Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. - Sir Winston Churchill
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 83 Part II, 30 April 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol 2, No. 83 Part II, 30 April 1998

A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by
the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed
simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of RFE/RL
NewsLine and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's
Web site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Note to readers: RFE/RL Newsline will not appear tomorrow,
1 May, a public holiday in the Czech Republic.
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Headlines, Part II

* UKRAINE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR U.S. FINANCIAL AID

* CONTACT GROUP SLAPS FRESH SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE

* ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER WANTS NATO SUPPORT

End Note: KUCHMA FACES HARD TIMES AFTER ELECTIONS

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REGIONAL AFFAIRS

CIS SUMMIT SIGNS OFF ON PERSONNEL APPOINTMENTS...  In
addition to appointing Berezovskii as CIS executive
secretary, the CIS summit participants decided that Yeltsin
will remain chairman of the CIS Heads-of-State Council until
2000. They also appointed Uzbek Prime Minister Utkir Sultanov
chairman of the CIS Council of Heads of Government and
Aueznur Kazhenov as chairman of the CIS Economic Court.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told Interfax on
29 April that by re-electing Yeltsin as chairman of the CIS
Council of Heads of State, CIS leaders have stressed "there
is no alternative" to the commonwealth. He added the Moscow
summit showed that reform has begun in the CIS. Commenting on
Berezovskii's appointment  as CIS executive secretary, Kuchma
said "I like intelligent people." LF/JM

...BUT FAILS TO ADOPT KEY DOCUMENTS. Participants at the 29
April CIS summit failed to adopt proposals drafted by Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbaev on creating a single economic
space and a free trade zone within the CIS. They did agree,
however, to discuss proposals for its reform at a CIS
interstate forum in July.  The presidents also failed to
adopt a draft Declaration on Further Equal Partnership and
Cooperation, which, according to a Ukrainian official quoted
by Interfax, was rejected by unspecified participants because
it did not explicitly affirm the territorial integrity of CIS
member states. But Caucasus Press quoted a member of the
Georgian delegation as saying that the draft affirms support
for the territorial integrity of member states and that
Armenia has therefore refused to sign it. At a session of the
CIS Foreign Ministers' Council on 28 April, the
representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine,
Turkmenistan, and Moldova refused to sign the draft, Noyan
Tapan reported. LF

CIS PRESIDENTS NOT UNANIMOUS IN SUPPORTING BEREZOVSKII? It is
still unclear from Russian media reports  how Berezovskii's
candidacy for the post of CIS executive secretary was decided
on. Yeltsin said that Berezovskii was proposed by Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma, but "Nezavisimaya gazeta" on 30
April quoted Federation Council chairman Yegor Stroev as
claiming that Kuchma and Shevardnadze jointly suggested
Kuchma after a lengthy argument between the presidents.
Acting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Rybkin, rumored to
have been instrumental in proposing Berezovskii's candidacy,
said that a total of seven possible candidates were
discussed, including Yabloko faction leader Grigorii
Yavlinskii and Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy
Tyhypko. Russian Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembskii
said that Berezovskii's candidacy was approved by all CIS
presidents except for Armenia's Robert Kocharian, who
canceled a scheduled post-summit press conference, Interfax
reported. LF

BEREZOVSKII OUTLINES CIS PRIORITIES.  In an interview with
ITAR-TASS on 29 April,  Berezovskii said his most immediate
task as CIS executive secretary will be preparing for the
planned July forum to discuss reforming the CIS. He declined,
however, to comment on how the CIS might be transformed into
a "real commonwealth." Berezovskii said that the CIS's main
achievements include  the fact that it has not fallen apart
and that relations between its members have been maintained
at a level that "exceeds the mundane." LF

PARTICIPANTS GIVE DIFFERENT POST-SUMMIT ASSESSMENTS. Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze told journalists that the
summit proved the CIS is needed "and will continue to exist
and develop,"  although he admitted that it needs radical
restructuring, ITAR-TASS reported. His Turkmen colleague,
Saparmurat Niyazov, commented that for the first time, "we
took into account...the experience and specifics of
independent development" of the CIS member states. Kazakh
President Nursultan Nazarbaev, however, said the CIS heads of
state summit was as fruitless as the previous day's CIS
Customs Union meeting was profitable. He deplored the lack of
progress toward reform. LF

