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OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 107, Part II, 3 June 1996

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

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

LAST NUCLEAR WARHEADS REMOVED FROM UKRAINE. Ukraine became a nuclear-
free state on 1 June, when the last of some 1,600 strategic warheads
located on its territory were removed to Russia, international agencies
reported. When the Soviet Union broke apart, Ukraine inherited 130 SS-19
missiles and 46 SS-24 missiles, as well as 2,500 tactical nuclear
weapons. The tactical weapons were all removed in 1992. After prolonged
negotiations over disarmament aid and security guarantees, Ukraine
signed a trilateral agreement with Russia and the U.S. in January 1994,
which promised $1 billion in compensation to Ukraine, mostly in the form
of fuel rods for Ukraine's five nuclear power stations. U.S. President
Bill Clinton praised Ukraine for its "remarkable achievement," and
Russian President Boris Yeltsin said he welcomed Ukraine's nuclear-free
status. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma stressed Ukraine's commitment
not to deploy, produce or receive nuclear weapons, and said he hoped aid
to Ukraine would continue after all the provisions of the trilateral
agreement were fulfilled. -- Ustina Markus

CFE FLANK-ZONE CHANGES BENEFIT UKRAINE. The Vienna review conference for
the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, which ended on 1 June,
agreed to shift Ukraine's Odesa oblast out of the treaty's "flanks"
zone, Western media reported. Like Russia, Ukraine had complained that
the limits placed on arms that could be stationed in this zone were
unreasonable. Under the original treaty terms Ukraine could have no more
than 10% of its arms in an area making up 23% of its territory. This
restricted area is now appreciably smaller, consisting of 4 oblasts
rather than 5. -- Doug Clarke

MORE ON 30 MAY DEMONSTRATION IN MINSK. The Belarusian Ministry of
Interior announced that 84 people were arrested during the 30 May
demonstrations, international agencies reported the following day.
Trials began on 31 May with judges going from one prison cell to the
next and issuing sentences up to 15 days. Eight people including two
policemen were wounded when security forces broke up the demonstration.
NTV reported that the parliament set up a special commission to look
into the methods of the security forces in breaking up the
demonstration. The special forces reportedly used gas and truncheons to
break up the rally. Reuters reported former speaker Mechyslau Hryb
warning that such arrests and police beatings were setting a dangerous
precedent, while presidential official Yuryi Kulakausky blamed
demonstrators for "running amok." -- Ustina Markus

LATVIA'S WAY SUPPORTS ULMANIS FOR PRESIDENT. Latvia's Way (LC) Chairman
Valdis Birkavs announced on 31 May that his party would vote for
incumbent President Guntis Ulmanis in the Saeima on 18 June, BNS
reported. Prime Minister Andris Skele also came out in support of
Ulmanis noting that he was able to act "constructively and determinately
in the complicated political situation. " LC deputy Janis Adamsons,
however, said that he would vote for the Democratic Party Saimnieks
candidate, Ilga Kreituse. LC leaders said that Adamsons would have to
leave the party if he did not vote for Ulmanis, but since the voting
will be secret they will not be able to check how Adamsons voted.
Latvia's Farmers' Union, Latvia's Christian Democratic Union, and
Latvia's National Independence Party have announced their support for
Ulmanis, as have several deputies from the Popular Concord Party and two
independent deputies. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT, PARTIES MEET OVER PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS. Algirdas
Brazauskas held talks on 31 May with leaders of the parties represented
in the parliament, BNS reported. The president rejected the proposal by
opposition parties to hold parliamentary elections three weeks earlier
than the announced date of 20 October. However, Brazauskas agreed that
the second Sunday of March would be a better date for future elections,
and said the Constitution would have to be amended to make this change.
This would result in the next parliament serving six months longer, or
until March 2001. The meeting also concurred that voters be asked to
choose concrete names on party lists, which would help determine which
candidates would be elected. It was agreed that the necessary barrier
for all parties to gain parliament seats would be 4%, abolishing the
previous exception that set a lower barrier of only 2% for parties
representing national minorities. -- Saulius Girnius

