To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else. - Emily Dickinson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 40, Part II, 26 February 1996

New OMRI Analytical Briefs:
-  "Turkish Government Coalition Talks Fail Again", by Lowell Bezanis
-  "Primakov in Central Asia:  A View from the South", by Roger Kangas

Available only via the World Wide Web:
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Analytical/Index.html

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/Index.html

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^TODAY'S TOP STORY^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
FIVE DIE IN TIRANA SUPERMARKET EXPLOSION. A car bomb exploded outside a
supermarket in central Tirana on 26 February, killing at least five
people and wounding several dozens, international media reported. Two
nearby kiosks were destroyed and the windows of surrounding houses were
shattered. The supermarket, which opened just over a week ago, was one
of two in Tirana run by the company Vesa Holding. President Sali
Berisha, who visited the site of the explosion with several cabinet
ministers, blamed former communist secret service agents for the blast.
It has been suggested that the explosion may be related to growing
concern among owners of small shops that they will be put out of
business by larger stores. -- Fabian Schmidt
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

UKRAINIAN CENTRISTS FORM POPULAR-DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Three centrist
political groups, meeting in Kiev on 24 February, agreed to merge into a
single political party, the Popular-Democratic Party of Ukraine, Radio
Ukraine and UNIAN reported. The new party--composed of the Party of
Democratic Rebirth of Ukraine, the Labor Congress of Ukraine, and the
New Ukraine alliance--is the first serious consolidation of political
forces in Ukraine's fragmented party system. Deputy Anatolii Matvienko
was elected party chairman, and delegates adopted a program backing
President Leonid Kuchma's political and economic reforms. Meanwhile, two
other centrist parties, the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Party and the
Ukrainian Solidarity and Justice Party, announced plans to form an
alliance. They intend to campaign jointly in future elections and to
publish a joint newspaper. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

KUCHMA ON COMPENSATION FOR TACTICAL NUKES. Ukrainian President Leonid
Kuchma has said the issue of compensation for tactical nuclear weapons
removed from the country's territory must be addressed, Radio Rossii
reported on 23 February. The weapons were removed to Russia in 1992.
Ukraine now wants Moscow to compensate it for the plutonium and other
valuable materials contained in those weapons. Kuchma said he raised the
issue with Russian President Boris Yeltsin during their meeting in
January. Experts say the value of the materials in the tactical weapons
amounts to $500-700 million. -- Ustina Markus

EXTRAORDINARY CONGRESS OF LATVIA'S POPULAR FRONT. Latvia's Popular
Front, at an extraordinary congress on 24 February, decided to re-
register as a public organization and create a new political party,
Latvian media reported. The new party will be called the Christian
People's Party. The 153 delegates at the congress approved a draft
declaration that mentions justice, honesty, freedom, responsibility,
solidarity, and democracy as the fundamental principles of the new
party. Deputy chairman Uldis Augstkalns said the party will remain
center oriented and may form an alliance with the Christian Democratic
Union. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT APPROVES NEW GOVERNMENT. Algirdas Brazauskas on 23
February approved Prime Minister Mindaugas Stankevicius's new
government, Radio Lithuania reported. The cabinet has five new
ministers: Vaidotas Abraitis (communications and information sciences),
Aldona Bara-nauskiene (construction and urban planning), Algimantas
Krizinauskas (finance), Virgilijus Bulovas (interior), and Petras
Popovas (government reforms and local rule). The first three previously
served as deputy ministers and the last two as Seimas deputies.
Stankevicius did not name new economics and energy ministers but is
expected to do so before 6 March, when he is to present his government
program to the Seimas for approval. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH POLITICAL UPDATE. The 42-year-old historian Marian Pilka replaced
Ryszard Czarnecki as leader of the Christian-National Alliance (ZChN) at
the party's congress on 24-25 February, Polish media reported. Czarnecki
resigned after the ZChN switched its support from National Bank
President Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz to former President Lech Walesa in the
November 1995 presidential elections. The National Council of the Labor
Union decided not to change its leadership until the party's next
congress. The council criticized the party's strategy in last year's
presidential elections. Finally, the two Polish Socialist Parties merged
to a form a single party; 82-year-old Jan Mulak became the new party's
president. -- Jakub Karpinski

