Petro Mykolayovych Symonenko (born August 1, 1952) is a Ukrainian politician and the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine. Symonenko was the Communist Party’s candidate in both the 1999 and 2004 presidential elections. During the 2010 presidential election he was the candidate of the Bloc of Left and Center-left Forces, receiving 3.54% of the votes.
Symonenko was born in Donetsk. He became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1978, and worked as a party functionary in 1980s. He has been the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine since 1993. He is also the Chairman of the Communist Party Faction in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament).
Symonenko has been a Ukrainian delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. From 1994 to 1996 he was a member of the Ukrainian parliament’s Constitution Commission.
He was a candidate in the 1999 presidential election, receiving 22.24% of the votes in the first round and taking second place. In the second round he won 37.8% of the votes, losing to Leonid Kuchma. His election program had classic communist content.
Late 2002 Viktor Yushchenko (Our Ukraine), Oleksandr Moroz (Socialist Party of Ukraine), Yulia Tymoshenko (Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc) and Symonenko issued a joint statement concerning “the beginning of a state revolution in Ukraine”. The communist left the alliance, Symonenko was against a single candidate from the alliance in the Ukrainian presidential election 2004, but the other three parties remained allies (until July 2006).
Symonenko’s support sharply declined at the time of the 2004 presidential election. Symonenko received 5% of the votes and came in fourth place, unable to get into the controversial runoff which caused the Orange Revolution.
Symonenko was re-elected to the Verkhovna Rada in the September 2007 parliamentary election. At the opening of the new parliament’s first session on November 23, 2007, he was re-elected as Chairman of the Communist Party faction.
In the 2012 parliamentary election he was (re)-elected into parliament.