President Kuchma Proposes Constitutional Reform to Ukrainian Population

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma made a televised address to the Ukrainian population on Wednesday March 5. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, Mr Kuchma spoke of the need to implement large-scale political reform in the country.

In particular, he said that there must be radical changes to the constitution. He intends to limit presidential power and significantly increase the authority of the Supreme Rada (parliament). 'This will be a big step towards democracy,' Mr Kuchma emphasised. It is also expected that local authorities within Ukraine will be given more independence.

The presidents' proposal is expected to be considered at a meeting of the Supreme Rada today. The Ukrainian opposition has already harshly criticised Mr Kuchma's speech, claiming that he is 'bluffing and simply trying to vindicate himself in the eyes of the West for his inhumane politics.'