The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate it. - Franklin P. Jones
OMRI Daily Digest 4 June 1996

Vol. 2, No. 108, Part II, 4 June 1996

NATO EXERCISES IN UKRAINE. Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry attended NATO exercises in Ukraine on 3 June, international agencies reported. The exercises, called Peace Shield '96, are organized within the framework of the Partnership for Peace Program. They are being held at the Yavorsky testing range in Western Ukraine and will bring together for 10 days 1,300 troops from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia. Perry said NATO no longer threatens any former Warsaw Pact country and enhances European stability. Grachev commented that such exercises help familiarize relations between Partnership for Peace countries, but he was more reserved when asked about NATO expansion and Russia's attitude toward Ukraine's inclusion in the organization. -- Ustina Markus

ESTONIAN SECURITY POLICE ARREST NATIONALIST LEADER. The police on 31 May arrested Tiit Madisson, the head of the Central Union of Nationalists, and accused him of plotting to overthrow the government, BNS reported three days later. Madisson was detained after issuing a leaflet claiming that an underground armed group, called the Liberation Army, was planning to overthrow the government and establish a nationalist military dictatorship. The leaflet accused government officials of being corrupt and some police officials of having ties with drug traffickers. A security police press spokesman expressed doubt about the existence of the Liberation Army and did not deny that Madisson might be subjected to a psychiatric examination. Madisson, 45 years old, was sentenced in 1980 to four years imprisonment and two years exile for anti-Soviet activities. He was a member of the Congress of Estonia and a board member of the Estonian National Independence Party. -- Saulius Girnius

WALESA, CLINTON DISCUSS NATO EXPANSION. Former Polish President Lech Walesa met with U.S. President Bill Clinton on 3 June at the White House to discuss Poland's progress toward political integration with Western European institutions, Polish and international media reported the next day. Walesa and Clinton expressed satisfaction that NATO enlargement remains on track. However, Walesa declined to comment on allegations that Clinton's administration is slowing down NATO enlargement, Rzeczpospolita reported on 4 June. The newspaper quotes Democratic U.S. senators as saying that the decision on new NATO members should not be made until after the Russian elections. Meanwhile, a bill on speeding up NATO expansion is to be presented to the U.S. Congress on 4 June. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CONSTRUCTION RESUMES AT AUSCHWITZ SHOPPING MALL. Construction of a supermarket opposite the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz was resumed on 3 June, international media reported the next day. Work there was stopped on 2 April after a wave of protests. Janusz Marszalek, the project's main investor, said that the notice period for the local authorities to decide on the fate of the site expired, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 4 June. AFP reported that 68% of Poles oppose the scheme and 61% believe local authorities should take into account "the historic and symbolic significance" of the area when ruling on this project. Between 1940 and 1943, more than 1 million people, mainly Jews, were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz's main camp. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

CZECH PRESIDENT STARTS TALKS ON FORMING GOVERNMENT. Vaclav Havel on 3 June met with the leaders of the three right-of-center coalition parties and the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) in an effort to form a new government following the parliamentary elections, Czech media reported. The elections resulted in a stalemate after the coalition parties fell just two seats short of a parliamentary majority (see the OMRI Daily Digest, 3 June 1996). Havel said he thinks the current right-of-center coalition should form a minority government and he will appoint to the prime minister's post the politician who will generate enough "consensus." The CSSD has indicated that it will not accept the current Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus in that post and will attach a number of other conditions to supporting a minority right-of-center government. Both the CSSD and Klaus's Civic Democratic Party have ruled out a grand-coalition. Some Czech politicians have suggested that early elections will have to be held. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK NATIONAL PARTY CASTS DOUBTS ON COALITION. Leaders of the Slovak National Party (SNS) at a weekend meeting sharply criticized the working of the government coalition, of which the SNS is a junior partner, Slovak media reported on 4 June. SNS leader Jan Slota said his party wanted a halt to the privatization of banks and called for a special session of the Slovak National Council to discuss imposing parliamentary control over the privatization process and the secret service --proposals long put forward by the opposition but hitherto opposed by the SNS. Slota hinted that the SNS will cooperate more with the opposition; in an interview with Sme, he said the dominant Movement of a Democratic Slovakia of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar "should learn to negotiate seriously with its coalition partners." -- Steve Kettle

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES MEMORIAL BILL. The parliament on 3 June began a heated debate on a bill proposing an official commemoration in honor of former Prime Minister Imre Nagy, Hungarian dailies reported. Nagy held office during the 1956 Revolution and was executed in 1958 for his leading role in the uprising. The bill was put forward by a junior coalition partner the Liberal Democrats (SZDSZ) deputy and a number of Socialists. However, the SZDSZ is opposed to the bill, saying it is not the legislature's task to make historical judgments and that the bill recalls a 1953 law memorializing Joseph Stalin. The party believes a more fitting gesture would be to clarify Nagy's historical role by making a film about his trial. SZDSZ leader Ivan Peto said, "The legislature cannot be the historical judge of the state." While all opposition parties oppose the bill as well, the Socialists continue to push for its approval. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