PROSECUTOR'S OFFICE APPROVES DECISION TO DROP OLEKSY CASE. Colonel
Wlodzimierz Pospiech, spokesman for the Supreme Military Prosecutor's
Office, said on 31 May that the decision to drop the investigation into
spying allegations against former Prime Minister Jozef Oleksy and
definitively close the case was justified, Polish and international
media reported on 1 June. The office had reviewed the 22 April decision
to discontinue the investigation into allegations that the former prime
minister had spied for Moscow, and concluded that an analysis of the
evidence justified the decision to discontinue the investigation. --
Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH ELECTIONS END IN STALEMATE. Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party
(ODS) won the Czech parliamentary elections held on 31 May-1 June, with
29.6% of the popular vote, followed by the Social Democrats (CSSD) with
26.4%, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) with 10.3%, the
Christian Democratic Union (KDU) with 8%, the Republican Party (SRP)
with 8%, and the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) with 6.3%. Although the
Central Electoral Commission will announce the final seat allocation on
3 June, projections show that the right-of-center coalition of the ODS,
the ODA, and the KDU, that has ruled in the past four years has gained
only 99 seats, 2 less than a simple majority in the 200-seat parliament.
President Vaclav Havel will meet with the leaders of the three coalition
parties and the CSSD on 23 June to discuss possible ways of forming a
government, Czech media report. The real winner of the elections is the
CSSD, as it will determine the fate of any minority government that the
three right-of-center parties could form. A CSSD leader has been quoted
by CTK as saying his party may support a minority government but not
with Vaclav Klaus as prime minister. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS PROTEST AT STATE TV BUILDING. A group of
human rights activists, representing the newly formed Action Initiative
to Preserve Freedom, on 31 May attempted to enter the Slovak Television
(STV) building in Bratislava to demand more objective news coverage,
international press reported. The activists tried to deliver a critical
memorandum to STV director Jozef Darmo, but STV guards prevented them
from entering the building. STV spokesman Eduard Ivancik called the
protesters' choice of action "extremist". The undelivered memorandum
urges STV's leadership to serve not just the ruling party, but all
citizens, whose funds help keep the station afloat. The initiative,
comprised of some 20 non-governmental organizations, was formed earlier
this year to fight proposed amendments to the penal code that would curb
such democratic rights as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

HIGH LEVEL MEETING ON BOSNIA OPENS IN GENEVA. The presidents of Serbia,
Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina began meetings on 2 June with U.S.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the international community's
High Representative Carl Bildt, and top officials of the Contact Group
countries. This is the latest in a series of summits designed to prop up
the Dayton agreement, but which to date have largely led only to a
repetition of unkept promises. High on the Americans' agenda is the
political future of Bosnian Serb leader and indicted war criminal
Radovan Karadzic. The BBC suggested that the U.S. delegation nonetheless
accepted the view of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic that Belgrade
is unable to force Karadzic to resign -- let alone deliver him to the
war crimes tribunal in The Hague -- and that the best one could hope for
would be to "neutralize" him politically, Nasa Borba added on 3 June. --
Patrick Moore

HOW CERTAIN ARE THE BOSNIAN ELECTIONS? Christopher seems anxious to
secure Milosevic's cooperation in meeting a key U.S. objective, namely
the holding of elections by mid-September as specified in the Dayton
agreement, the BBC noted on 3 June. To that end Washington is apparently
willing to believe that the Serbian leader is unable to control the
Bosnian Serbs, on whose behalf he signed the treaty. That document also
specifies that indicted war criminals have no political future in Bosnia
and must be sent to The Hague. A European diplomat noted that the
Bosnian elections will go ahead nonetheless because the Clinton
administration is determined to have them over before Americans vote in
November. Nasa Borba, however, quoted Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic as saying that there cannot be fair elections unless
Karadzic is in The Hague. Bosnia's UN ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey said
that the international community and the U.S. in particular are
pressuring his government to hold elections "at any price." -- Patrick
Moore

