MARCHUK REPLACED AS HEAD OF FACTION IN UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 238
The Ukrainian Prime Minister in 1995-1996 and current presidential aspirant, Yevhen Marchuk, has resigned as head of the United Social Democratic Party (USDP) faction in parliament. Marchuk explained this with his decision to concentrate on his work as chairman of the parliament committee for social policy and labor. Marchuk was replaced by Oleksandr Zinchenko, a businessman and television manager, creator of Inter, a joint venture with Russian Public Television (ORT) (Ukrainian agencies, Inter, STV, December 23).
Most probably, the real reason behind Marchuk’s resignation is the USDP reluctance to back his presidential bid. Marchuk ran as Number 2 on the USDP list in the parliamentary elections of March 1998, but never officially joined the party. The USDP faction consists mostly of wealthy businessmen reportedly loyal to President Kuchma. Marchuk was dismissed from the post of premier by Kuchma in May 1995 for harboring presidential ambitions.
In October 1997, Marchuk was the first politician to publicly announce his intention to run in the elections of 1999. Despite his early start and general expectations of a successful campaign, Marchuk seems to have, at best, only a middling chance of winning. His use of the media, some of which he controls, including the quality daily newspaper “Den,” has been ineffective. In recent polls, Marchuk trails far behind Kuchma and several leftist presidential candidates. Neither of the big parties has so far backed his bid: A professed moderate reformer, he does not appeal to the “reds;” and leaders of the largest reformist force, the Rukh, on several occasions noted that the party would never in principle support Marchuk because of his KGB past. Marchuk spent some thirty years climbing up the career ladder in the KGB, and headed its Ukrainian successor, the SBU, in 1991-1994. –OV
MASSIVE UKRAINIAN IMPORT OF TURKMEN GAS SET TO RESUME.