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UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WON'T RUN FOR THIRD TERM... President Leonid Kuchma said at a news conference in Kyiv on 9 June that he has no intention of running for a third presidential term, Interfax reported. "I have already made this statement before and I will not change my mind," Kuchma said. The president speculated that if he were to decide to run for another term, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych "would at once become the happiest person in Ukraine" because "he would be relieved from this burden." Kuchma said he is sure he could win for the third time if he chose to run. In December, the Constitutional Court ruled that Kuchma may seek the presidency in 2004 despite a two-term limit in the constitution that went into effect in 1996, during Kuchma's first term as president. JM
...AND HOPES FOR OUR UKRAINE'S BACKING TO POLITICAL REFORM. President Kuchma told journalists on 9 June that he believes that next week the Verkhovna Rada will muster the 226 votes necessary to pass a new constitutional-reform bill in order to sent it to the Constitutional Court for legal examination, Interfax reported. "And the 300 votes in September or October [that are required for the final adoption of the bill] will be dependent on whether the rating of [Prime Minister] Yanukovych will continue to increase or not," Kuchma added. According to the president, if Yanukovych's results in opinion polls for presidential candidates continue to rise, the constitutional reform will also find support among deputies belonging to the Our Ukraine bloc led by Viktor Yushchenko. "I am convinced that Viktor Yushchenko does not want to become the gravedigger of this political reform," Kuchma said. JM
PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER ELECTED TO LEAD UKRAINIAN AGRARIANS. The congress of the Agrarian Party of Ukraine in Kyiv on 9 June renamed the organization the Popular Agrarian Party of Ukraine (NAPU) and elected parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn as its leader, Interfax reported. Lytvyn called on party colleagues to form an "anti-clannish front" in Ukraine in order to counteract attempts to create a state ruled by "oligarchs and party-clannish formations" and plagued by "total corruption." NAPU will decide at a congress in July whom it will support in the presidential election scheduled for 31 October. NAPU, which was founded as the Agrarian Party of Ukraine in 1996, has 15 deputies in the Verkhovna Rada and is a member of the pro-government coalition. The party claims to have 465,000 members. JM