In wide-ranging remarks to Ukrainian and foreign journalists last weekend, President Leonid Kuchma warned against the possibility of a leftist victory in the upcoming parliamentary elections. He also accused the parliamentary majority of blocking reforms — "the only road to national salvation, as confirmed by other countries’ experience" — and pinned the country’s hopes for economic survival on the election of a reform-minded legislature in place of the current, "hopeless" parliament. Kuchma endorsed as "progressive" and "against clan interests" an industrial privatization-for-cash program drafted by the State Property Fund’s acting chairman, Volodymyr Lanoviy. The Ukrainian president promised to enact the program by decree if necessary, and also to resubmit the Lanoviy nomination to parliament for confirmation. The legislature recently failed to confirm this prominent reformer in his post and threatened to invalidate key sections of the privatization program.
Kuchma’s office announced yesterday that the president has vetoed a law, recently adopted by parliament, which would substantially raise the poverty line, the minimum wage, and the minimum pension. The president countered that the budget lacks the funds to implement this law and that he opposes printing money. (UNIAN, DINAU, November 3; Eastern Economist Daily, November 3-4)
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