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MINSK HOSTS SESSION OF 'SLAVIC PARLIAMENTARY UNION.' A forum called the Slavic Parliamentary Union convened for a session in Minsk on November 1, Belapan reported, citing official information sources. The session was reportedly attended by lawmakers from Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Moldova's breakaway region of Transdniester. The session adopted a statute of the Slavic Parliamentary Union and elected Belarusian legislator Syarhey Kastsyan as the union's chairman. "It is a historical event about which people will speak and write both today and in the future," Kastsyan told journalists. "We are going to develop cooperation through the parliaments of Slavic countries. First and foremost, it will be cooperation in legislative work and an exchange of draft bills on economic, cultural, scientific, and educational issues.... The union created today will be doing everything possible to prevent Slavic states from confronting each other in the international arena." JM
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MOVES TO SUSPEND INTERIOR MINISTER... The Verkhovna Rada on November 2 passed a bill setting up an ad hoc commission to investigate alleged corruption and abuse of office in the Interior Ministry and proposing that Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych suspend Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko for two months, UNIAN reported. The motion, submitted by Party of Regions lawmaker Yevhen Kushnyarov, was supported by 235 lawmakers of the 435 registered for the session. Kushnyarov told lawmakers that the reason for his motion is recent articles in the Kyiv-based "2000" newspaper charging that there have been numerous cases of corruption and abuse of office in the Lutsenko-led ministry. Our Ukraine lawmaker Vyacheslav Kyrylenko told the Verkhovna Rada that its move against Lutsenko is a "political reprisal." Lutsenko, who has no formal party affiliation, was proposed for his cabinet job by President Viktor Yushchenko following a deal with Yanukovych. JM
...AND APPOINTS TWO NEW MINISTERS. The Verkhovna Rada on November 1 endorsed the resignations of Justice Minister Roman Zvarych and Culture Minister Ihor Likhovyy, which were tendered last month after the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc switched to the opposition (see "RFE/RL Newsline," October 19, 2006), Ukrainian media reported. Prime Minister Yanukovych, who attended the parliamentary session, nominated Oleksandr Lavrynovych and Yuriy Bohutskyy to replace Zvarych and Likhovyy, respectively. The legislature immediately approved his proposals. The parliament still needs to approve the resignations of two other ministers from Our Ukraine -- Family and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko and Health Minister Yuriy Polyachenko. President Yushchenko said the same day that the resignations of the four Our Ukraine ministers hamper talks between Our Ukraine and the ruling coalition, but he did not rule out a new power-sharing "compromise" between them. JM