LUKASHENKA CRITICAL ABOUT CIS SUMMIT. Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka said in Moscow on 29 April that the CIS
summit has failed to agree on meaningful reform and
restructuring of the commonwealth, adding that those issues
will be discussed at the CIS interstate forum in July.
Lukashenka argued that as long as there are no mechanisms for
implementing CIS decisions, the commonwealth will remain a
"talking shop." He also expressed satisfaction over the
appointment of Boris Berezovskii as CIS executive secretary.
"Berezovskii is able to fulfill his functions with our
support," Interfax quoted the Belarusian leader as saying. JM

EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR U.S. FINANCIAL AID. U.S. Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright, who is currently on a tour of
Asia, said on 29 April that Ukraine remains eligible for U.S.
financial aid, Reuters reported. The U.S. Congress suspended
aid worth  $100 million  after U.S. firms investing in
Ukraine complained of unfair treatment and an unfavorable
business climate in Ukraine. According to State Department
spokesman James Rubin, Kyiv has "made significant progress
toward resolving U.S. investor complaints." Albright agreed
to releasing $80 million and withholding $20 million until
the remaining problems faced by U.S. investors in Ukraine are
resolved. JM

NEW CRIMEAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO ELECT SPEAKER. The new
parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea began its
first session on 29 April, Ukrainian Television reported.
Communist pickets outside the parliament building called on
deputies to elect Communist leader Leonid Hrach as speaker.
However, in the vote for the parliamentary speaker, neither
Hrach nor former speaker Anatoliy Hrytsenko won the required
51 votes to be elected. The following day, the Communists
refused to participate in the session, ITAR-TASS reported.
Hrach told journalists that his faction will paralyze the
work of the parliament unless a "normal, democratic
situation" is created within it. He said that the elections
of the parliamentary speaker are taking place under pressure
from the government. JM

OFFICIAL SAYS PRESS ENJOYS FREEDOM IN BELARUS. Mikhail
Padhayny, head of the Belarusian State Committee for the
Press, told journalists in Minsk on 29 April that the press
enjoys full freedom in Belarus, Reuters reported. "There is
no censorship.... Out of the 44 newspapers in the republic,
only five are state-controlled," he asserted. Padhayny said
the government is opposed to an alleged directive forbidding
officials to give information to or buy advertisement space
in the independent media (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 April
1998). "This directive came from one official and was not
supported by the authorities," Padhayny said. JM

ESTONIAN PREMIER DISCUSSES EARLY ELECTIONS. Prime Minister
Mart Siimann met with the opposition Reform, Fatherland, and
Moderate Parties on 30 April to discuss the possibility of
early elections, ETA reported. The previous day, the
Coalition Party, the senior partner in the ruling coalition,
authorized Siimann to begin such discussions. The opposition
parties are to decide by next week whether to support an
early ballot. Siimann has said early elections are necessary
because his minority government has failed to increase its
support in the parliament. However, the junior coalition
members--the Country People's Party, the Rural Union, and the
Pensioners and Families League--are opposed to early
elections and want Siimann to continue as premier.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in Estonia
next March. JC

NEW GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS IN LATVIA. Prime Minister Guntars
Krasts on 29 April made several changes to his government,
one day before the cabinet is to face a vote of confidence in
the parliament. The most important changes are the
appointments of Andrej Krastins (National Reform Party) and
Laimonis Strujevich (Farmers' Union) as interior and economy
ministers, respectively. They replace members of the
Democratic Party Saimnieks, which recently quit the ruling
coalition. The National Reform Party and the Green Party,
both centrist formations, have been included in the coalition
to replace the leftist Saimnieks. Krasts said the support of
the coalition parties will give him 47 votes in the 100-seat
parliament and that he is counting on the backing of up to
eight independent deputies to give him a majority, Reuters
reported. JC

