UKRAINIAN PARTIES CLAIM ELECTION FRAUD. Several political parties have accused the government of falsifying the results of the 29 March elections, but those parties have brought no evidence to support their charges, AFP reported on 1 April. "We are 100 percent certain that the results were falsified," Dmytro Ponomarchuk of the Rukh party said. "Mass falsifications were organized by the president and his administration. They stole half our votes," Viktor Omelych of the Hromada party commented. The Communists, who won the elections, also claim they were deprived of some 20 percent of their tally. But observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe say the elections took place "in a peaceful manner" and were generally free and fair. JM

LEFTISTS TO DOMINATE UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT. Leftist parties will have 180 of 450 seats in the new Ukrainian parliament, dpa reported on 1 April, citing preliminary results announced by the Central Electoral Commission. Eight of the 30 parties competing in the elections have passed the 4 percent threshold for parliamentary representation. The Communists won 24.68 percent of the vote and can count on the support of the Socialists/Peasants' Bloc (8.54 percent) and the Progressive Socialists (4.04 percent). The Rukh party gained 9.4 percent of the vote, the Greens 5.46 percent, the Popular Democratic Party 4.99 percent, the Hromada party 4.68 percent, and the United Social Democrats 4.02 percent. JM

KUCHMA DOES NOT INTEND TO CHANGE CABINET LINEUP. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told journalists in Kyiv that the government lineup will remain largely the same, Interfax reported on 1 April. Yevhen Kushnaryov, head of Kuchma's administration, did not rule out the possibility that the president and the government will hold consultations with the new parliamentary factions on the composition of the cabinet. He said the preliminary election results give no reason to suggest that the new parliament will be opposed to Kuchma. Kushnaryov also commented that, judging from statements by political leaders, "there are signs of the formation of temporary or permanent centrist or center-right coalitions in the parliament." JM

UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO RESIGN? Hennadiy Udovenko is to hand in his resignation of his own free will, ITAR-TASS reported on 2 April, citing what it called a wellinformed source in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry. But Udovenko will continue to serve as chairman of the UN General Assembly, the same source said. Udovenko has been elected as a deputy of the Ukrainian parliament, and observers believe he is being considered for the post of parliamentary speaker. JM

IGNALINA REACTOR SHUT DOWN. One of the two reactors at Lithuania's Ignalina nuclear power plant was shut down on 1 April after a leak was detected in the reactor's cooling system. A plant spokesman described the shutdown as "unplanned maintenance" and said it would last about two weeks. He said there was no increase in radioactivity due to the leakage. The Ignalina plant, which uses the same kind of Soviet-made reactors as does Ukraine's Chornobyl facility, is widely regarded as one of
the world's most dangerous. JC