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UKRAINIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CONTINUES TO BLOCK PARLIAMENT. The Party of Regions on June 28 blocked the parliamentary session hall for a second day, protesting what it sees as the ruling coalition's violations of parliamentary procedures in appointing the parliamentary leadership, Ukrainian media reported. In particular, the Party of Regions objects to the plan of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine, and the Socialist Party to appoint the prime minister and parliamentary speaker via a single, open ballot. "It is an absurdity -- to unite the two different braches of power in a single package," Mykola Azarov of the Party of Regions told UNIAN. The Party of Regions also protests the coalition's alleged intention to head the overwhelming majority of parliamentary committees. "These 'democrats' are going to deprive the opposition of any possibility of influencing the activity of parliament and monitoring the work (or idleness) of the authorities," the Party of Regions said in a statement on June 27. The newly recreated Orange coalition in the Verkhovna Rada intends to hold a vote on the approval of the nominees for prime minister and parliament speaker -- Yuliya Tymoshenko and Petro Poroshenko, respectively -- on June 29. JM

UKRAINE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE REFERENDUM IN TRANSDNIESTER. During a visit to Chisinau on June 26, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said Kyiv will not recognize the results of a proposed independence referendum in Transdniester, Interfax reported the same day. "If we imagine the hypothetical results of a referendum in Transdniester, these will not be recognized either by the OSCE, the Ukrainian government, or the European Union," Tarasyuk said at a press conference following a meeting with Moldovan political leaders. "There was no legal basis to raise the issue of a referendum," he said, adding that "there is no basis at all to try to project this situation onto that concerning Kosovo or Montenegro." Transdniestrian President Igor Smirnov announced on June 25 that Transdniester and the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia plan to hold referendums in the fall on their respective foreign policies, a statement that has led to speculation that they will seek to vote on independence (see "RFE/RL Newsline," June 26, 2006). BW.