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...AS OPPOSITION PREPARES FOR RALLY. A group of NGOs and political parties has formed a committee to organize a planned April 29 rally in Bishkek and other cities to demand a return to the rule of law in Kyrgyzstan, akipress.org reported on April 17. Former parliamentary speaker Omurbek Tekebaev will head the 18-member committee. Kubatbek Baibolov, one of the rally's organizers, said the main demand will be for constitutional reform. Deputy Melis Eshimkanov said the rally will be a "Kyrgyz maidan," a reference to the demonstrations that took place in Kyiv after disputed presidential elections in 2004. Deputy Temir Sariev, another organizer, said the demonstration will be peaceful if the authorities act responsibly, Kabar reported. "If the authorities don't provoke [demonstrators], and if they don't use the methods of the previous regime, I think that this will be a peaceful demonstration," Sariev said. DK
UKRAINIAN POLITICAL LEADERS MOVE TOWARD ORANGE COALITION. The leaders of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, the Our Ukraine People's Union, and the Socialist Party signed a protocol on April 13 pledging to work toward creating a parliamentary majority to form Ukraine's new government, Ukrainian media reported. The protocol reportedly includes a provision to the effect that the party that garnered the largest number of votes in the March 26 parliamentary elections will nominate its representative for prime minister. The Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc came in second in the elections, ahead of the Our Ukraine bloc and the Socialist Party. Those three parties, which were allies in the 2004 Orange Revolution, constituted the previous cabinet headed by Tymoshenko until September 2005, when President Viktor Yushchenko sacked it after some of his closest aides had been accused of corruption by their brothers-in-arms from the Orange Revolution. Tymoshenko said on April 17 that she is ready to give up running for president in 2009 if it would help restore the Orange coalition of 2004. JM
MOLDOVA SEEKS NEW WINE MARKETS DUE TO RUSSIAN BAN. Prime Minister Vasile Tarlev said on April 17 that Moldova will reorient its wine exports away from the Russian market, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. "We have been able to come to bilateral agreements and increase exports to Ukraine, Romania, and Poland," he said, adding that Chisinau is also seeking to increase exports in Southeastern Europe. Tarlev said that Russia accounts for 75 percent of Moldovan wine exports. This is due to both "habit" and the high level of Russian investment in the Moldovan wine industry. "But these investors did not expect...that Russian authorities can cut off the market [for] Moldovan wines [in] one stroke," Tarlev said. Citing safety considerations, Russia banned the import of Moldovan and Georgian wines on March 27 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," March 28, 2006). Tarlev called the ban a "political decision." BW