POLISH TAX PAYERS ANXIOUS ABOUT DONATIONS. Deputy Prime Minister
Grzegorz Kolodko's announcement on Polish TV on 23 February that
donations may be checked before tax exemptions are granted has triggered
concern among Polish tax payers, Gazeta Wyborcza reported the next day.
Kolodko said both donors and beneficiaries may be called to financial
offices to prove that a donation was made. Legal experts claim that
offices have no right to summon people before launching legal
proceedings. A tax payer can make donations for education, culture,
sport, and health and can deduct up to 15% of annual income from tax
payments. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON RETURNS HOME. Michal Kovac Jr. returned to
Slovakia on 23 February, six months after his abduction to Austria,
Slovak and international media reported. Kovac Jr. said he plans to
travel to Germany soon to "clear all charges" related to his alleged
involvement in the Technopol fraud case. Also on 23 February, Slovak
Information Service director Ivan Lexa announced his plans to sue
President Michal Kovac for statements made about the SIS during his
son's hearing at a Vienna court. An SIS statement maintained that
"Nobody...has the right to incriminate others without sanction, to
repeatedly and falsely accuse and disinform citizens." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK PRESIDENT VETOES INCOME TAX BILL. Michal Kovac on 23 February
returned the income tax bill to the parliament for further discussion,
saying it contravenes the constitution, TASR reported. The opposition
had complained that the bill would give special privileges to owners of
newly privatized firms. It also claimed the draft law was passed in an
unconstitutional way, with fewer than the mandatory 76 deputies present
for the vote. The law will now not take effect before 31 March, the
deadline for submitting 1995 tax returns. -- Sharon Fisher

MEDGYESSY TO REPLACE HUNGARY'S OUTGOING FINANCE MINISTER? Prime Minister
Gyula Horn plans to nominate former finance minister Peter Medgyessy to
replace outgoing Finance Minister Lajos Bokros, Nepszabadsag reported.
The 53-year-old Medgyessy is currently president and director-general of
the Hungarian Investment and Development Bank in Budapest. He served as
finance minister from December 1986 to December 1987 in Hungary's
communist government. Medgyessy has said he essentially agrees with
Bokros's pragmatic economic policy, including the implementation of
public finance reform and the transformation of the social welfare
system. But he has said he will allow for broader political compromise.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

HUNGARIAN PREMIER QUESTIONS BOKROS'S RIGHT TO SEVERANCE PAY. Horn on 23
February said he will not allow Bokros to collect 2 million forints in
severance pay until it is certain that the move does not violate the
law, Hungarian dailies reported on 26 February. The Prime Minister's
Office has turned to the Supreme Court for an official position on the
issue. The present law on the legal status and allowances of cabinet
ministers dates back to 1973 and includes legal categories that are out
of date. Horn's insistence on investigating Bokros's severance pay is
reportedly related to the controversial 16 million forints payment last
spring when Bokros left the Budapest Bank to become finance minister. --
Zsofia Szilagyi

ROMANI MUSEUM OPENS IN HUNGARY. An exhibition featuring crafts,
photographs, videos, and the works of Romani painters and authors has
opened in the new Romani museum in Pecs, Hungary's Romani news agency,
ORS, reported on 23 February. Two Romani museums already exist in
Tarnow, Poland, and Brno, the Czech Republic. The Hungarian Ministry of
Culture and Education has allotted 2 million forints to the museum. --
Alaina Lemon

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NATO ALLOWS SARAJEVO EVACUATION. NATO is allowing the Bosnian Serb army
to evacuate the remaining Serb-held areas of Sarajevo, international
media reported on 25 February. Kris Janowski, spokesman for the UN. High
Commissioner for Refugees, said Bosnian Serb leaders incited the local
population to flee, but he also criticized the Muslim-Croatian police
for "insensitivity" in handling the remaining Serb residents. IFOR
commander U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith faced an angry crowd of Bosnian
Serbs demanding transportation for evacuation when he toured Vogosca
with Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik on 24 February. -- Michael
Mihalka

