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OUR UKRAINE LEADER PLEDGES TO STAND BEHIND NATIONAL BANK GOVERNOR... Our Ukraine head Viktor Yushchenko on 14 December said the opposition will do everything possible to prevent the dismissal of National Bank Governor Volodymyr Stelmakh, UNIAN reported. "[Stelmakh] is our last bastion, and we will not move away," Yushchenko said. Following two abortive attempts to vote Stelmakh out of his post in the parliament, President Leonid Kuchma has filed a third motion to the Verkhovna Rada to replace Stelmakh with Serhiy Tyhypko. Meanwhile, Yuliya Tymoshenko, leader of the eponymous opposition bloc, has announced that the parliamentary opposition is ready to make "compromises" with the pro-government majority on some unspecified legislative issues if Stelmakh retains his post. JM
...WANTS UNITED OPPOSITION FRONT. Yushchenko and Tymoshenko on 14 December called on Ukraine's opposition forces to unite, UNIAN reported. "On behalf of the 10 political forces constituting the Our Ukraine bloc, we are conducting negotiations with opposition forces regarding [their] consolidation and agreement," Yushchenko said at a congress of the Sobor Party in Kyiv. Tymoshenko stressed at the same congress that the consolidation of opposition forces is necessary to challenge authorities efficiently in the next presidential election. "Today, power [in Ukraine] is exercised by cynical and pragmatic people who control enormous material and informational resources. Therefore, we should prevent the opposition from dissipating in the presidential election, as happened during the [March] parliamentary elections," Tymoshenko said. JM