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UKRAINIAN PREMIER TO BE OUSTED TOMORROW? Leaders of major parliamentary-majority caucuses decided on 23 April to discuss the issue of a Communist Party caucus-sponsored noconfidence vote in Premier Viktor Yushchenko's cabinet on 24 April, the Internet newsletter "Ukrayinska pravda" reported. It is not clear whether the no-confidence vote will be held the same day. Meanwhile, Yushchenko has asked Parliamentary Speaker Ivan Plyushch to postpone the no-confidence vote because of the prime minister's scheduled trip to Greece on 25-26 April. Yushchenko told journalists on 23 April that he and all his ministers will immediately quit their posts if the parliament votes to dismiss them. "The relations with all partners, both domestic and foreign, will not endure such a political experiment [the cabinet's ouster], because the Ukrainian executive authorities will be deprived of the possibility to follow the logic of reforms," Interfax quoted Yushchenko as saying. JM
KUCHMA REFUSES TO BACK YUSHCHENKO... President Leonid Kuchma on 20 April said he refuses to intervene in order to help Yushchenko survive the impending no-confidence vote in the parliament, Interfax reported. "Anything I might say today to support this or the other side may be seen as pressure or excessive support," Kuchma told journalists in Kharkiv. The president noted that "today a dialogue is needed," adding that "both sides should understand this." Commenting on the fact that 290 lawmakers voted to rate the performance of Yushchenko's cabinet in 2000 as unsatisfactory, Kuchma said he was "amazed no less than many of the deputies," and added that "there is no smoke without a fire." JM
...BUT THEN CHANGES HIS MIND. On 23 April, during his official visit in Vilnius, Kuchma said "the government's dismissal is not to Ukraine's benefit today," the Internet newsletter "Ukrayinska pravda" reported, quoting Interfax. Kuchma said he is ready to contribute to "reaching a compromise" between the parliament and the government. "Today the situation is dependent on how this dialogue will be conducted by the government, including Yushchenko," Kuchma added. Yushchenko said on 18 April that the pro-presidential majority bloc in parliament can select candidates for the vacant posts of deputy premier and minister of industry and trade, as well as seats on the oversight boards of certain ministries. In addition, Yushchenko adviser Valeriy Lytvytskyy confirmed two days later that the premier is ready to accept "reasonable compromises" regarding new appointments to the cabinet. JM