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or Another version of the President’s meeting with deputies from business circles
12 ноября, 00:00

Mr. Kuchma has decided to win over to his side one of the most influential forces in the new Parliament, Ukrainian business.

In a spy movie, a resident agent approaching one with a similar offer makes the audience instantly aware that an act of recruitment is underway. Of course, the President’s offer cannot be categorized as one, not in so many words. Although his words about the need to find a “neutral place” to be able to “freely voice one’s views” (because he told the businesspeople that “even the President found it hard to be heeded in Parliament”) make one think of a safe house from a spy novel.

At the meeting President Kuchma stressed that businessmen constituted one-third of the new Parliament. They had as many seats as all the parties surmounting the 4% barrier, reports Interfax-Ukraine. There are also deputies representing enterprises with varying ownership arrangements, including Communists (14) and the Socialist-Peasant Bloc (8).

Deputy Leonid Chernovetsky, President of the Praveks Corporation, spoke for setting up an “informal” alliance of business deputies in the form of a standing advisory body under the President’s auspices to handle pressing issues. Mr. Chernovetsky also informed the President that those present at the meeting had spent over $100 million on their respective campaigns (and the estimates were tentative!), meaning at least $1 million per seat in Parliament.

Mr. Kuchma assured them that he was personally against drawing out the Parliament-President confrontation any longer. He must have realized by then that the old game of threatening Parliament with forced dissolution was no longer any good under the new circumstances, for that one-third of the membership will not allow anyone to throw their money to the winds.

The President further stated that his message to the nation and Verkhovna Rada, to be delivered on the first day of Parliament in session, would conform his desire to reach an understanding among the branches of power.

He went on to say that he had turned down the demand that the new Cabinet be formed using only the Left opposition resources. “This would be an example painful for everyone,” he prophesied. “I do not want to assume responsibility before the country for what might transpire.”

It is also true, however, that hardly any of the businessmen present would have been able to recall a single case when the Chief Executive had indeed assumed responsibility for a single Cabinet.

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