UKRAINIAN DEPUTY SPEAKER DENIES HARBORING PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS. First deputy speaker Viktor Medvedchuk on 11 September denied that he intends to run for the post of president in the event of early elections, Interfax reported. Medvedchuk was responding to a recent statement by the All-Ukrainian Youth Association accusing "some clans hiding behind the mask of political parties" of "launching a campaign to prepare public opinion for a possible ouster of the guarantor of the constitution [President Leonid Kuchma] because of his poor health." The association said that plans prepared by, among others, Medvedchuk's Social Democratic Party (United) provide for Medvedchuk's becoming prime minister, Kuchma's dismissal, and paving the way for Medvedchuk's victory in early presidential elections. Medvedchuk commented that a "legal and psychiatric examination" of the authors of the statement would be in order. JM

...AND PARKING TICKETS IN NEW YORK. Of the top 25 countries with parking violations committed in New York City, Russia is No. 1, with 63,834 parking tickets worth $7,194,522, New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani wrote in an open letter to President Bill Clinton, "The Moscow Times" reported on 12 September. Indonesia ranks number two, while Russia's neighbors Ukraine and Belarus also made the top 10 list. JAC

GUUAM TO ACQUIRE NEW MEMBER? Shevardnadze also told journalists in Tbilisi on 11 September that Romanian President Emil Constantinescu has informed him that Romania is ready to submit a formal request to join the GUUAM grouping, Interfax and Caucasus Press reported on 11 September. Romania is the first non-Soviet successor state to state its readiness to join Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Moldova in that alignment. LF