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UKRAINIAN PREMIER ACCUSED OF ROLE IN OUSTING MEDVEDCHUK. On 9 January in Kyiv, Dmytro Ponomarchuk, a leader of the Popular Movement of Ukraine election bloc, made public an audiotape of what he said were telephone calls between Kyiv Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko and former Premier Viktor Yushchenko, in which both politicians appear to discuss details of the vote on the 13 December dismissal of the first deputy speaker and the leader of the Social Democratic Party (United), Viktor Medvedchuk. Ponomarchuk also demonstrated a recording of Yushchenko's other public pronouncement stating that his political bloc, Our Ukraine, had nothing to do with the ousting of Medvedchuk. Ponomarchuk did not disclose from whom he obtained the audiotape. The "Ukrayinska pravda" website commented that Ponomarchuk's disclosure is primarily intended to undermine Yushchenko's trustworthiness in the election campaign. Yushchenko's Our Ukraine is widely tipped to win significant parliamentary representation in the 31 March ballot. JM
OUR UKRAINE'S PARTIES PLEDGE TO FORM SINGLE PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS. Ten parties constituting the Our Ukraine election bloc led by former Premier Yushchenko on 9 January signed a formal agreement on the creation of their election coalition and pledged to set up a joint caucus in the future parliament, Interfax reported. Our Ukraine is formed by the Popular Rukh of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Popular Rukh, the Reforms and Order Party, the Christian-Popular Union, the Solidarity Party, the Forward Ukraine Party, the Republican Christian Party, the Youth Party, the Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Liberal Party. Yushchenko told journalists after the signing ceremony that the bloc's election list will be made known at an interparty congress on 16 January. JM
KYIV REPORTS RECORD INDUSTRIAL OUTPUT. Deputy Prime Minister Vasyl Rohovyy told journalists in Kiev on 9 January that Ukraine's industrial output grew by 14.2 percent in 2001 compared with 2000, UNIAN reported. This is a the highest growth rate since Ukraine declared independence in 1991. In 2000, Ukraine posted industrial growth of 12.4 percent over 1999. Also on 9 January, the State Statistics Committee reported that Ukrainian farmers harvested 39.7 million tons of grain last year, significantly surpassing the 2000 harvest of 24.8 million tons. JM