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Ukraine: Kuchma Supports Compromise On Consitutional Amendments

Kyiv, 23 August 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma announced today that he is withdrawing his proposed amendments to the country's six-year-old constitution. In a nationally televised speech, Kuchma said the leaders of two opposition parties are close to what he called a historical compromise to draft revised amendments. It is not clear yet what the new draft will contain.

Opposition lawmakers, led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko, blocked the adoption of Kuchma's initial proposals in parliament.

Those consitutional amendments would have split the parliament into two chambers, reduced the number of lawmakers, and rescheduled presidential and parliamentary elections to be held simultaneously.

The presidential election is currently scheduled to take place next year. Opposition lawmakers said that re-election amendment was an attempt to extend Kuchma's presidency until 2006, when the next parliamentary elections are scheduled.