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7 July 1998
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On Tuesday, July 7, 1998, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine elected Oleksandr M. Tkachenko, a member of the leftist Peasants' Party of Ukraine, as its chairman. Oleksandr Tkachenko won the support of 232 deputies out of 314 parliamentarians who took part in the 20th round of voting that resolved almost two-month deadlock between the Communists and Socialists on one side, and centralists and right centralists, on the other. (226 votes are required for the candidate to be elected).

Oleksandr Tkachenko represents that faction of the parliament, that could be considered left center forces. The election of the speaker unblocked the work of legislative body of the nation. It also helped prevent the representatives of the radical leftist forces from gaining access to the key executive positions in the parliament.

Now, the Verkhovna Rada needs to elect from among the members of all factions the first deputy and deputy of the speaker, as well as heads of the parliamentary committees.

As elections progressed, the candidates with the democratic outlook were gaining more support. On June 3, 1998, the faction of People's Democratic Party was just four votes short of electing their candidate Oleksandr Bandurka.

Oleksandr Tkachenko is a well known expert in the area of agriculture, who was a member of the Ukrainian government. His views on several issues differ from the views of orthodox leftists in the Ukrainian Parliament. He represents the interests of the countryside. His stance on the issues of economic reform and small business is expected to be flexible. In 1993, he headed a public association "Agrarians for Reforms."

President Leonid Kuchma expressed his hopes that the election of O.Tkachenko will put an end to a long crisis in the parliament, and lead to active legislative developments, the lack of which risked not only the economic reform but also implementation of needed anti-crisis measures.

In his inauguration speech the newly elected speaker stressed the need to stabilize the work of the legislative body of Ukraine. He also said that President, Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament should work closely together to overcome economic and social problems. Mr. Tkachenko called a logical outcome the shift of power from the Socialist Party to its ally-the Peasants Party of Ukraine.

Oleksandr M. Tkachenko was the First Deputy Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of previous, thirteenth convocation. On March 29, 1998 he was reelected to the parliament of the fourteenth convocation as a representative of Peasants' Party of Ukraine.

Born on March 7, 1939 in the city of Shpola, Cherkasy Oblast, Oleksandr M. Tkachenko graduated from the Bila Tserkva Agricultural Institute in 1963, majoring in Agronomy. He received a Ph.D. in Economics upon graduating from the Academy of Social Sciences under the CPU Central Committee.

In April 1994, he was elected to the Ukrainian Parliament.

1992-1994President of Agro-Industrial Association "Zemlya I Lyudy".
1991-1992Minister for Agriculture of Ukraine.
1989-1991Head of the State Committee for Agro-Industrial Complex.
1985-1989Minister for Agriculture of Ukrainian SSR, 1st Deputy Head of State Committee for Agro-Industrial Complex.
1982-1985Head of Ternopil Oblast Executive Committee.
1981-1982Inspector for Communist Party of Ukraine, Central Committee.
1970-1981Head of Organization Department, Secretary, First Secretary, Tarashcha District Committee of the Communist Party.
1966-19701st Secretary, Tarashcha District Young Communist League Committee.
1963-1966Agronomist, Senior Agronomist, Tarashcha District Amalgamation for Agriculture and Machinery.

In 1985-89, Mr. O.Tkachenko was a deputy of the Supreme Rada of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Parliament) of the 11th Convocation.

In 1991, Oleksandr Tkachenko was running for the president of Ukraine but shortly before elections he withdrew his candidature in favor of Leonid Kravchuk.

Married with one daughter.

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