UKRAINE'S VITRENKO CONFIDENT SHE'LL REACH RUNOFF AGAINST KUCHMA. In her first news conference since the 2 October grenade attack, presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko said in Kyiv on 6 October that she hopes to defeat President Leonid Kuchma in the second round of the presidential elections, scheduled for 14 November. "I know that in the final stage I will have a fierce fight with Leonid Kuchma," she noted, having dismissed the other candidates as "weak politicians." Vitrenko said she does not accuse anybody of staging the attempt on her life, but she added that "practically" all other candidates are interested in removing her from the political arena. JM

PACE SAYS UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE 'NOT FULLY OPEN OR FAIR.' Anne Severinsen, PACE rapporteur for Ukraine, said at a meeting with parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko in Kyiv on 6 October that the presidential campaign in Ukraine "has so far not been fully open or fair," Interfax reported. Severinsen cited threats to presidential candidates and journalists, administration interference in the election campaign, and unequal media access for candidates. She asked President Kuchma "to guarantee freedom of the press" in Ukraine and, in particular, to ban tax inspectors from investigating media outlets until after the presidential ballot. Kuchma's spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko said the PACE's recommendation will be carefully studied, but he dismissed the monitor's conclusions as superficial, Reuters reported. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT ASKS VOTERS TO MAKE 'ONLY RIGHT CHOICE' ON 31 OCTOBER. The Supreme Council on 6 October appealed to the Ukrainian people to make the "only right choice" in the 31 October presidential ballot. That choice, they said, is one of "your conscience and reason." The appeal accused Kuchma and his entourage of violating the principle of equal possibilities for all candidates in the campaign and of monopolizing the state-controlled media. Ukraine's economy is "a ruin on which only a handful of oligarchs and state officials flourish...thanks to preferences granted to them by the president," it added. JM