TOPIC SAYS MOSTAR WILL REMAIN DIVIDED CITY. Jadranko Topic, the
president of Mostar branch of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ),
the strongest Croat party both in Croatia and Bosnia, said the elections
will firmly demonstrate the existence of the three Croat and three
Muslim municipalities in Mostar, Oslobodjenje reported on 3 June.
According to Topic, a forthcoming elections are just an opportunity for
people to have fun, while verifying "the struggle of the Croat people in
these areas...Eventually, the Bosnian Federation will have to be
organized like Mostar, ...it will have to comprise Croat and Muslim
municipalities, cantons and regions," Onasa on 31 May quoted him as
saying. Meanwhile, EU administrator for Mostar Ricardo Peres Casado
announced an election amendment establishing voting polls in a number of
European countries, pending their approval. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CHANGES CERTAIN IN RUMP YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT. The federal rump Yugoslav
government, headed by Premier Radoje Kontic, is slated to undergo "a
reconstruction", Nasa Borba reported on 31 May. According to the daily,
one new ministry is likely to be created, and up to four new ministers
will be named. The only news that was certain is that Minister without
Portfolio Vuk Ognjanovic is leaving the cabinet. The news of this latest
restructuring came only two days after the Serbian government announced
its own restructuring, which saw adherents and sympathizers of Serbian
President Milosevic's wife's party, the United Yugoslav Left, promoted
into that republic's cabinet -- Stan Markotich

SLOVENIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER AND THE ITALIAN QUESTION. Zoran Thaler,
Slovenia's foreign minister, announced on 1 June that Slovenia is likely
to sign an association agreement with the EU in Luxembourg on 10 or 11
June, international media reported that same day. Thaler hinted that
Italy's objections, centering around disputes over ethnic Italians who
fled what is now Slovenia after the Second World War and their property
rights, had been overcome, paving the way for the signing. Thaler's
high-profile announcement has also renewed speculation that he may
attempt to hold on to the foreign ministry post at least until new
elections are held. Thaler lost a no confidence vote on 16 May, which
prompted the announcement of his resignation. -- Stan Markotich

MACEDONIA NAMES AMBASSADOR TO BELGRADE. Macedonia appointed its
ambassador to rump Yugoslavia, international media reported on 2 June.
Slavko Milosavlevski is the first ambassador of a former Yugoslav
republic to Belgrade. His appointment follows the mutual recognition of
Belgrade and Skopje on 8 April. In other news, Bulgarian Prime Minister
Zhan Videnov on 31 May accused Macedonia of not being "flexible enough"
to solve the language dispute between the two countries, Reuters
reported. Videnov said Sofia had suggested many compromises but Skopje
did not accept them. Bulgaria was the first country to recognize
independent Macedonia, but has so far not recognized the existence of a
separate Macedonian nation or language. The issue has delayed the
signing of intergovernmental agreements in recent years. It is also
believed to have been the reason for Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski
last-minute cancellation on 22 April of a visit to Macedonia. -- Stefan
Krause

LOCAL ELECTIONS IN ROMANIA. Romania held local elections on 2 June,
Radio Bucharest reported. Some 16 million were eligible to vote in
nearly 3,000 constituencies to elect mayors, as well as members of local
and county councils. Most of the attention was focused on the race for
mayor in Bucharest, with former tennis star Ilie Nastase running for the
ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania. According to preliminary
reports, the turnout appears to have been extremely low nationwide.
Radio Bucharest quoted Emil Constantinescu, the leader of the opposition
Democratic Convention of Romania, as speaking of a "record of
absenteeism" that would force a repeat of the polls in many places. The
law provides for a new round of voting within two weeks in
constituencies where the turnout was under 50%. Final returns are not
expected before 5 June. -- Dan Ionescu

