|Самое меньшее благо в жизни - это богатство; самое большое - мудрость. - Г. Лессинг|
No. 216, Part II, 6 November 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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ TIGHT CONTEST BETWEEN KWASNIEWSKI, WALESA IN FIRST ROUND OF POLISH PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. According to preliminary results released by the Warsaw-based Public Opinion Research Center (OBOP), Democratic Left Alliance leader Aleksander Kwasniewski won 34.8% of the vote and incumbent President Lech Walesa 33.3% in the first round of the Polish presidential elections. The two will compete on 19 November in the second round of elections. Former Labor Minister Jacek Kuron, the candidate of the Freedom Union, came in third with 8.9%. He was followed by two former prime ministers: Jan Olszewski (7%) and Peasant Party leader Waldemar Pawlak (4.8%). National Bank President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz received 2.7%. At 64.6%, turnout was larger than at any presidential or parliamentary elections since 1989. The final results of the first round will be released on 7 November. -- Jakub Karpinski in Warsaw ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE CRIMEAN TATARS CONTINUE HUNGER STRIKE, DESPITE CONCESSIONS. Members of the Crimean Tatar caucus in the regional parliament are continuing their hunger strike, despite the fact that lawmakers have approved an electoral system guaranteeing Tatar representation under a new constitution, Reuters and Ukrainian Radio reported on 4 November. Deputies adopted a compromise the same day to change an article in the draft constitution after Crimean Tatar legislators declared a hunger strike to protest the removal of a clause providing for a quota of seats to represent the 250,000 Tatars in the region. The parliament voted 67 to four to use proportional representation in the next elections, thereby ensuring Tatars up to 15% of seats. Kurultai caucus members believe the decision is inadequate, since some 64,000 Tatars who have resettled on the peninsula still do not have Ukrainian citizenship and therefore cannot vote. They are continuing their hunger strike to demand more guarantees of equal status for the Crimean Tatar language with Russian and Ukrainian and official recognition as a people. -- Chrystyna Lapychak UKRAINIAN TROOPS IN FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov has said Ukraine is willing to contribute troops to a new peacekeeping force in Bosnia, but not one under NATO command, Reuters reported. This position can be attributed to Ukraine's non- aligned status. Shmarov said Ukraine was looking for a way to participate in peacekeeping operations outside of NATO's command. -- Ustina Markus UPDATE ON BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENTARY CRISIS. Reuters reported that 81 out of 97 Belarusian deputies meeting informally on 4 November supported President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's demand that the minimum voter turnout for the 29 November by-elections remain at 50% rather than 25% This is a severe blow to parliamentary speaker Mechyslau Hryb, who has been elected a deputy and has been lobbying for the 25% threshold to ensure that a new parliament is elected. Interfax reported Lukashenka as telling voters in the Myadel district not to vote for anyone they did not know personally. He also accused parliamentary candidates Stanislau Bahdankevich (former chairman of the National Bank of Belarus) and Yurii Zakharenka (former interior minister ) of being frauds. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINIAN MILITARY DELEGATION VISITS ESTONIA. Maj.-Gen. Anatolii Palamarchuk, Ukrainian army deputy chief of staff, and Elvo Priks, vice chancellor of the Estonian Defense Ministry, on 3 November signed a protocol identifying the main areas of military cooperation between their countries in 1996, BNS reported. During his two-day visit, Palamarchuk also met with Estonian commander-in-chief, Lt. Gen. Aleksandr Einseln; Defense Minister Andrus Oovel; and parliamentary chairman Toomas Savi. Priks said Estonia would investigate the possible purchase of Ukrainian light infantry weapons and equipment as well as sending its officers to Ukraine's military colleges. -- Saulius Girnius CANDIDATES FOR LATVIAN PREMIER ON ECONOMIC PRIORITIES. Ziedonis Cevers and Maris Grinblats, prime minister candidates of the National Conciliation Bloc and National Bloc, have revealed their economic priorities, BNS reported on 3 November. Grinblats said improved control over state income and next year's budget were the key issues to be settled by the new government. He also noted that he would continue the privatization of the Latvian Gas company. Cevers said that his most serious concerns would be the fight against smuggling and organized crime, preparing credit and investment programs, and introducing a regime of economizing in the country. Decrees would be issued only after consultations with entrepreneurs, he commented. -- Saulius Girnius HAVEL SUPPORTS SENDING CZECH TROOPS TO BOSNIA. President Vaclav Havel on 5 November said it is "essential" that Czech troops take part in any international peacekeeping force sent to Bosnia. "We cannot be absent from these units if we seriously mean our statements that we want to take joint responsibility for the security situation in Europe and if we seriously want to be a member of NATO," Havel said in his weekly radio talk. A Czech contingent has already been serving in the UNPROFOR units in Croatia. Defense Minister Vilem Holan, talking to reporters on 4 November, also supported sending Czech troops to Bosnia. -- Steve Kettle SLOVAK POLITICAL UPDATE. Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar on 3 November responded to statements by President Michal Kovac (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 November 1995) by saying the parliament or the people will have to take action since Kovac does not have the "courage" to resign, Pravda reported. In other news, Peter Weiss of the opposition Party of the Democratic Left (SDL) on 4 November said he will not run for reelection as party chairman at the next SDL congress in May. Weiss said he hopes to remain a member of the party leadership and continue to work for the SDL's admission into the Socialist International. Weiss's future as party chairman had been in question ever since last fall's elections, when the SDL fared much worse than expected. -- Sharon Fisher CONTINUED CONTROVERSY OVER SLOVAK LANGUAGE LAW. Representatives of Slovakia's Hungarian coalition, returning from Strasbourg on 3 November, said the Council of Europe has promised to discuss the state language bill with Slovak representatives, Sme reported. The Hungarians have claimed the draft law is unconstitutional and violates international norms and the Slovak-Hungarian treaty. Pal Csaky of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Movement said that if the parliament passes the bill, the Hungarians will bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Meanwhile, the Permanent Conference of the Civic Institute criticized the other opposition parties for not taking a stand against the bill, which "will damage the culture of entire Slovak society, not just the Hungarian minority," Pravda reported. Deputy Premier Katarina Tothova on 3 November argued that the bill is in line with the constitution and international conventions signed by Slovakia. "Slovakia is a sovereign state that has the full right to pass legislation on the state language," Tothova said. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARY, ROMANIA REOPEN TREATY TALKS. Hungarian Foreign Ministry State Secretary Ferenc Somogyi and his Romanian counterpart, Marcel Dinu, on 3 November resumed talks aimed at settling sensitive ethnic minority issues and restarting treaty negotiations. The talks were the first since negotiations on the Hungarian-Romanian treaty were suspended in July. The two officials stressed that the negotiations were preliminary and aimed at clarifying Romanian proposals made in September, including a joint political declaration and a "code of conduct" on cooperation in the field of national minorities. Talks on the final texts of the joint agreements are expected to start early next year, after Hungary makes its own proposals, Dinu said. -- Zsofia Szilagyi HUNGARIAN WORKERS DEMAND WAGE HIKES. Following warning strikes in the energy sector last week, health workers have scheduled a one-day strike for 11 November to demand higher wages, Hungarian media reported. The police plans a national demonstration on 2 December to press their demands for wage hikes. Magyar Hirlap reported that three unions-- representing teachers, public library employees, and university professors--set up a joint strike committee on 5 November demanding a 25% increase. They say that if the government does not name a negotiating team within five days, they will stage a nationwide strike. Finance Minister Lajos Bokros said the government cannot yield to demands for wage hikes. If it were to do so, it would have to give up plans to reduce real wages and would be effectively saying the rigorous stabilization program is unnecessary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE CROATIAN SERB REBELS SET NEW CONDITIONS. International media on 5 November reported that Croatian Serb negotiator Milan Milanovic rejected peace proposals from U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith and UN mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg. Milanovic represents the Serbs of eastern Slavonia, the last sliver of the former Krajina still in Serbian hands. He said that any transition to Croatian rule must be at least three years, while Zagreb wants two at the most. Milanovic also stated that supervision must be in the hands of UN troops, not those of NATO, as Croatia demands. The Serbian official also insisted on a referendum by local Serbs for autonomy, which Zagreb rejects. Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and his military chief, General Zvonimir Cervenko, warned again over the weekend that Croatia reserves the right to restore sovereignty over eastern Slavonia by military means if talks fail. -- Patrick Moore BOSNIAN SERBS DEFY U.S. DEMANDS TO DROP LEADERS. Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Rajko Kosagic told SRNA on 5 November that his people "will not permit the Americans or the Muslim authorities of Sarajevo to dictate to us their choice for (our) leaders. The Serb people will decide themselves, since they alone can elect or dismiss their representatives." He was apparently responding to suggestions by U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher that indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic are unacceptable as postwar leaders. Kosagic said the U.S. could demand that the two be put on trial for war crimes, "which would be the equivalent of putting the entire Serb people on trial for alleged crimes." In another development, AFP on 5 November reported that the Bosnian Serb army has charged the interior minister with giving an illegal order to special police units to pull back from front lines. They demanded that Karadzic overrule the minister. -- Patrick Moore U.S., UN OFFICIALS SEE CAPTURED JOURNALIST. Officials on 5 November met with David Rohde, a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor who was apparently captured by Bosnian Serbs on 29 October. This was the first contact Rohde had been allowed to Western representatives, and it came only after vocal protests by U.S. diplomats at the Dayton peace talks. The officials said he was healthy but exhausted and serving a 15- day sentence for what SRNA on 3 November called illegal border crossing and falsifying documents. Rohde has spearheaded reporting on the Srebrenica massacres of Muslims by Serbs. On 25 October, he ran an article quoting local Serbs as confirming the killings, for which Rohde said that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is ultimately responsible. -- Patrick Moore NEW CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER APPOINTED. President Franjo Tudjman has announced his