UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES CHIEF BANKER AS PREMIER. Leonid Kuchma on 17 December nominated National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko as prime minister, Reuters reported. "I ask you to confirm Viktor Yushchenko as prime minister," Kuchma wrote in a letter to parliamentary deputies. Yushchenko needs 226 votes to be approved. He is considered a strong pro-reform politician who has repeatedly won praise from international financial experts for his monetary policy in Ukraine. JM

UKRAINIAN LEFTISTS TO BOYCOTT PARLIAMENTARY SESSION OVER DECREE. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko said on 16 December that his caucus will boycott the session unless the parliament includes on its agenda a discussion of the presidential decree abolishing collective farms, Interfax reported. The Progressive Socialist Party caucus walked out in protest after deputies failed to approve including that issue on the 17 December agenda. Leftist caucuses oppose the abolition of collective farms in Ukraine, while some 100 deputies have asked the Constitutional Court to declare the decree unconstitutional (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 14 December 1999). JM

MONEY AFTER REFORMS, IMF TELLS UKRAINE. IMF mission head Mohammed Shadman-Valavi said in Kyiv on 16 December that the IMF's new loans will depend on the country taking concrete steps toward implementing reforms, UNIAN reported. IMF permanent representative in Ukraine David Orsmond said the fund expects Kyiv to introduce a program of reforms that are "large-scale and quite ambitious," according to Interfax. So far, Ukraine has received $965 million from the IMF's $2.6 billion loan package. JM