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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT AGAIN PASSES BILL ON PROPORTIONAL ELECTION SYSTEM. The parliament on 22 March voted 284 to nine to pass a new bill on the introduction of a proportional party-list system in parliamentary elections, taking into account 23 out of the 38 changes proposed by President Leonid Kuchma, Interfax reported. The bill stipulates that only parties supported by no less than 4 percent of voters nationwide can be represented in the parliament. Kuchma vetoed the previous bill, arguing that it limited citizens' constitutional right to elect their representatives to the parliament by shifting a majority of election process prerogatives to political parties (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 February 2001). JM

WORLD BANK PLEDGES $120 MILLION TO EXPEDITE UKRAINE'S LAND REFORM. Deputy Agricultural Minister Roman Shmidt told journalists on 22 March that the World Bank will give Ukraine a preferential loan of $120 million to speed up the process of land reform in the country, Interfax reported. Shmidt said the money will help finance the issuance of documents certifying private property rights on land lots and the creation of a registration system for real estate rights. Shmidt noted that one of the main conditions for the loan is the adoption of a new Land Code, which is expected to be discussed in the parliament soon. Currently, only 900,000 out of a total of 6.4 million farmers have received certificates documenting the private ownership of their plots. JM