decision to relieve Prime Minister Nikica Valentic of his duties and to appoint Zlatko Matesa as his replacement, Novi List reported on 6 November. Matesa will present his new government on 7 November. In Valentic's government, Matesa was minister in charge of relations with the EU and other international financial and trade institutions. He said his new cabinet is one of continuity, but he also underscored his determination to find new ways to improve the economy. -- Daria Sito Sucic POWER STRUGGLE WITHIN SERBIAN MEDIA GIANT. Nasa Borba on 6 November reported that a conflict within the Politika publishing house reached a "red-hot" pitch over the weekend. Zivorad Minovic, former editor of the daily Politika from 1985-1991, and Hadzi Dragan Antic, current director of Politika publishing, appear to be involved in a power struggle. Nasa Borba speculates that Antic, backed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, will likely succeed in ousting his opponent. -- Stan Markotich GREEK PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. Costis Stephanopoulos, on an official visit to Romania on 2-3 November, addressed the Romanian parliament and met with President Ion Iliescu, Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu, and other officials, Romanian media reported. The two sides signed an agreement on cultural cooperation. Stephanopoulos, in a private capacity, also visited Iasi, where he met with members of Romania's Greek minority. -- Michael Shafir CHINESE OFFICIAL ENDS ROMANIAN VISIT. Hu Jintao, a member of the Political Office of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, on 3 November ended an official visit to Romania, Rompres reported on the same day. Vasile Vacaru, deputy chairman of the major coalition party, the Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR), said his formation has accepted an invitation to participate in the CCP conference in Bejing in November. The PDSR and the CCP are to "consolidate" their political cooperation. Hu also met with Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu and other Romanian officials. -- Michael Shafir ROMANIA TAKES PART IN NATO EXERCISES. Romania is participating in the Partnership for Peace naval maneuvers that began in the Aegean Sea on 3 November and will continue until 10 November. Three NATO countries (Greece, Italy, and the U.S.) are taking part, AFP reported. -- Michael Shafir MOLDOVAN-UKRAINIAN MILITARY COOPERATION. Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Bizhan on 2 November ended a visit to Moldova, BASA-press reported the next day. A Moldovan Defense Ministry official said the two sides concluded a protocol on cooperation in logistics and drafted a cooperation plan for 1996, which is to be signed during Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov's visiti to Moldova later this month. The plan coordinates transit operations on the territories of the two states and provides for Moldovan officers to train at Ukrainian military institutions. -- Michael Shafir PROTEST DEMONSTRATION IN CHISINAU. About 3,000 people demonstrated in Chisinau on 4 November, demanding payment of wage and pension arrears, Interfax and BASA-press reported. Some people have not received payments for six months. The demonstration was organized by the Moldovan Independent Trade Union Federation. The protesters also called for increased government measures to tackle unemployment and for incomes and bank deposits to be indexed. -- Michael Shafir ECONOMIC DECLINE IN MOLDOVA. According to data cited by BASA-press on 3 November, Moldova's GDP from January-September 1995 was about 5 billion lei ($1.1 billion), representing a decrease of 8.7% over the same period in 1994. The government's Department of Statistics said GDP dropped by 19.4% in the first quarter of 1995, 9.6% in the second quarter, and 1,4% in the third. Industrial output was 88% of the 1994 level, while agricultural output registered an 8% drop. Exports dropped by 26% and imports by 12 %. The deficit in the trade balance rose to 114 million lei ($25 million). -- Michael Shafir BULGARIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE. Runoffs for mayoral candidates were held in some municipalities on 5 November, 24 chasa reported the following day. In the central Bulgarian town of Stara Zagora, the candidate of the united opposition, Tsanko Yablanski, won 55.6% of the vote. In most other towns, a second round will be held on 12 November. Meanwhile, the director of Plovdiv prison punished inmates awaiting trial by not allowing them to watch a soccer match on TV because those entitled to vote had unanimously cast their ballots for the opposition Union of Democratic Forces. -- Stefan Krause in Sofia RAMIZ ALIA FACES NEW TRIAL. Former Albanian President Ramiz Alia and Prime Minister Hekuran Isai have been accused of bearing responsibility for the killing after 1990 of a number of Albanians at the country's borders. Fourteen families from Kolonja and Delvina have brought charges against the two communist-era leaders, arguing that since they held the highest positions in the country, they were responsible for the killing of their relatives, who had tried to leave the country, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 4 November. After 1990, the penal code no longer specified leaving the country as "high treason." -- Fabian Schmidt ATHENS DEMANDS OPENING OF GREEK SCHOOLS IN ALBANIA. Gazeta Shqiptare on 4 November reported on Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos's "unexpected" demand that Albania open schools for the Greek minority. Stephanopoulos, in an interview with the Greek daily Ta Nea, said he would refuse to visit Albania until his demand has been met. Meanwhile, Republika on 5 November reported on the "massive return of [Albanian] immigrants from Greece." The paper claims that Greek police continue to discriminate against Albanian immigrants, noting that about 15 have been maltreated by law enforcement officials. -- Fabian Schmidt [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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