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UKRAINIAN SPEAKER PREDICTS APRIL APPROVAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. Verkhovna Rada speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn told journalists on 22 March that the constitutional-reform bill that was preliminarily approved on 25 December and amended on 3 February (see "RFE/RL Belarus and Ukraine Report," 10 February 2004) will be passed in its final reading in early April if "parliament follows step-by-step the decisions stipulated by the political agreement [of 18 February]," Interfax reported. Lytvyn was referring to an accord signed last month by 10 pro-presidential caucuses in which they pledge to pool efforts aimed at finalizing constitutional reforms (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 February 2004). Meanwhile, lawmaker Oleksandr Volkov predicted on 23 March that the constitutional-reform bill will be adopted no earlier than in mid-May. Volkov added that promoters of the reform are facing "a lot of work" to persuade deputies elected under a first-past-the-post system to adopt a fully proportional election law, which is key to Communist Party and the Socialist Party support for the reforms. A bill mandating proportional elections passed in its first reading on 5 March (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 March 2004). JM