CONTACTS RESUME WITH BOSNIAN SERBS. Senior IFOR commanders met with
their Bosnian Serb counterparts on 23 February, marking the end of the
Bosnian Serb boycott of all contacts with the international community,
international media reported. The Bosnian Serbs broke off contacts on 8
February in protest at the Bosnian government's detention of several
Bosnian Serb soldiers, two of whom were subsequently sent to The Hague.
British Lt.-Gen. Sir Michael Walker, commander of IFOR ground forces,
met on 24 February with deputy Bosnian Serb military commander Gen.
Zdarko Tolimir in Ilidza, one of the Serb-held suburbs of Sarajevo due
to be returned to Bosnian government control by 19 March. They discussed
the plans to evacuate Bosnian Serbs from those suburbs. -- Michael
Mihalka

BOSNIAN FACTIONS AGREE ON GROUND RULES FOR ELECTIONS. The Bosnian
factions on 23 February agreed to the ground rules for organizing
elections by September, Reuters and TANJUG reported. Robert Frowick,
OSCE mission head to Bosnia, who chairs the provisional election
commission, said everyone, including refugees, will be allowed to vote
at the place where they lived in 1991. Lists of voters, based on the
1991 census, are expected to be drawn up by 31 March. -- Michael Mihalka

MOSTAR'S EU ADMINISTRATOR TO QUIT. Hans Koschnick, told the German
weekly Bild am Sonntag he would step down from his post in July and
would not prolong his stay "under any circumstances," Reuters reported
on 24 February. He has recommended that the EU Ministerial Council
accept the Croatian and Muslim authorities' demand that the EU mandate
in the city be extended for another six months. But he stressed that
someone will have to replace him. Meanwhile, international agencies
report free movement in Mostar, although the total number of crossings
from the eastern to western part of the city is still small. A young man
on 23 February was hit on the head with a stone in the Croatian part of
Mostar, while vehicles with Bosnian-Croat license plates were stoned in
the Muslim-populated neighborhood two days later, Hina reported on 25
February. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SOROS FOUNDATION "BANNED" IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. The New York-based Soros
Foundation has been banned in the rump Yugoslavia, international media
reported on 24 February. A Serbian court ruled that the group is not
properly registered and therefore has no legal right to operate. Sonja
Licht, head of the foundation in Belgrade, said the organization will
try to re-register. The Foundation opened its Belgrade office in 1991
and supports a number of humanitarian and democratic projects, including
aiding independent media. In recent weeks the Belgrade regime has
renewed its attacks against the independent media, declaring the
independent broadcaster Studio B TV illegal in a bid to take over the
station. -- Stan Markotich

CROATIAN PRESIDENT TAKES AIM AT OPPONENTS... Franjo Tudjman addressed a
congress of the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) on 24-25
February. RFE/RL's South Slavic Service and news agencies noted that he
struck out at the labor unions, opposition, and independent media,
warning them that he would not allow anyone to turn "democracy into
anarchy." He said that the HDZ had "created Croatia" and would be needed
"for decades to come." Tudjman called the opposition "a coalition of
communists and fascists" that provoked strikes and social unrest. A
railroad strike is entering its fifth day, while Zagreb city and county
governments have been without top leadership for almost four months
because Tudjman refuses to recognize the opposition majority's choice
for mayor. The independent daily Novi list--one of the few mass-
circulation non-party periodicals--said his speech reflected "anger and
panic." -- Patrick Moore

...WHILE SUSAK BLASTS BOSNIAN ARMAMENTS PROGRAM. Also speaking at the
HDZ meeting, Defense Minister Gojko Susak attacked Sarajevo's current
military expansion program. He warned that "it will be the Croatian
army, if necessary," that will "protect Croatian strategic interests."
He added that at this moment, uncontrolled rearming of the Bosnian army
represents the gravest danger to the implementation of the Dayton peace
agreement and stability of the [Muslim-Croat] federation." The speech
comes at a time when the Bosnian Croat and Bosnian government commanders
are on their way to the U.S. to discuss a weapons-and-training program
and when Zagreb has been criticized for the conduct of the Croats in
Mostar. Before closing, the HDZ congress sent a letter to German
Chancellor Helmut Kohl protesting West German Radio's merging of its
Croatian program into one for all the former Yugoslavia. The congress
accused Bonn of trying to "create a Euro-Slavia." -- Patrick Moore

