UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT UNLIKELY TO BAN DEATH PENALTY. Even though Ukraine has pledged to end capital punishment and President Leonid Kuchma has used his clemency powers to prevent any executions since March 1997, the Verkhovna Rada is unlikely to vote to abolish the death penalty prior to the March 1998 elections, parliament chairman Oleksandr Moroz told representatives of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on 8 December, Interfax reported. According to Moroz, the death penalty is simply too popular with voters for parliamentarians to be able to vote against it. PG