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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT REPORTEDLY DRAWS CLOSER TO ASPIRANT TO PREMIERSHIP... Viktor Yushchenko has found "some understanding" with his presidential rival from 2004, Viktor Yanukovych, in talks on the formation of a new government in Ukraine, Ukrainian media reported on August 1, quoting presidential spokeswoman Iryna Herashchenko. "A rapprochement of positions has taken place, we can speak about some understanding, in particular, regarding such an important issue of principle for the president as the unity of Ukraine and abandonment of the topic of federalism," Herashchenko said about a nine-hour-long meeting between the two politicians on August 1. She expressed hope that parliamentary leaders will be able to hold a roundtable meeting on August 2 and sign a declaration of national unity, which will map out the political priorities of a future governing coalition. Yanukovych was proposed as a candidate for the post of prime minister on July 18 by a coalition of the Party of Regions, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party. President Yushchenko has been trying for the past two weeks to bring Our Ukraine into this coalition. August 2 is the constitutional deadline for President Yushchenko to submit to parliament or reject Yanukovych's nomination as the new prime minister. JM

...AS SOME OPT FOR NEW ELECTIONS. Some 5,000 activists of the Ukrainian People's Party (UNP) marched in downtown Kyiv on August 2, demanding that President Yushchenko disband the Verkhovna Rada and call for new elections, UNIAN reported. "During the four months that passed after the March elections, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has proven incapable of resolving complex issues that are facing Ukrainian society. This is linked to the fact that, as a result the use of manipulative electoral techniques, parliament includes only those parties and blocs that represent political-business groups, which are waging an uncompromising war over the redistribution of property," the UNP said in a statement. The UNP led by Yuriy Kostenko took part in the March 26 parliamentary elections in the Kostenko-Plyushch Bloc, which failed to overcome the 3 percent voting barrier that qualified for parliamentary representation. The dissolution of the current parliament is also demanded by the Yuliya Tymoshenko Block (129 seats), which has refused to take part in parliamentary debates for the past two weeks. JM