After a series of inconclusive votes, some of them boycotted by anti-communist forces, it seems increasingly clear that the post of chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament will be kept out of communist or socialist hands. In yesterday’s voting, the former president of Ukraine, Leonid Kravchuk, received 193 votes, against the 168 of Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko.
Symonenko’s 120-strong communist group, though the single largest in the chamber, lacks the muscle to shape the outcome, even in alliance with the socialists and other leftist groups. Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz, who had chaired the preceding parliament and was expected to bid again for the post behind Symonenko, is poorly placed to do so.
Kravchuk, of the United Social-Democrat Party, needs 226 votes in the 450-seat chamber in order to win. That has now become a distinct possibility because the national-democratic Rukh and the pro-presidential People’s Democratic Party have withdrawn their nominees in favor of Kravchuk as the joint candidate of anti-left forces. Some deputies without party affiliation, mainly businessmen, are also expected to swing behind a common anti-Red candidate.
President Leonid Kuchma yesterday warned that he would, “as a horrible experiment,” dump on the Reds the political responsibility for forming the government if Symonenko or Moroz win the parliament’s chairmanship. Kuchma endorsed Kravchuk for the post. Although not unhesitating, this endorsement represents a considerable change of heart for Kuchma. The current and the former president of Ukraine are long-time rivals, but they seem to be demonstrating a capacity for common action in the wake of the communists’ relative success in the parliamentary elections. (Ukrainian agencies, June 2 and 3)
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