POLAND'S ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW. The Main Statistical
Office (GUS) has released data showing that in the first
quarter of 1998, the economy continued to grow,
"Rzeczpospolita" reported on 30 April. Growth rates in the
industrial and construction sectors were higher than in the
past two years, while investments rose by 25 percent compared
with the same period last year. The average monthly real wage
in the national economic sector increased by 6.8 percent. JM

POLAND TO RECEIVE 50 MILLION ECU FOR REFORM IN MINING,
METALLURGY. Ryszard Czarnecki, chairman of the Committee for
European Integration, said on 29 April that the European
Commission will earmark 50 million ecus to support Poland's
restructuring of the coal mining and metallurgy sectors,
"Rzeczpospolita" reported. Restructuring will entail
considerable layoffs, and the EU funds will be spent on
creating new jobs for dismissed employees. Meanwhile, South
Korean automobile manufacturer Daewoo has said it will invest
$450 million in a new factory in Lublin to produce light
industrial vehicles, AFP reported on 30 April. The company
plans to provide 30,000 new jobs. JM

HAVEL'S HEATH IMPROVING. Doctors at the University Clinic in
Innsbruck on 29 April said that one day earlier, Czech
President Vaclav Havel was able to speak for the first time
in almost 10 days and tried to walk. They added that Havel
has recovered from the effects of his week-long sedation, CTK
reported. MS

CZECH GOVERNMENT PANEL REJECTS U.S. OBJECTIONS TO LIBYA-OWNED
FIRM. A special panel set up by the government on 29 April
issued a report rejecting U.S. criticism over investments by
the Malta-based Corinthia Group in the country's hotel
industry. The U.S. last month warned its nationals not to
stay in several hotels owned by the group because of partial
Libyan ownership. The report says the Libyan firm's co-
ownership does not violate UN resolutions or Czech law. It
also points out that the Libyan company--which has had a 48
percent stake in the Corinthia Group since 1974--is not
considered a Libyan subject under UN regulations. MS

LAST POLLS BEFORE HUNGARIAN ELECTIONS.  In the last polls to
be published before the 10 May elections, there is agreement
that the main race will be between the governing Hungarian
Socialist Party and the opposition Federation of Young
Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party (FIDESZ-MPP).  Most pollsters
give the Socialists a slight lead, but analysts believe the
matter is likely to be decided by the size of the turnout and
second-round voting. Szonda Ipsos says a turnout of 65
percent or less would favor the Socialists, while a high
turnout and/or a second-round ballot appear to favor FIDESZ-
MPP. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

CONTACT GROUP SLAPS FRESH SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE. Diplomats
representing the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy
agreed in Rome on 29 April to freeze Yugoslav assets abroad
in response to President Slobodan Milosevic's failure to
withdraw special police forces from Kosova and begin talks
with the Kosovar leadership. If Belgrade fails to launch
negotiations with the Kosovars by 9 May, the Contact Group
will block any new foreign investment in Serbia. If Belgrade
does start talks, it will be welcomed back into international
institutions. Russia did not agree to the sanctions but
joined the other five countries in urging an end to the
"unacceptable status-quo in Kosova." Representatives of the
six countries also warned that "the risk of an escalating
conflict requires immediate action.... If unresolved, the
situation in Kosova threatens to spill over to other parts of
the region." The six also slammed the "excessive use of force
by the Yugoslav army and the proliferation of arms in the
territory." PM

MIXED REACTIONS TO SANCTIONS. A State Department spokesman
said in Washington on 29 April that the Contact Group's
sanctions package is a "good one" that will offer Milosevic a
"stark choice." In Belgrade, Serbian bankers expressed fears
that the ban on investments will cripple the government's
privatization plans, which are based on the assumption that
large amounts of foreign capital will be available.
Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said on 30 April that the
sanctions will hit ordinary Serbs more than they will affect
the government. In Bonn, Kosovar shadow-state Prime Minister
Bujar Bukoshi expressed similar views. He said the elite
around Milosevic has its money deposited in secret accounts
on Cyprus and that this elite knows from its experiences
during the wars of 1991-1995 how to profit personally from
sanctions. Bukoshi called instead for tougher measures that
will directly affect Belgrade's power centers. PM

