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ukraine-related news stories from RFE

UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS MUSTER REGIONAL SUPPORT FOR PLANNED PROTEST. Some 10,000 people attended a meeting with Yuliya Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Moroz, and Petro Symonenko in Zhytomyr on 4 September, UNIAN reported. According to what the agency was told by the Socialist Party press service, participants in the rally voiced "whole-hearted support" for the opposition protest campaign that is scheduled to start on 16 September. Later the same day, the three opposition leaders met with some 9,000 people at a similar rally in Rivne. "[The rally in Rivne] took place under slogans demanding that President Leonid Kuchma be ousted, early presidential elections be held, and honest politicians come to power," the Fatherland Party press service told UNIAN. JM

UKRAINIAN OFFICIAL PROPOSES TO PROLONG KUCHMA'S TERM BY TWO YEARS. Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Seminozhenko has said that Kuchma's presidential term should be prolonged by two years beyond 2004 in order to give him time to fulfill the systemic reforms he announced last month (see "RFE/RL Poland, Belarus, and Ukraine Report," 27 August and 2 September 2002), UNIAN reported on 4 September. "Prolonging the term of presidential powers in the process of the constitutional reform will provide an additional resource of stability under circumstances when the legislative power will be subject to qualitative changes," Seminozhenko said in a statement. According to Seminozhenko, the presidency in Ukraine could be abolished altogether after the conclusion of the constitutional reform and Kuchma's prolonged presidential term in 2006. "Those opposing this idea do not want to change anything in Ukraine apart from replacing the president with another figure," Seminozhenko added. JM