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UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION LEADERS PLEDGE TO ACT JOINTLY... Four Ukrainian opposition leaders -- Oleksandr Moroz (Socialist Party), Viktor Yushchenko (Our Ukraine), Yuliya Tymoshenko (Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc), and Petro Symonenko (Communist Party) -- signed a declaration on 19 November regarding "joint actions," UNIAN reported. Moroz told the news agency that the four parties pledged to cooperate on "strategic issues" to counter authorities' attempts to split the opposition. According to Moroz, the primary concern of the opposition is to adopt a law on a fully proportional party-list system of parliamentary elections. Touching on planned political reform in the country, Moroz said the opposition essentially differs only in its views on how best to elect a president. The Communist Party, like the pro-government parliamentary majority, wants the Verkhovna Rada to elect the head of state, while the three other opposition parties favor direct elections. JM
...BUT WILL THEY FOLLOW THROUGH? Yuriy Kostenko -- leader of the Ukrainian Popular Party that is a component of Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc -- said in a statement that "the Communists and the Bolsheviks [pro-government parliamentary majority] have now taken responsibility for an antinational budget" currently under consideration in parliament, UNIAN reported on 19 November. According to the statement, concerted voting by the Communist Party and the pro-government majority on 18 November to appoint a prosecutor-general and a deputy speaker (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 November 2003) testified to an agreement between the two forces regarding the implementation of political reform under a "scenario" prepared by the presidential administration. Symonenko has denied that there were any agreements between his party and the pro-government majority regarding the 18 November votes. Meanwhile, lawmaker Oleksandr Zadorozhnyy, who is a presidential representative in the Verkhovna Rada, told journalists on 18 November that the pro-government majority voted to appoint Communist deputy Adam Martynyuk as deputy speaker on condition that the Communists support the political-reform bill worked out by the presidential administration. JM