MORE DEATHS IN KOSOVA... Unidentified gunmen attacked a
police car near Duha on 29 April, killing one  of the
occupants and injuring another. Near Decan, police killed a
man at the funeral of three Kosovars whom Serbian forces
recently shot. Some mourners at the funeral said that police
physically abused some of those present and fired into the
crowd. A police spokesman said that armed members of the
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) fired first at the police and
that the dead man was one of the uniformed guerrillas
present. Elsewhere in the Decan area, Kosovar sources said
there was gunfire in some villages, RFE/RL's South Slavic
Service reported. PM

...AND CHARGES OF RIGHTS VIOLATIONS. Brother Sava Janjatic,
who is a spokesman for the Orthodox Church in Kosova, said in
Decan on 29 April that ethnic Albanians continue to
intimidate and physically abuse local Serbs. For several
weeks, dozens of Serbs have fled their homes in mainly
Albanian areas and sought shelter near the medieval Serbian
monastery in Decan. Brother Sava called for a dialogue
between Serbs and Albanians. He is close to Bishop Artemije
Radosavljevic, who opposes Milosevic and urges reconciliation
between Kosova's ethnic communities. In Prishtina, "Koha
Ditore" wrote that Hafir Shala, an ethnic Albanian physician,
has been held incommunicado by the police since 10 April. The
police refuse to provide any information about his
whereabouts or health, and his family fears he may be dead.
PM

KOSOVAR ESTABLISHMENT SLAMS UCK. The Prishtina daily "Bujku,"
which is close to the shadow-state government, said in a
commentary on 27 April that "the existence of an armed wing
[of the ethnic Albanian national movement] leaves much to be
desired." The editorial chided the guerrillas for having
limited their operations "to the murder of a few forest
rangers" and noted that "there was not a single sign [of the
UCK] giving the slightest help" to innocent civilians when
the Serbian forces launched their crackdown at the end of
February. The UCK has frequently criticized the mainstream
civilian leadership as weak and ineffective (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 April 1998). PM

ALBANIAN PRIME MINISTER WANTS NATO SUPPORT. Fatos Nano told
the parliament on 29 April that the "worsening of the
situation in Kosova and the risk of an expanding armed
conflict leaves us no alternative but to call for the
deployment of an armed NATO force on our border."  He added
that unspecified people "both from within [Albania] and from
the other side" of the frontier have recently caused
provocations along the border. He said "these individuals and
groups, by issuing declarations and conducting [illicit]
trade, want to give the Serbs a pretext to cause bloodshed,"
"Zeri i Popullit" reported. He did not elaborate but stressed
that Albania is opposed to terrorism and arms trafficking.
NATO turned down Tirana's previous request for NATO troops to
patrol its own border with Yugoslavia (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
12 March 1998). NATO nonetheless recently sent a succession
of small teams to inspect the area. FS

ALBANIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES GOVERNMENT. Lawmakers on 29
April endorsed the new cabinet, despite criticism from both
the opposition and within the governing Socialist Party (see
"RFE/RL Newsline" 27 April 1998). Socialist deputy Halil
Lalaj doubted whether the new cabinet will be able to tackle
the country's problems better than the previous one, "Koha
Jone" reported. He also objected that no northern Albanian is
included in the cabinet. Opposition leader Sali Berisha
attacked the previous government for raising taxes and
failing to reduce poverty, and he demanded new elections.
After Berisha's speech, most Socialist deputies who had
previously criticized the government gave their support  to
Nano. FS

ROMANIAN SECURITY AND GUARD CHIEF RESIGNS. President Emil
Constantinescu has accepted the 29 April resignation of  Nicu
Anghel, the chief of the Security and Guard Service, RFE/RL's
Bucharest bureau reported. Anghel had approved the leave of
absence of Colonel Gheorghe Trutulescu, who  has been
missing since the uncovering the so-called "cigarette
affair." Media reports say the two were friends since the
1970s, when both served in the communist secret police's army
intelligence. Also on 29 April, deputy Adrian Moroinanu of
the opposition Alliance for Romania said he has his own
sources confirming media reports that the plane that unloaded
cigarettes at Bucharest's military airport on 16 April
smuggled military equipment out of Romania when it took off.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's Office has extended to 30
days the detention of both the military commander of the
airport and the owner of the warehouse to which the
cigarettes were transported. MS