MACEDONIAN PARLIAMENT CHAIRMAN RESIGNS. Stojan Andov on 23 February
resigned as chairman of the Macedonian parliament, Reuters reported. His
decision followed the parliament's approval of the new government of
Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski, which excludes members of Andov's
Liberal Party. Andov chaired the parliament for five years. After the
attempt on President Kiro Gligorov's life in October 1995, he was acting
president. The Liberals said they are now in the opposition and will
support an initiative for early elections. -- Stefan Krause

SLOVENIA REOPENS TRADE WITH FORMER YUGOSLAVIA. Slovenian companies are
beginning to re-establish trade relations with rump Yugoslavia and
Bosnia, Reuters reported on 23 February. But an official from the
Slovenian Ministry of Economic Relations said restoring links with
Belgrade may be difficult, if not impossible. "I expect that an economic
agreement [with Belgrade] will have to wait until urgent political
issues are resolved," he said. Those issues include the division of
assets among the former Yugoslav republics. An agreement on trade ties
with Bosnia-Herzegovina is slated to be signed later this year. -- Stan
Markotich

U.S. AMBASSADOR'S STATEMENTS SPARK CONTROVERSY IN ROMANIA. Alfred Moses
has said that extremist parties such as the Party of Romanian National
Unity (PUNR), the Socialist Labor Party, and the Greater Romania Party
have no place in Romania's government if the country wants to join Euro-
Atlantic structures, Romanian media reported on 24-26 February. Meeting
with members of opposition parties in the Transylvanian city of Cluj,
Moses urged them to vote against Gheorghe Funar, the city's
controversial mayor and PUNR chairman, in the upcoming local elections.
The PUNR leadership reacted promptly, by accusing Moses of having
"overstepped his competence" and of "breaching diplomatic practice."
Adrian Nastase, executive chairman of the ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania, said that Moses would do better to comment on the
U.S. elections. -- Matyas Szabo

FORMER CEAUSESCU COURT POET TO RUN FOR PRESIDENCY. The Socialist Labor
Party (PSM), Romania's reborn communist party, has nominated its first
deputy chairman, Adrian Paunescu, as presidential candidate for the fall
1996 elections, Radio Bucharest reported on 25 February. A former poet
laureate under late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Paunescu
pledged to work toward establishing "democratic socialism" in Romania if
elected president. Until recently, the PSM was considered a member of
the ruling coalition. Its relations with the Party of Social Democracy
in Romania have deteriorated. -- Dan Ionescu

STRIKES IN ROMANIA. Some 100,000 railroad workers on 23 February took
part in a two-hour warning strike, Romanian media reported. The strikers
demanded that the minimum wage be raised from 126,000 lei ($45) to
280,000 lei ($99). The National Railroad Company management, which
offered a 20% wage hike in preliminary negotiations, said the strike was
"a deliberate act aimed at destabilizing national security." It also
asked the pro-secutor's office to investigate. Union leaders accused the
administration of trying to intimidate the strikers. Also on 23
February, 3,000 workers went on strike at two factories in the town of
Megidia to protest interruptions in electricity supply. Romania is
currently facing an acute energy crisis. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN ROUNDUP. President Zhelyu Zhelev in a TV address on 22
February called on Bulgarians to form local committees to push for the
return of land to its former owners, Reuters reported. Zhelev said land
restitution is still incomplete because of "narrow party interests and
the political prejudices of a few people" within the Bulgarian Socialist
Party. He added that only "pressure from below combined with the support
of democratic institutions and political forces" can help speed up the
process. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov on 23 February said the price of
electricity will go up by 20% at the end of April, RFE/RL's Bulgarian
service reported. Videnov was speaking at the inauguration of a new 440-
kW reactor at the Maritsa Iztok power plant. -- Stefan Krause


[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

The OMRI Daily Digest offers the latest news from the former Soviet
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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                             All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
 
         

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