Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

No. 47, Part II, 7 March 1995

This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest.
Part II is a compilation of news concerning East-Central and
Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central
Asia, and the CIS, is distributed simultaneously as a second document.


formally appointed Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and the new cabinet on 6
March, Radio Warsaw reported. In what a spokesman called a "good-will
gesture," the president also announced he was withdrawing his
constitutional complaint against the 1995 budget, which, he said, he
would sign into law. The budget still violates constitutional norms, the
spokesman argued, but the president had decided to give the new
government a chance. Walesa said that he "did not intend to limit the
government's independence" but noted that "the Presidency is also an
institution of executive power." Also on 6 March, the president vetoed a
constitutional amendment that would have allowed the Sejm to remain in
session until new elections in the event of the dissolution of the
parliament. Under current law, the parliament ceases to meet. The
legislation was adopted when Walesa's threats to dissolve the parliament
were most pronounced. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

OLEKSY SETS NEW STYLE. The new prime minister's first decisions signaled
an end to the decision-making paralysis that plagued his predecessor.
Oleksy on 7 March appointed Jerzy Stanczyk, the candidate endorsed by
the internal affairs minister, as commander of the national police
force. The post had been vacant for nearly a month, and the police had
effectively lacked leadership since the ousted commander was implicated
in a corruption scandal last year. The prime minister also announced the
formation of a special task force on crime. The new government's concern
for good public relations was clear in Oleksy's selection of former TV
reporter Aleksandra Jakubowska as press spokesman. Jakubowska said
journalists would always be welcome at government headquarters. Friction
between the two coalition partners was also immediately evident: the
Polish Peasant Party protested Oleksy's decision to appoint Labor
Minister Leszek Miller of the Democratic Left Alliance to head the
government's social policy committee. At Oleksy's request, all cabinet
members signed a statement saying they could not be implicated in any
crimes or scandals. -- Louisa Vinton, OMRI, Inc.

parliament on 6 March nearly reinstated its chairman, Serhii Tsekov,
only days after it pressured him to resign, Reuters and Interfax-Ukraine
reported the same day. Tsekov, who served as intermediary during the
power struggle last fall between Crimean President Yurii Meshkov and the
legislature, fell one vote short of the absolute majority he needed in
the 98-member parliament to regain his post. The other candidate was
Mykhailo Shumakov, a factory manager. A second round of voting is
expected later in the week. The power vacuum on the peninsula following
Tsekov's resignation last week and the stripping of most of the Crimean
president's powers by parliament last autumn has prompted calls for
early elections to the Crimean legislature. -- Chrystyna Lapychak, OMRI,

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN BRUSSELS. Alyaksandr Lukashenka flew to the
Belgian capital on 5 March for a three-day visit with heads of the
European Union, Belarusian Radio reported. Before his departure,
Lukashenka said this was probably his most important visit in the past
six months. He stressed its economic significance, saying that the EU
accounted for 35% of Belarusian exports, or almost all exports outside
the CIS. Asked about the possibility of meeting with NATO officials,
Lukashenka said it was necessary to inform the organization of the
financial difficulties Belarus was encountering in scrapping military
hardware, as required by the CFE treaty. Belarusian Foreign Minister
Uladzimir Syanko said the visit demonstrated that Belarusian foreign
policy is multifaceted and not solely Russian-oriented, as many people
believe. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI, Inc.

PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS IN BELARUS. Alyaksandr Abramovich, head of the
Central Electoral Commission, said on 3 March that there will be 260
electoral districts in the parliament elections scheduled for 14 May,
Belarusian Radio reported. In order to nominate a candidate, a support
group must collect 500 signatures from among the electorate. Candidates
may be nominated by both political parties and the public. Judges,
ministers, and other officials appointed by the president cannot run for
the parliament. The registration of candidates will last one month,
after which the election campaign kicks off. -- Ustina Markus, OMRI,

ESTONIAN ELECTION UPDATE. Elections results released in the late
afternoon of 6 March differed slightly from those issued in the morning,
BNS reported. Pro Patria won eight and not seven seats and the Center
Party 16 not 17. Coalition Party Chairman and likely prime minister Tiit
Vahi refuted claims that the results indicated "a victory for the Left
and a return of the former communists." He pointed out that the number
of communists in his alliance was no greater than in many other
alliances. Vahi also said he will hold talks with the right-of-center
Reform Party, the Center Party, and the Rightists as possible coalition
partners. Voter turnout in the 5 March parliament elections was 69.1%.
The 52 international observers found no serious faults in the
organization of the elections and no gross violations of the election
law. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

reported that in 1994, Latvians consumed an average of 7.77 liters of
absolute alcohol, BNS reported on 3 March. That figure was broken down
as follows: 4.96 liters of vodka, 0.98 liters of wine, 0.30 liters of
cognac, 0.30 liters of champagne, and 1.23 liters of beer. Per capita
consumption of absolute alcohol was 5.23 liters in 1992 and 6.4 liters
in 1993. -- Saulius Girnius, OMRI, Inc.

FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN LITHUANIA. Paavo Rantanen flew to Vilnius on
3 March on a one-day working visit, BNS reported. Talks with Lithuanian
Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys focused on improving bilateral relations.
The two leaders discussed visa-free travel between their countries,
which will depend on Lithuania's control over its borders. Rantanen
expressed support for Lithuania's effort to gain associate membership in
the European Union and said he hoped that a major stumbling block, the
ban on the sale of land to foreigners, will be resolved. The parliament
began discussing a constitutional amendment to allow foreign ownership
of land, but the amendment will have to be approved by the opposition
because passage requires a two-thirds majority vote. -- Saulius Girnius,
OMRI, Inc.

Democratic Slovakia deputy Dusan Macuska on 6 March proposed to the
parliament that the power to remove and appoint the director of the
Slovak Intelligence Service be transferred from the president to the
government, Narodna obroda reported. Macuska said the proposal is
logical because the SIS director is responsible to the Council of State
Defense, of which the president is not a member and of which the prime
minister is chairman. He said it does not make sense that the power to
name the SIS director remains in the hands of the president, "who does
not have the support of the parliament or even of the majority of the
population." Rejecting claims that the proposal will lead to a
concentration of power, Macuska said it is a move against such a
concentration "in the hands of the president." Of the 79 deputies
present (those from the opposition did not attend the session), 75 voted
in favor and four abstained. The parliament also began to discuss the
cabinet's 1995 budget draft, which Party of the Democratic Left Deputy
Chairwoman Brigita Schmoegnerova called "more restrictive" than that of
the previous government. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.

including Sme, Pravda, Praca, and Narodna obroda--on 6 March printed a
front page featuring a single statement entitled "Anxiety." The
statement, dated 3 March, was signed by leading dailies (both national
and regional), magazines, the Presidium of the Association of Publishers
of the Periodical Press (ZVPT), and the Slovak Syndicate of Journalists.
It begins: "We express anxiety concerning the efforts to raise value-
added tax for periodical and non-periodical press; to discriminate
against foreign capital in this area; to limit advertising revenues,
which would raise prices; and other efforts to exacerbate the already
difficult situation of newspapers and magazines." The parliament
caucuses of the governing parties, reacting to the statement, said the
proposal to raise taxes has not been submitted for discussion in the
current session of parliament, Pravda reports. Deputy Premier Katarina
Tothova said she met on 3 March with members of the ZVPT Presidium and
assured them that neither the government nor the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia wants to bring such a proposal before the
parliament. -- Sharon Fisher, OMRI, Inc.


7 March reported that the governments of Croatia and the Croatian-Muslim
federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina announced a new military alliance
the previous day. It is not clear whether this is a concrete measure or
one of mainly symbolic value, but it comes three weeks after the Serbs
in Bosnia and Croatia took a similar step. The Boston Globe notes that
Croatian Television ran the story about the Croatian-Muslim command in
its 6 March newscast right behind one on talks between US Assistant
Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and President Franjo Tudjman. The
media speculated that Holbrooke had wanted to present new ideas to
Tudjman on possible ways to extend UNPROFOR's mandate in Croatia, but
Croatian sources later said that the two men talked only about what
would happen when the peacekeepers left. In any event, Croatian Chief-
of-Staff General Janko Bobetko's announcement that the joint command
will "defend the Croatian-Muslim federation" is one more sign that a
renewed conflict in the area may be in the offing. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

Serb commander General Ratko Mladic said on 6 March that the
peacekeepers are not welcome in that republic if Tudjman evicts them
from Croatia, the BBC reported. Meanwhile in Brussels, the EU foreign
ministers endorsed a British and French proposal to link talks with
Zagreb on a future cooperation agreement to Tudjman's allowing UNPROFOR
to stay. Germany, Austria, and the EU Commission had wanted to start
talks without reference to UNPROFOR, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
reported on 7 March. In Bosnia itself, Vjesnik reported that Pale has
levied a monthly per capita tax of about DM 200 on Bosnian Serbs working
abroad. All sides in the former Yugoslavia have regularly "passed the
hat" among the guest workers. And in London, Bosnian Foreign Minister
Irfan Ljubijancic told the BBC that the West is wasting its time making
political offers to Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, because "the
only language he understands is force." Nasa Borba adds that the
minister warned that an expanded war is approaching. -- Patrick Moore,
OMRI, Inc.

