UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ALLIANCE PICKS TWO CANDIDATES. The presidential election alliance of Yevhen Marchuk, Oleksandr Moroz, Volodymyr Oliynyk, and Oleksandr Tkachenko agreed on 13 October that Oliynyk and Tkachenko will support Moroz in the 31 October ballot and that Marchuk will run independently, Interfax reported on 14 October. However, it is unclear from that agreement whether the four will eventually pick a single candidate. According to Tkachenko, the alliance wants to ensure greater security for its members and will make a "final decision" on a single candidate closer to the election day. Tkachenko expressed the view that three candidates will "doubtless" withdraw from the race. And according to Marchuk's aide Anatoliy Murakhovskyy, "there is hope" that the four will field a single challenger against incumbent President Leonid Kuchma. JM

OCTOBER POLLS SHOW KUCHMA, VITRENKO IN THE LEAD. In a poll conducted by Socis Gallup from 30 September to 12 October among 1,200 Ukrainians, 43 percent of respondents said they will vote for Leonid Kuchma. Natalya Vitrenko received 20.9 percent support, Petro Symonenko 14.8 percent, Oleksandr Moroz 8.1 percent, and Yevhen Marchuk 5.2 percent. In a poll carried out from 1-8 October by the Ukrainian Institute of Social Studies and the Social Monitoring Center among 3,076 Ukrainians, Kuchma received 33.6 percent support, Vitrenko 15.8 percent, Symonenko 13.6 percent, Moroz 8.2 percent, Marchuk 5.2 percent, and Tkachenko 4.9 percent. JM

UKRAINE CRITICIZES PACE REPORT ON ELECTION CAMPAIGN. The Foreign Ministry on 14 October criticized a report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the presidential campaign in Ukraine (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 October 1999), Interfax reported. "Perhaps the conclusions of the PACE rapporteurs would have been more consistent and objective if [the rapporteurs] had stayed in Ukraine for a longer period and not turned down proposed meetings with the Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry, and the State Tax Administration," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. JM

UKRAINE REPORTS SLOWER RATE OF ECONOMIC DECLINE. The State Statistics Committee on 14 October reported that Ukraine's GDP shrank 1.7 percent in January-September 1999, compared with the same period last year. The country's GDP fell 2.9 percent in the first eight months of 1999, but in September it was up 4.6 percent, compared with September 1998. JM