ROMANI PARTY CHIEF ON ROMA HOLOCAUST IN ROMANIA. At least
250,000 Roma were deported to concentration camps in the
Transdniester under the regime of Marshal Ion Antonescu, of
whom only 10,000 survived, Romani Party leader Nicolae Paun
said on 29 April. He added that the figure could be as high
as 400,000. Paun's party was recently given access to the
archives of the Romanian Intelligence Service and  the
Ministry of Interior, where documents providing evidence of
the Roma holocaust are stored. Paun said the Roma will demand
compensation from the government, but he added that, given
the country's poor economic situation, the Roma realize that
for the time being, compensation can be "moral" only,  in the
form of a "public apology" from the authorities, Mediafax
reported. AFP reported that the Romani might ask for
compensation from the German government as well. MS

MOLDOVAN GOVERNING PARTY CHOOSES PREMIER-DESIGNATE. The
Democratic Convention of Moldova (CDM) on 29 April chose
Valentin Dolganciuc, a member of the Christian Democratic
Popular Front (FPCD), as premier-designate. President Petru
Lucinschi has yet to agree to that appointment, RFE/RL's
Chisinau bureau reported. The FPCD is one of the two main
components of the CDM, and observers say Dolganciuc's
selection may meet with resistance from the president, as the
FPCD is in favor of union with Romania. Dolganciuc said after
his election that he no longer considers himself to be a
member of any political formation, but rather to represent
the center-right Alliance for Democracy as a whole. That
alliance includes the CDM and the pro-presidential For a
Democratic and Prosperous Moldova Bloc and was set up on 21
April by the two formations. MS

WORLD BANK APPROVES LOAN TO MOLDOVA. The World Bank has
approved a $15.9 million loan to promote land privatization
in Moldova, an RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported on
28 April. The loan is to help  set up a land property
registration system. An additional $4.7 million is to be
granted to the project by international donors, including
Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway. Chisinau will contribute $ 4
million to the project. MS

BULGARIA RECEIVES POSITIVE SIGNALS FROM GERMANY, WORLD BANK.
In a letter to Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl says Bonn strongly supports Bulgaria's Western
integration and wants to help create the necessary political,
economic, and legal conditions for a stronger German
involvement in Bulgaria's privatization process, an RFE/RL
correspondent in Sofia reported on 29 April. The same day,
Finance Minster Muravei Radev announced that the World Bank
has endorsed a program of "aggressive strategy" in support of
Bulgarian economic reforms over the next three years, an
RFE/RL correspondent in Washington reported. Sofia
anticipates that the bank will soon approve a $700 million
loan for Bulgaria. MS

BULGARIA TO PARTLY PRIVATIZE GAS COMPANY. Ivan Shilyashki,
the chief of Bulgaria's State Energy Committee, told an
international conference in Sofia on 29 April that the
government plans to begin partly privatizing the state-owned
Bulgargas monopoly after 2001. He said the state will keep a
majority stake in the enterprise and added that the selling
of shares in Bulgargas is intended to adapt the company to
free market conditions and bring in new technologies, Reuters
reported. MS

