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Ukraine: President Plans Tougher Approach To Government

Kyiv, 2 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma is working on what he called a revolutionary decree that will outline a tougher line towards the cabinet of Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and the government's executive branch, says a spokesman.

Spokesman Yevgeny Kushnarev gave no further details. He said Kuchma's plan follows his meeting earlier today with leaders of various parliamentary factions who expressed dissatisfaction with Lazarenko's cabinet. Kuchma himself has criticized Lazarenko for failing to solve delays in wage and pension payments. He has warned he will sack the government if the situation does not improve.

Kushnarev said Lazarenko is to meet the president later today to discuss his suggestions for a possible cabinet reshuffle. Lazarenko is then expected to present the changes to parliament tomorrow.

Lazarenko said last week that once what he called a realistic budget is approved, the government will pay back wages within six months. Parliament has refused to pass the government's proposed 1997 budget. A $3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund is conditional on passage of the budget and tax reforms.

Earlier today, the deputy Prime Minister in charge of economic reforms, Viktor Pynzenyk, submitted his resignation.