UKRAINE'S YUSHCHENKO TO PROPOSE 'TRANSPARENT' REFORM PROGRAM. Ukrainian National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko said on 18 December that he will offer a "transparent program of government actions that will be understandable to ordinary citizens" if the parliament approves his nomination for prime minister (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 17 December 1999), Interfax reported. "We shall conduct reform," Yushchenko pledged after a meeting with parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko the same day. According to Yushchenko, the implementation of reforms in Ukraine depends not so much on who heads the government as on a "parliamentary majority that [would be] capable of building political support for reforms." It is expected that the parliament will hold Yushchenko's confirmation vote on 22 December. JM

UKRAINE'S RUKH HOLDS 'CONSTITUENT, UNIFYING' CONGRESS. Some 740 delegates on 18 December took part in the "constituent and unifying congress" of Ukraine's Popular Rukh, which was organized by the Rukh faction headed by Yuriy Kostenko, Interfax reported. However, the Rukh faction headed by Hennadiy Udovenko did not participate in the congress. Rukh's split into two groups this spring was followed by bitter enmity and court litigation over which group has the right to inherit the movement's historical name--the Popular Rukh of Ukraine. From a legal viewpoint, Udovenko remains head of both the Popular Rukh of Ukraine and its parliamentary caucus. JM

CRIMEAN PARLIAMENTARY DEPUTIES VOTE TO DISMISS PRESIDIUM. On 16 December, 51 deputies of the 100-seat Crimean Supreme Council voted to dismiss its presidium headed by Crimean Communist Party leader Leonid Hrach, Interfax reported. The vote was the culmination of the six week harsh standoff between parliamentary speaker Hrach and Crimean Prime Minister Serhiy Kunitsyn, who finally gained the upper hand by mustering the support of the "Zlahoda" and "Respublika" caucuses in the Crimean legislature. Hrach, who is supported by the 45-seat Communist and People's Democracy caucus, declared the dismissal to be "destructive and illegal" and announced that the parliament will close until January next year. However, Kunitsyn's supporters intend to continue the session on 21 January. Kyiv sent mediators to Simferopol on 17 December. Ukrainian President Kuchma commented earlier this month that both Hrach and Kunitsyn "are equally responsible for the socioeconomic and political stability in Crimea." JM