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OUR UKRAINE WINS PARLIAMENTARY BALLOT IN NATIONWIDE CONSTITUENCY. With nearly 99 percent of the vote counted, Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine finished first in the nationwide constituency, in which 225 parliamentary mandates were contested under a proportional party-list system, UNIAN reported. Our Ukraine was supported by 23.4 percent of voters, the Communist Party by 20.1 percent, For a United Ukraine by 12.1 percent, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc by 7.1 percent, the Socialist Party by 7 percent, and the Social Democratic Party by 6.2 percent. Other parties did not overcome the 4 percent voting hurdle to obtain mandates from the party list. It is not clear how many seats Our Ukraine and other blocs will obtain in the new Verkhovna Rada, since vote counting in one-seat constituencies is still in progress. Estimates give Our Ukraine 110-120 seats, while For a United Ukraine may get 100-110 seats. JM

OUR UKRAINE TO RUN GOVERNMENT WITH FOR A UNITED UKRAINE? Serhiy Tyhypko, the leader of the influential pro-presidential Party of Regions, told UNIAN on 1 April that a pro-government majority in the new Verkhovna Rada should be created by For a United Ukraine, Our Ukraine, and the Social Democratic Party-united. According to Tyhypko, the majority should consist of center-right forces that could guarantee Ukraine's transition to a market economy. Tyhypko added that he is not ready to join a coalition with the Communist Party (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 2 April 2002). JM

OUR UKRAINE LEADER WARNS AGAINST DEMOCRACY SETBACK AFTER ELECTION. Former Premier Viktor Yushchenko said on 1 April that the Ukrainian parliamentary ballot the previous day was held according to a "donor scenario," under which votes were taken from some parties and blocs and added to others, STB Television reported. He added that Our Ukraine's observers registered some 10,000 violations at polling stations and will prepare lawsuits within the next five days. "There is an impression that Ukrainian democracy will be set back by about four years," Yushchenko noted. JM

EUROPEAN MONITORS NOTE PROGRESS, FLAWS IN UKRAINIAN ELECTION DEMOCRACY. The International Election Observation Mission (IEOM) -- which was formed by the OSCE, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and the European Parliament -- said in a preliminary statement in Kyiv on 1 April that the 31 March parliamentary election indicated progress over the 1998 parliamentary ballot toward meeting international commitments and standards but also included major flaws. According to the IEOM, the ballot took place under a significantly improved election law and was efficiently administered by the Central Election Commission. Simultaneously, the IEOM recorded many campaign drawbacks and violations of the election law, including the use of administrative leverage by the authorities for promoting the election bid of the pro-presidential For a United Ukraine bloc (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 2 April 2002). JM

CIS, RUSSIAN OBSERVERS SAY UKRAINIAN BALLOT WAS FAIR. Some 200 CIS observers said in statement on 1 April that the 31 March parliamentary election was "free, transparent, democratic, and legitimate," ITAR-TASS reported. According to UNIAN, a similar opinion was expressed by election monitors from the Russian State Duma. JM

CANDIDATE KILLED ON EVE OF UKRAINIAN BALLOT. Mykola Shkriblyak, the deputy governor of Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast and an election candidate from the Social Democratic Party-united, died of gunshot wounds on 30 March resulting from an attack the previous night by unidentified gunmen, Ukrainian media reported. Governor Mykola Vyshyvanyuk commented that the killing was of "a clearly political character." Rival parties publicly condemned the killing. JM

DANCING BEAR JOINS UKRAINIAN PARTY (27 MARCH) Ahead of Ukrainian parliamentary elections on 31 March, Ukraine's centrist political party Yabluko registered as a new member a one-year-old dancing grizzly bear called Stefan. Yabluko, known for staging strange stunts before elections, was not expected to surpass the 4 percent hurdle to hold seats in the parliament. The party noted that as an entertainer during six months of campaigning the bear had earned its membership and was now being rewarded, Reuters reported. (JMR)