END NOTE

KUCHMA FACES HARD TIMES AFTER ELECTIONS

by Jan Maksymiuk

	One month after the 29 March parliamentary elections in
Ukraine, the Central Electoral Commission is still counting
votes. A flood of complaints about election fraud and
irregularities has delayed the announcement of the final
results. On 18 April,  the commission published an incomplete
list of 413 deputies, adding eight names to that list several
days later.
	However, the lineup of the Supreme Council is more or
less clear even before the final results are announced. The
Communist Party scored  an indisputable victory, with a total
of 111 mandates gained on the nationwide party lists  and
single-mandate districts (nearly 25 percent of seats in the
450-strong legislature). But that victory has not
strengthened the party's foothold in the legislature. Even in
a coalition with the Socialists/Peasants bloc (34 seats)--
their most likely partner--they will not have a legislative
majority. One Ukrainian newspaper observed that had the 1994
parliamentary elections been held under the current majority-
proportional election system, the Communists would have fared
much better at the time.
	Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma seems to fear  that
the new parliament spells trouble for him. With the ailing
economy, deep-rooted corruption, soaring wage and pension
arrears, and an uncooperative legislature, he may have few
opportunities to improve his ratings in the presidential
elections scheduled for October 1999. Since 29 March, he has
made a series of uncoordinated maneuvers--most of them
strongly reminiscent of the Soviet era --in a bid to reassure
both himself and his political foes that he is still in
control.
	There were two "presidential" parties in the campaign--
the Popular Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Valeriy
Pustovoytenko, and the Agrarian Party, both of which were
created to secure a pro-Kuchma bloc in the legislature. The
former won only 28 seats, while the latter failed even to
overcome the 4 percent threshold, gaining  a mere seven seats
in the single-mandate districts.
	Kuchma reacted immediately by replacing three oblast
administration heads in the regions where his parties fared
badly. In a further move to reinforce his grip on local
administration, he demanded that all his regional
administration chiefs either decide on their party
affiliation by  mid-May or face dismissal. Administration
executives, according to Kuchma, are allowed to join not only
the "presidential" parties but also those of a "centrist and
constructive orientation."
	The president also lashed out at his ministers for their
poor performance and threatened a reshuffle at a 9 April
cabinet session. At the same session, he ordered that the
1999 budget deficit be cut  to 2.5 percent of GDP and 1998
budget spending trimmed in a bid to curry favor with
reluctant Western creditors.
	Kuchma then fired the head of the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast
administration and went on to  deal an even heavier blow.
Presenting the new administration chief, Kuchma warned
Dnipropetrovsk managers that the "democracy game is over" for
them. He added that unless they find a cure for economic
ailments at their enterprises by the end of the year, they
will also have to look for new jobs.
	Moreover,  Kuchma has had to deal with former Prime
Minister Pavlo Lazarenko, leader of the Hromada Party (which
gained 23 seats in last month's elections) and chairman of
the Dnipropetrovsk Oblast Council. Lazarenko's party garnered
some 700,000 votes--nearly two-thirds of the ballots cast for
the party nationwide--in that oblast. This was a personal
insult to Kuchma, who in the Soviet era  had been a powerful
party boss at Ukraine's famous Yuzhmash rocket-building plant
in Dnipropetrovsk. Kuchma accused Lazarenko of exacerbating
tensions in the region and the country as a whole and
demanded that the Prosecutor-General's Office examine
Lazarenko's "negative barter schemes." It is widely believed
that Lazarenko will run against Kuchma in the 1999
presidential race.
	Still, Kuchma's gravest concern is Oleksandr Moroz, the
leader of the Socialist Party and current parliamentary
speaker, whom the left-wing camp would certainly prefer over
Petro Symonenko, head of the Communist Party, as its
presidential candidate. Kuchma  has indicated his desire to
remove Moroz from the parliamentary spotlight by replacing
him--as he put it--with an "unengaged politician." Hennadiy
Udovenko, who resigned his post of foreign minister and is
reportedly seeking Moroz's job, may be an ideal replacement.
	And on 21 April, Kuchma held a meeting with newly
elected deputies from business circles. More than one-third
of the new legislature is composed of entrepreneurs and
bankers, to whom  Kuchma has appealed for support, regardless
of their party affiliations and political preferences. He
stressed that further confrontation between the executive and
legislative branches would be "deliberate suicide" and  made
it clear that he categorically opposes the formation of a
left-wing government.
	This latest move by Kuchma has reportedly had one very
promising result for the president. According to some
Ukrainian newspapers, the Popular Democratic Party's
parliamentary faction has already managed to enlist more than
40 independent deputies to form  pro-Kuchma faction in the
Supreme Council. If those reports are accurate, Kuchma's
chances are better than they seemed early this month. But he
has only 18 months left of his presidential term to achieve
what he has largely failed to do in the past four years.

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole