|The fool wonders, the wise man asks. - Benjamin Disraeli|
No. 212, Part II, 31 October 1995
This is Part II of the Open Media Research Institute's Daily Digest. Part II is a compilation of news concerning Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I, covering Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia, is distributed simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of the Daily Digest, and other information about OMRI, are available through OMRI's WWW pages: http://www.omri.cz/OMRI.html ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CROATIA'S GOVERNING PARTY WINS ELECTIONS. With nearly 80% of the ballots counted, President Franjo Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has retained its parliamentary majority, Croatian media reported on 31 October. The HDZ secured some 44% of the vote and is thus likely to have between 71 and 75 of the 128 parliamentary seats, including 12 allotted to Croatian voters abroad. But the failure to win a two-thirds parliamentary majority means that Tudjman will be unable to introduce constitutional changes granting the presidency wider powers. Support for the HDZ seems to have waned most in the capital. Hina on 30 October reported that the HDZ won a majority of votes for the Zagreb City Assembly in only three of the city's 17 constituencies, gaining 36.55% of the vote. In the 1993 elections, the HDZ had the support of nearly 43% of voters in Zagreb. -- Stan Markotich ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^OTHER HEADLINES^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Slovak Steelworks Blame Subsidiary for Leak Romanian Students Suspend Strike ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT TO INCREASE TAXES TO COVER BUDGET DEFICIT. The Ukrainian government says it will increase business taxes to raise 8 trillion karbovansti to cover the 1995 budget deficit, which is larger than expected, Interfax-Ukraine and UNIAN reported on 30 October. Finance Minister Petro Hermanchuk told a cabinet session that this year's budget deficit would exceed the IMF target by 24.6 trillion karbovansti to reach 7.3% of GDP. He said that because it had received only 58.9% of projected annual revenues by the end of September, the government would be forced to raise taxes on company profits, exchanges and auctions, and casinos by 2%, 3%, and 5%, respectively. Hermanchuk said the low revenues were due to a lingering industrial crisis, which caused a 12.7% decline in GDP in the first nine months of the year. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN DISARMAMENT UPDATE. Ukrainian Radio on 30 October reported that Ukraine has deactivated 80 SS-19 missiles and dismantled 40 silos. As all of the SS-24s were deactivated last October, this means that 90% of Ukraine's nukes have been deactivated. Colonel Oleksandr Serdyuk said there were financial problems connected with disarmament. The U.S., the Netherlands, and Canada have made part of their promised contributions toward the effort, but France, Britain, Spain, and Italy have given none of the assistance they pledged. Serdyk said if more aid is not forthcoming Ukraine may have to slow down the process. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULINGS. The Belarusian Constitutional Court has ruled that parliamentary amendments to the electoral law lowering the minimum voter turnout from 50% to 25% are valid, Belarusian Radio and Russian TV reported on 30 October. The amendments came in the wake of voters' failure to elect at least two-thirds of deputies in parliamentary elections. Fearing that no new parliament would ever be elected owing to voter apathy, the legislature lowered the threshold for minimum voter turnout. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka responded by saying he would not recognize a parliament elected under two different sets of rules. Earlier, the court ruled that the old parliament was the legitimate legislature until a new one was elected, despite Lukashenka's refusal to recognize its legitimacy. -- Ustina Markus BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT IN U.S. Lukashenka on 30 October completed his week-long visit to the U.S., Belarusian Radio reported. Lukashenka was in New York for the 50th anniversary of the UN, after which he traveled to Detroit and Chicago to meet with businessmen and members of the Belarusian diaspora. Head of the Presidential Administration Mikhail Myasnikovich was positive about the results of the visit, saying Lukashenka had "opened the doors for foreign investment in Belarus." -- Ustina Markus ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN VISITS LITHUANIA. Toomas Savi, at the beginning of a three-day visit to Lithuania, on 30 October met with his Lithuanian counterpart, Ceslovas Jursenas, to discuss bilateral cooperation in achieving membership in the European Union, BNS reported. Savi noted that the formation of a new government in Estonia would not result in any changes in foreign policy and that it was hoped that a border agreement with Russia could be reached soon. The Estonians also participated at the ceremonial opening of a monument in the Antakalnis Cemetery dedicated to those who died fighting for Lithuanian independence in 1991. Savi is to hold talks with Prime Minister Adolfas Slezevicius and visit Kaunas on 31 October. -- Saulius Girnius EU REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE IN LITHUANIA. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Povilas Gylys and European Union Commissioner for Liaisons with Eastern and Central Europe Hans van den Broek signed a treaty in Brussels on 30 October establishing a European Commission delegation to Lithuania, BNS reported. An EU representative office is scheduled to be opened in Vilnius by the end of the year. Gylys also gave a lecture on Lithuanian foreign and security policies at the Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations before traveling to Luxembourg to attend the meeting on 31 October of the foreign ministers of the 15 EU countries and 10 associate EU member countries. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON CITIZENSHIP. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, in an interview with the German magazine Focus on 30 October, commented on the German practice of inheriting citizenship "even if only one of the person's great-grandmothers was German." Bartoszewski said that if this practice continues, Poland will have soon 30 million Germans living in the country and that such a development is neither in Poland's nor Germany's interest. Horst Waffenschmidt, under-secretary at the German Internal Affairs Ministry, said on 30 October that though many Germans living in Poland are demanding confirmation of their German citizenship, they do not intend to move to Germany. German citizenship is for them a kind of "insurance policy," Rzeczpospolita reported him as saying. -- Jakub Karpinski in Warsaw POLISH DEFENSE COMPANIES JOIN FORCES. More than 100 Polish defense companies have established the Polish Chamber of Producers for State Defense, Nowa Europa reported on 30 October. Chamber spokesman Janusz Brandt said the organization's purpose was to "protect Poland's defense industry from economic degradation and the disappearance of intellectual potential." The Polish arms sector is made up of 31 core enterprises, with several hundred other companies supplying parts and components. -- Doug Clarke CZECH, GERMAN PRESIDENTS DISCUSS SUDETEN ISSUE. Vaclav Havel and Roman Herzog on 30 October attended a session in Dresden of the Czech-German commission of historians investigating the role of the Sudeten German minority in pre-war Czechoslovakia and their subsequent expulsion from the country. Both presidents supported the preparation of a declaration to resolve the issue and stabilize Czech-German relations, Czech media reported. But Herzog warned that any hasty declaration would not stand the test of time and therefore the text has to be carefully worked out. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said last week he hoped the preparation of the declaration will be completed before the end of this year. In a television interview, Havel urged Germany neither to hark back to "certain matters that happened after the war" not to insist on pursuing legal and property claims that are "unrealistic and unrealizable." -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK STEELWORKS BLAME SUBSIDIARY FOR LEAK. VSZ President Jan Smerek on 30 October announced that the probable cause of damage to the pipe that leaked carbon monoxide, killing 11 people, was a repair carried out by VSZ Keramika. According to Smerek, Keramika failed to take all the necessary safety precautions and required a "disproportionate" amount of time to repair the pipe, Pravda reported. Local residents have complained about VSZ's delay in informing the public about the leak. But Smerek stressed that information was not even passed on within VSZ and its subsidiaries until well after the leak began. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. The ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) said in a statement issued on 30 October that the diplomatic notes sent by the EU and U.S. (see OMRI Daily Digest, 26 and 30 October 1995) are "further proof" of President Michal Kovac's "negative activities." The party praised HZDS Chairman and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar for "continuing tirelessly in his work for the benefit of Slovak citizens," despite "pressure from the opposition, headed by Kovac." It also stressed that Kovac's "moral failure" will be resolved democratically and constitutionally. In other news, Dusan Macuska, who heads a commission established by the parliamentary Mandate and Immunity Committee, has claimed the opposition Democratic Union collected only 8,219 of the 10,000 valid signatures needed to run in last fall's elections, Sme reported on 28 October. DU Deputy Chairman Ludovit Cernak said on 30 October that several opposition deputies have asked Interior Minister Ludovit Hudek for the results of the police investigation into the matter. If the results are not released by 2 November, the DU deputies will be forced to take "radical measures," Cernak said. -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK ROMA UNEASY ABOUT HEALTH MINISTER'S STATEMENT. The Union of Romani Political Parties of Slovakia (URPSS) has expressed concern about a statement made last week by Health Minister Lubomir Javorsky, a member of HZDS. During a HZDS rally in Kosice, Javorsky said, in the presence of Meciar, that "the government will do everything to ensure that more white children than Romani children are born," Narodna obroda reported on 28 October. The URPSS has called for a demonstration, scheduled for 15 November in Kosice. -- Sharon Fisher LEFT-WING SOCIALISTS ON FUTURE OF HUNGARIAN SOCIALIST PARTY. Hungarian Socialist Party Vice President Gyorgy Janosi, speaking to a gathering of nearly 100 left-wing Socialist deputies on 30 October, said the party must limit internal disputes and develop new programs. He warned that if it continued to search for scapegoats, both the party and the parliamentary caucus would be in danger of breaking up, the Hungarian press reported on 31 October. Janosi also pointed out that there is no alternative to the government's stabilization program and that the population must be prepared for further sacrifices. Socialist deputy Ferenc Kosa suggested that the left-wing of the divided socialist caucus draw up its own platform. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARIAN OPPOSITION CALLS FOR ACTION AGAINST SLOVAKIA'S LANGUAGE BILL. Alliance of Young Democrats deputy Zsolt Nemeth has described the Slovak language bill as "scandalous" and noted that, by signing the Hungarian- Slovak basic treaty earlier this year, the government has become an accomplice to the "devastation" caused by Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar. Several opposition speakers supported his remarks. Meanwhile, Environment Minister Ferenc Baja told the parliament on 30 October that the government will urge neighboring countries to join a convention obliging signatories to announce industrial accidents. His statement follows the 27 October explosion in eastern Slovakia and the Slovak authorities failure to notify the Hungarians until the following morning. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE U.S. HOUSE VOTES AGAINST SENDING TROOPS TO BOSNIA. The US House of Representatives on 30 October voted 315 to 103 in favor of a non-binding resolution expressing opposition to the sending of U.S. troops to Bosnia without the consent of Congress, AFP reported the same day. The resolution states that "in the negotiation of any peace agreement between the parties to the conflict in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, there should not be a presumption, and it should not be considered to be a prerequisite to the successful conclusion of such a negotiation, that the enforcement of such an agreement will involve deployment of United States Armed Forces...." Reuters on 31 October cites unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the three Balkan delegations scheduled to meet in Ohio on 1 November will "not agree to peace...if U.S. troops will not help other NATO members to enforce it." Chief mediator and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke added that the resolution may "weaken the negotiations." -- Stan Markotich BOSNIAN PRESIDENT REJECTS DIVISION OF BOSNIA. Alija Izetbegovic has said he is going to the Ohio talks with "moderate optimism." He stressed his delegation will reject a partition of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Reuters reported on 30 October. He also insisted on a united Sarajevo and adequate international forces to ensure the peace process. Aid for reconstruction must be tied to human rights, Izetbegovic argued. Holbrooke pointed out that it "is going to be very, very hard to reach a peace agreement." Serbian President Milosevic, representing the Bosnian Serbs, Croatian President Tudjman, and Izetbegovic will discuss a peace agreement in the presence of representatives of the Contact Group. -- Fabian Schmidt EU FOREIGN MINISTERS AGREE ON RECONSTRUCTION PLAN FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. The foreign ministers of the EU have agreed to provide $2 billion in reconstruction aid for the former Yugoslavia. At a meeting in Luxembourg on 30 October, they adopted a policy paper stating that Bosnia- Herzegovina should remain a single state in its internationally recognized borders and should be composed of two entities--the Muslim- Croatian federation and the Republic of Srpska, Reuters reported the same day. The policy paper also stressed the need for a multi-ethnic society based on the rule of law and with respect for human rights. Aid approval is dependent on an agreement being reached in Ohio. The EU expects the U.S. and the Islamic countries to pay another $2 billion each. -- Fabian Schmidt FIRST CIVILIAN CONVOY IN MORE THAN THREE YEARS REACHES GORAZDE. The first civilian convoy arrived safely in Gorazde on 30 October, international media reported. The convoy was carrying humanitarian aid. Another civilian convoy is scheduled to run on 1 November. Until now, only UN convoys were able to reach the enclave occasionally. Meanwhile, the Bosnian government and the Bosnian Serbs have exchanged more than 500 civilian and military prisoners in Koprivna, near Sanski Most, Reuters reported on 30 October. According to the Financial Times on 30 October, the UN reported shelling by Bosnian Serbs near Dubrovnik. -- Fabian Schmidt ROMANIAN STUDENTS SUSPEND STRIKE. The recently established National Alliance of Student Organizations (ANOS) on 30 October announced it is temporarily suspending the strikes and that the students will return to classes beginning 31 October, Radio Bucharest reported. Student representatives will meet on 6 November in Bucharest to discuss progress toward meeting their demands and to decide whether new forms of protest are warranted. The decision came after the Chamber of Deputies said on 30 October that it will reexamine the education law; the students have objected to some of its provisions. ANOS said its decision was also prompted by political parties' attempts to make political capital out of the students' demands. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIAN DIPLOMAT ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF CORRUPTION. Benone Ghinea, who served as commercial attache at the Romanian embassy in Johannesburg from 1991-1995, has been arrested on suspicion of bribe-taking in connection with the 1994 purchase of 12 Puma helicopters from the South African arms manufacturer Armscor, AFP reported on 30 October, citing Romanian police sources. According to the Romanian press, Ghinea pocketed $400,000 from the deal. The Romanian government has denied any involvement (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 October 1995), but opposition parties say the sale could not have taken place without official approval. -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE. According to data released by the Central Electoral Commission on 30 October, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) received 41% of the vote cast for municipal councils, while its mayoral candidates received 37.8%. The Union of Democratic Forces and its candidates garnered 24.7% and 27.2%, respectively, the People's Union 12.3% and 15.8%, the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom 8.2% and 7.7%, and the Bulgarian Business Bloc 5.0% and 3.5%. The turnout for municipal councils was 54.7%, and for mayors, 53.1%. Meanwhile, BSP Sofia branch leader Aleksandar Marinov blamed the party's national leadership for the BSP's poor showing in the capital, Standart reported on 31 October. He claims that the party used the wrong tactics, thereby causing the defeat of its candidate, Ventsislav Yosifov. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia BULGARIAN BUSINESS GROUP LINKED TO ATTEMPT ON GLIGOROV'S LIFE. The Greek newspaper Thessaloniki on 30 October published an article alleging that the Bulgarian Multigrup business conglomerate was behind the attempt to kill Macedonian President Kiro Gligorov on 3 October. An article by Spyros Kouzinopoulos, director of the Greek Macedonian Information Agency, says Multigrup is "linked to the mafia and enriches itself through illegal trade with Serbia and [Macedonia] in violation of the embargo against rump Yugoslavia." Macedonian media have also pointed to Multigrup as possibly carrying out the bomb attack. Multigrup Chief Secretary Boyko Draganov said the company will take those responsible for the article to court, 24 chasa reported on 31 October. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia [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. 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For Transition subscription information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ Copyright (C) 1995 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
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