader Olexandr Moroz as they were undecided as to their participation in the Ukrainian Presidential election. In 2005 Moroz received 5.8% of the national vote. An opinion poll conducted by FOM-Ukraine in April 2009 showed Moroz with less than 1% support, with most analysts considering Moroz not a serious contender as he would not win sufficient votes in the first-round presidential ballot, scheduled for January 17, 2010.
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|Election year||Candidate||First Round||Place||Second Round|