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UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT IN TURMOIL OVER CENTRAL-BANK LEADERSHIP. Lawmakers from the opposition caucuses -- Our Ukraine, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, and the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc -- blocked the parliamentary rostrum on 12 December after parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn proposed a vote to dismiss National Bank Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh and replace him with Serhiy Tihipko, UNIAN reported. The opposition argues that a similar, abortive vote was held last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 December 2002) and maintains that proposing a repeat vote contravenes Verkhovna Rada procedural rules. After a recess, Volodymyr announced that Stelmakh submitted his resignation. [There was no confirmation of such a move by Stelmakh by midday on 12 December.] That announcement provoked a scuffle in which the main parliamentary microphone was broken and deputy Oleksandr Volkov of the pro-presidential Social Democratic Party-united was reportedly assaulted. "Someone has to defend the parliamentary majority," Volkov said to explain his involvement in the scuffle. Opposition deputies displayed antipresidential and antimajority slogans in the session hall that were subsequently torn down by deputy Hryhoriy Surkis and other Social Democratic Party-united deputies. JM
UKRAINE RESTRICTS RUSSIAN AUTO IMPORTS. The Ukrainian government has introduced a four-year limit on the import of Russian cars, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 December. An interdepartmental commission for foreign trade said Ukrainian car dealers may not import more than 15,777 Russian cars a year with engine volumes up to 1,500 cubic centimeters. Earlier this year, the commission organized an inquiry into the import of new Russian cars and introduced a special import duty of 31.7 percent on them. According to the Ukrainian Economy Ministry, Ukraine imported some 25,000 Russian cars in 2001. JM
BULGARIAN JUSTICE MINISTRY SAYS 6,000 MACEDONIANS HAVE APPLIED FOR BULGARIAN CITIZENSHIP. Following a report in Skopje's "Dnevnik" of 9 December, Deputy Justice Minister Mario Dimitrov said on 10 December that some 6,000 Macedonian citizens have applied for Bulgarian citizenship this year alone, BTA reported. Dimitrov said the growing number of applications for Bulgarian citizenship is mainly due to the fact that Bulgarian citizens can travel freely to those EU countries that are members of the Schengen agreement. He added that Albanian nationals as well as Bulgarians from Moldova and Ukraine are also applying for Bulgarian citizenship. UB