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Kuchma Wants Emergency Economy Measures

Kyiv, July 10 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine's President Leonid Kuchma called today for the introduction of "an emergency regime" to pull the country's economy out of crisis and ensure that salaries are paid to hundreds of thousands of workers.

Kuchma made the call in a speech to parliament.

He said an "emergency regime" is needed because the economy is in critical condition, and that people's ability to cope with the situation has been stretched to the limit.

He said the government will draw up a list of measures to go into effect in autumn to handle the economy on an emergency basis. He said the plan would not bring the country into an overall state of emergency, but will require all branches of authority in Ukraine to implement "difficult, unpopular measures."

Kuchma also today presented to parliament for formal approval his candidate for prime minister, Pavlo Lazarenko. Deputies approved Lazarenko's nomination by 344 votes to 22.

In a speech to the parliament, Lazarenko said Ukraine had to reverse a fall in production that has plagued the country since independence in 1991. He said unpaid wages now totalled the equivalent of 1,400 million dollars.