FORMER MOLDOVAN COMMUNIST LEADER IN TIRASPOL. Ivan Bodiul, former first
secretary of the Communist Party of the Moldovan Soviet Socialist
Republic, met in Tiraspol with Igor Smirnov, the president of the self-
proclaimed "Dniester republic," BASA-press reported on 31 May. The two
exchanged views about the Dniester conflict and its possible settlement.
Observers of the local scene believe that Bodiul might be asked by some
political circles to broker the ongoing negotiations between Chisinau
and Tiraspol. The 78-year-old Bodiul, who was Moldova's party boss in
the 1960s, currently lives in Moscow. He is reportedly on a private,
fact-finding visit in the Republic of Moldova and its breakaway Dniester
region. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PRESIDENT DEFEATED IN PRIMARIES. Zhelyu Zhelev on 1 June was
clearly defeated by Union of Democratic Forces Deputy Chairman Petar
Stoyanov in primaries aimed at determining a joint presidential
candidate of the anti-Socialist opposition, Bulgarian media reported.
According to preliminary results, Zhelev received around 35% against
Stoyanov's 65%. The turnout was around 12%; all Bulgarians over 18 years
were eligible to vote. According to unofficial results from regional
electoral commissions, Stoyanov won in most regions, with the notable
exception of those with an ethnic Turkish majority, where Zhelev got 74-
84% of the vote. The final results are expected to be announced on 3
June. -- Stefan Krause

PROTESTS AGAINST BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT CONTINUE. Protests against the
latest government-imposed price hikes and austerity measures continued
on 31 May, when some 20,000 people demonstrated in Sofia under the motto
"Let's Save Bulgaria," Reuters reported. At the meeting, Sofia Mayor
Stefan Sofiyanski called for early parliamentary elections. Sofia taxi
drivers and public transport workers announced that they will strike on
3 June. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Zhan Videnov on 1 June told state TV
that there will be changes in the government, but not under the pressure
of an ultimatum. Socialist legislators have repeatedly demanded the
replacement of several key ministers they accuse of incompetence.
Videnov said those matters will be discussed at the next meeting of the
Bulgarian Socialist Party's (BSP) Executive Bureau on 8 June. The BSP
candidates for president and vice president will be picked at the same
meeting, Videnov said. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES DECLARE HUNGER STRIKE. Members of the
Socialist Party, the Social Democrats, and the Democratic Alliance began
a hunger strike on 31 May to protest alleged manipulations and
irregularities during the parliamentary elections on 26 May.
Parliamentary candidates from all over Albania participate in the
protest which the parties are holding in their respective headquarters
in Tirana. The Socialists declared an indefinite hunger strike,
demanding new elections, while the other two parties told OMRI they
would do it for three days. The three opposition parties together with
the Agrarian Party, the Party of the Democratic Right, and the Party for
National Unity, meanwhile, have called for a protest rally in Tirana on
4 June. The demonstration will be held in the Ali Demi stadium outside
the city center, since another demonstration on central Skanderbeg
square was violently broken up by police the previous week. -- Fabian
Schmidt

LOW VOTER TURNOUT IN ALBANIAN RUN-OFF ELECTIONS. Following the
withdrawal of opposition parties from the electoral commission and a
call to boycott the second round of the poll, the voter turnout on 2
June was very low. No official results have yet been published, but
international agency reports suggest that far less than 50% of the
voters may have participated in the ballot. Run off elections took place
in ten electoral districts and no irregularities were reported.
Candidates from the ruling Democratic Party are likely to win in all
districts due to the opposition boycott. Meanwhile, the U.S. State
Department on 1 June urged Albania to repeat the elections in some
areas. It is unclear if the opposition would participate in such a
partial rerun, but Gazeta Shqiptare speculated that they might agree to
a repeat of the ballot in some 40 out of 150 districts. -- Fabian
Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Ustina Markus

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