UKRAINE'S INDEPENDENTS WIN MAJORITY OF SINGLEMANDATE SEATS. According to the Ukrainian Central Electoral Committee, 114 independents have been elected to single-mandate seats in the parliament, AFP reported on 30 March. The committee said 37 Communists and 13 candidates from the pro-reform Popular Democratic Party have also been elected to such seats. Results for some 40 of the total 225 single-mandate seats have not yet been announced. The strong showing by independent candidates means that at least one-quarter of the parliament will be made up of deputies with no party affiliation. Many of the independent deputies are businessmen, and some analysts say they may offset the large number of Communist and other leftist deputies. PB

COMMUNIST PARTY LEADER STILL WANTS TO ABOLISH PRESIDENCY. Petro Symonenko says he expects his party to receive 30- 35 percent backing in the party-list vote. He commented that preliminary results show that "we must cast off this ruinous [reform] course." Symonenko accused President Leonid Kuchma of "bringing Ukraine to the brink of economic collapse" and he reiterated his call to abolish the presidency. Symonenko has also strongly criticized international aid organizations, saying they treat the Ukrainian economy like a "marionette." The Communist Party, which was banned from 1991-1993, has 80 seats in the outgoing legislature and is likely to improve on that figure. PB

BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER CONTRADICTED BY ACADEMY REPORT. Nadezhda Mihailova told the 30 March meeting of foreign ministers from the EU and the 11 candidates seeking membership that her country has achieved "financial stabilization" and made "sufficient progress" to fulfill the "criteria for membership" by the year 2001, Reuters reported. But a report released in Sofia by the Academy of Sciences' Economic Institute the same day predicts that Bulgaria will be unable to meet economic conditions for EU membership before 2030 "at best," AFP reported. According to the report, Bulgaria, Russia, and Ukraine will have a GDP in 2010 equal in size to what they had in 1990. MS