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Ukraine: Voters Give President More Powers

Kyiv, 17 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - Official results today show Ukrainians have given a convincing show of support to President Leonid Kuchma in a controversial referendum. Yesterday was the last and heaviest day of voting in the referendum, which began April 6. Election commission results showed that around 79 percent of those eligible to vote did so - nearly 29 million people. Kuchma said the referendum was needed to bring order to a parliament which he said prevented vital economic and political reforms. Between 82 and 90 percent of voters supported Kuchma's requests to allow him to dissolve parliament under certain conditions; reduce the number of parliament members from 450 to 300; remove their immunity from prosecution; and create a second parliamentary chamber.