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FOR A UNITED UKRAINE WANTS LYTVYN FOR PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER... The newly elected Verkhovna Rada is to gather for its first session on 14 May. The pro-presidential For a United Ukraine bloc will propose Volodymyr Lytvyn, the former chief of the presidential administration, as its candidate for speaker, UNIAN reported on 13 May, quoting Ihor Sharov from For a United Ukraine. The leaders of the six forces represented in the parliament -- For a United Ukraine, Our Ukraine, the Communist Party, the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, the Socialist Party, and the Social Democratic Party-united -- were expected to meet later on 13 May to discuss rules of the game while electing the parliamentary leadership -- speaker and two deputy speakers -- and the heads of parliamentary committees. Their meeting on 10 May produced no agreement on the issue. JM
...WHILE YULIYA TYMOSHENKO BLOC WANTS KINAKH'S CABINET OUT. Yuliya Tymoshenko on 11 May announced that her parliamentary caucus will initiate the dismissal of the current cabinet led by Anatoliy Kinakh, UNIAN reported. Commenting on the statement by Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko that the government should report to the parliament about its activities, Tymoshenko said that her faction in the previous parliament had repeatedly declared its intention to initiate both the dismissal of Kinakh's government and the impeachment of Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma. The same day, Hennadiy Udovenko, the leader of the Popular Rukh of Ukraine (a constituent of the Our Ukraine bloc), said Our Ukraine is also in favor of replacing Kinakh's cabinet. Udovenko also noted that Our Ukraine will "most likely" support Ivan Plyushch, the speaker of the preceding parliament, as a candidate to head the current Verkhovna Rada. JM
PAPAL ENVOY INVITES SERBIAN ORTHODOX LEADERS TO VISIT VATICAN. In Belgrade on 11 May, Cardinal Walter Casper met Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle and invited a delegation of the Holy Synod to visit the Vatican, AP reported. The Holy Synod consists of bishops and is the Serbian Orthodox Church's leading body. The cardinal also brought Pavle "warm greetings from Pope John Paul II." Since his election to the papacy in 1978, the Polish pontiff has sought to heal the rift between Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy, which he has likened to the two lungs of one and the same body. One of his first trips abroad as pope in 1979 took him to Istanbul for a meeting with Greek Orthodox leaders. His overtures have met with mixed results, however. John Paul II has visited Romania, Greece, Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia, and is scheduled to go to Bulgaria soon. But there were protests against his visits in Greece and Ukraine in particular. He has frequently noted that the Russian Orthodox Church has remained cool to his overtures. PM