UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SUGGESTS KEEPING MAJORITY ELECTORAL SYSTEM. Leonid Kuchma on 15 August proposed that next year's parliamentary elections be held under the current majority system, Ukrainian Radio reported. Kuchma was speaking from the Black Sea resort of Yalta. He said there is not enough time to devise an alternative voting system to the current one. Before March's elections, Ukraine's election law must be updated following the passage last year of the constitution. Opposition parties have called for a mixed system whereby voters would cast one ballot for an individual and one for a political party, which would distribute its allotted seats to candidates on a list drawn up before the vote. Antireform parties would benefit from party-list voting.

PROGRESS IN CHISINAU-TIRASPOL NEGOTIATIONS? Vasile Sova, the acting head of the Moldovan delegation to ongoing negotiations with the breakaway Transdniester region, told Infotag on 15 August that "some progress" was made in negotiations with Tiraspol the previous day. Sova said agreement was reached on most of the 12 points of the draft agreement submitted by the three mediators (Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). But he added that Tiraspol still objects to describing the Transdniester as an integral part of Moldova and to the proposal on how to divide powers between Chisinau and Tiraspol during a transition period until a final settlement of the conflict.