March reported that representatives of the international Contact Group
will resume talks in Paris the same day in what appears to be a renewed
bid to avert a new war in the former Yugoslavia. One unnamed British
official, quoted by Reuters, summed up the mood by observing "The clock
is ticking. . . . It's a question of getting all hands on deck."
Meanwhile, a report by Thorvald Stoltenberg and Lord Owen states that
the international sanctions monitoring team stationed along the Serbian-
Bosnian border is running out of funds, which may force the operation to
close down. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

SLOVENIA TO NEGOTIATE WITH EU. International media reported on 6 March
that the European Union has given the go-ahead for officials to begin
negotiations with Slovenia on an association agreement. The announcement
came in the wake of Italy's agreeing to drop its veto on an EU agreement
with Ljubljana. AFP reported that the Slovenian capital has responded to
Italy's move with a commitment "to modify by the end of its negotiations
with the European Union, articles in its constitution discriminating
against its large Italian minority." An association agreement offers the
possibility of eventual EU membership. -- Stan Markotich, OMRI, Inc.

state at the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, began a two-day
visit to Bucharest on 6 March, Romanian media reported the same day.
Somogyi and his Romanian counterpart, Marcel Dinu, are expected to sign
a document accompanying the basic treaty between the two countries.
Expert-level negotiations on the treaty resumed in Budapest at the same
time. Radio Bucharest, quoting MTI, reported on 7 March that the only
outstanding issue to be resolved is that of national minorities. The
previous day, Radio Bucharest reported that two new ethnic Hungarian
organizations in Romania had issued a declaration noting the worsening
situation of Hungarian minorities in "neighboring countries where
aggressive nationalism is growing" and claiming that those minorities
are facing a process of "assimilation and cultural genocide." The
International Transylvanian Committee and the National Union of
Transylvanian Circles insist that the "right to self-determination" for
the Hungarian minorities must be included in basic treaties. -- Michael
Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

DISMISSED. Romanian Industry Minister Dumitru Popescu told Rompres on 6
March that two officials in charge of the construction of the nuclear
power plant at Cernavoda have been dismissed and that the administrative
council of the state electricity company RENEL has ceased to function. A
new council will be appointed within five days. Popescu said that there
were "unjustified delays" of three to four months in the construction at
Cernavoda. He also accused the dismissed officials of delaying
negotiations with the Canadian-Italian consortium supervising the work.
The talks were to focus on the financing of a second unit at Cernavoda.
-- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

MOLDOVA'S GAGAUZ MINORITY BACKS AUTONOMY. The commission responsible for
implementing the special status of the Gagauz autonomous region
announced on 6 March that at least 27 of the 36 ethnically mixed
districts that participated in the 5 March referendum have voted to join
the region, Interfax reported According to the same source, seven
districts have decided not to join and the results from two districts
are not yet available. But Reuters, quoting Moldovan officials, said 30
districts have decided to join. In some districts, the vote in favor was
close to 90%. Observers from the Council of Europe praised the
referendum as fair and said they hoped it will enable Moldova to speed
up its membership in the council. One observer said that if other ethnic
groups in other countries "could live together as well as you live in
this country, the world would be more peaceful." Fears that other ethnic
groups in southern Moldova would boycott the vote proved unfounded.
Gagauz leader Stepan Topal told Interfax that the districts joining the
autonomous region will not participate in the local elections scheduled
elsewhere in Moldova for 16 April. Elections in the autonomous region
are set for May. -- Michael Shafir, OMRI, Inc.

EU AND TURKEY CONCLUDE CUSTOMS UNION. The European Union and Turkey on 6
March signed a customs union agreement, AFP reported the same day. The
accord, which will take effect on 1 January 1996, virtually incorporates
Turkey into the EU's single market. Some Turkish industries will remain
protected from EU competition, and Turkish agricultural exports will
still face restrictions. Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller said the
deal is a "crucial turning point" in the country's history, adding it
will "pave the way for political and financial integration with Europe."
Politicians and diplomats from EU member states agreed that the customs
union will mean closer Turkish ties to the West and may prevent that
country from sliding toward Islamic fundamentalism. Greece lifted its
veto against the customs union on 3 March in return for an EU commitment
to start membership talks with Cyprus, probably in 1997. The customs
union can still be overruled by the European Parliament, which has
threatened to vote it down because of Turkey's poor human rights record.
-- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
Union and East-Central and Southeastern Europe. It is published Monday
through Friday by the Open Media Research Institute. The Daily Digest is
distributed electronically via the OMRI-L list. To subscribe, send
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