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UN Report Urges New Ukrainian President to Make Sweeping Reforms

The United Nations Development Program in Ukraine has presented a report calling for the new president to introduce radical economic and political reforms in his first year in office to bring the country closer to Europe.

The UNDP says in its report that the outcome of the presidential elections has created the opportunity for dramatic change in Ukraine.

The document calls for urgent political and administrative reform and changes in the tax system as well as a recognition of property rights.

It supports social spending so that those in need will receive benefits and not the well-off as allegedly is the case now.

The experts want Ukraine to become a member of the World Trade Organization and to have closer ties to the European Union so that membership could be an option.

Dmitri Vasylev who works in the U.N. office in Kiev says he is optimistic that Viktor Yuschenko will consider the recommendations.

"We expect that next week after the Supreme Court decision, if the Supreme Court will not support the claims of Yanukovich and Yuschenko will be president we expect there will be some follow-up on the Blue Ribbon Commission's report," he said.

Mr. Vasylev said there have already been meetings with Mr. Yuschenko and his team.

The UNDP is the UN's global development network helping countries to face the challenges of democratic transition.

A similar report was presented to the Hungarian government at the beginning of the 1990s supporting good governance and private enterprise.

Mr. Vasylev thinks that reforms suggested for Ukraine could be applied elsewhere in former communist countries.

"There are a lot of similarities in post-Soviet countries including Russia, so of course there's a program of political, let's say social-political form of governance," he said.

Mr. Vasylev says one old tradition in Soviet countries was that the government ran the country but was not there to serve the people. He says the reforms envisaged for the Ukraine and elsewhere should help citizens to have a real say in running the country.