COALITION PARTIES DIVIDED OVER "CONFLICT OF INTEREST" LAW. A conflict of interest bill continues to divide Hungary's coalition partners, Hungarian dailies reported on 4 June. The SZDSZ insists that strict conflict of interest rules be set out for deputies at the earliest possible date, while the Socialists appear set to postpone consideration of the law until after the 1998 elections. The debated bill would limit the jobs that deputies could hold outside their legislative duties or require stricter reporting by deputies of their outside incomes. Currently, many deputies hold positions on the boards of state companies. The SZDSZ plans to propose its own bill on the matter if no agreement is reached with the Socialists. Prime Minister Gyula Horn has recently expressed doubt that any of the three top-priority items of legislation--the conflict of interest law, the election law, and the new constitution--can be passed before the elections. -- Zsofia Szilagyi


SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

A NEW ROLE FOR IFOR? NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said that the alliance's troops in Bosnia are going to spread out across the republic: "It's going to be difficult for the war criminals because we're going to deploy troops over the whole territory to ensure freedom of movement except for war criminals," AFP quoted him as saying on 3 June. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher stated that the move will put war criminals "at greater risk of apprehension," but a State Department spokesman added that this does not mean that IFOR will organize "posses" to hunt them down, German media added. Nasa Borba noted on 4 June that IFOR can now move into Pale. Critics have charged that IFOR is letting war criminals like Bosnian Serb leaders Gen. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic pass through its checkpoints. They add that IFOR does nothing to ensure freedom of movement, which is a key provision of the Dayton treaty, and that its only interest is not causing political problems for Western governments back home. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN DELEGATION WILL VISIT BELGRADE. A Bosnian government delegation will visit the capital of rump Yugoslavia for the first time since the war started in Bosnia to discuss restoring communications and economic ties, Oslobodjenje reported on 4 June. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic announced on 3 June that at the preceding Geneva summit, he and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to the visit that will take place next week. Normalization of railway and air traffic, postal, telegraph and telephone services, and other kinds of economic cooperation will be discussed. In another development, commenting on the Geneva summit decision to hold September elections in Bosnia, Izetbegovic said that the proper conditions for elections do not yet exist and possibly will not be achieved by the date slated for the elections, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

COUNCIL OF EUROPE TO SET FIVE CONDITIONS FOR CROATIAN MEMBERSHIP. Ambassadors of the Council of Europe on 4 June will approve a letter to the Croatian government setting the terms for Croatia's membership, Reuters reported on 3 June. The document calls on Croatia to take concrete steps toward cooperation with the International Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia, support of free elections in Bosnia and particularly in the city of Mostar, return of Serb refugees to Croatia, dropping prosecutions against the independent media, and the resolution of the Zagreb mayor crisis. Meanwhile, only 19.1% of the electorate participated in the advisory referendum organized by the government on whether the city of Zagreb should remain part of Zagreb County, Hina reported on 3 June. However, 51.34% of the votes were in favor of the City of Zagreb remaining part of Zagreb County. -- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAVIA'S CABINET "RESTRUCTURED." Tomica Raicevic, currently minister without portfolio, is slated to become the new federal minister of finance, Nasa Borba reported on 4 June. The daily also reported that after several delays owing partly to disagreements over who will hold key ministries, a cabinet shuffle and "restructuring" has been effected that includes a change of the federal ministers of agriculture, economics, and justice. Nasa Borba also reported that the post of national bank governor, left open after a the federal legislature voted to oust Dragoslav Avramovic on 15 May, is likely to be left "vacant until autumn," with the governor's deputy assuming the duties of that office in the interim. In other news, federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic on 3 June accepted the accreditation of the recently appointed ambassadors from Germany and Italy. -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN PRESIDENT'S PRESENCE MADE KNOWN AT CONGRESS OF BOSNIAN SERB SOCIALISTS. On 31 May the first congress of the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS) opened in Banja Luka, highlighted by the public reading of a message from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In the message, Milosevic wished the SPRS success in upcoming elections by calling for "a unity of all progressive leftist and democratic forces [in the RS]," Radio Serbia reported on 1 June. By calling on the SPRS to "oppose...violence, hate, and all forms of national and religious intolerance," Milosevic indirectly referred to his preference to have Radovan Karadzic and his supporters removed from power through the electoral process. Milosevic's unabashed support for the SPRS came the same day Belgrade's NIN published an interview with SPRS head Dragutin Ilic in which Ilic maintained his party's independence from Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia. -- Stan Markotich

ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE. Romanian media on 4 June continued to comment on the outcome of the 2 June local elections whose final returns are expected to be released on 6 June. In Bucharest, the candidate of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, former tennis star Ilie Nastase, lost to Victor Ciorbea from the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). But a run-off seems unavoidable since Ciorbea reportedly failed to pass the 50% threshold required by law. CDR candidates appear to have won the race for the mayoral offices in all six Bucharest districts. Cluj's controversial mayor Gheorghe Funar from the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity qualified for another four-year term. Most analysts predict the elections will have to be repeated on 16 June due to the low turnout. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN PREMIER ABOUT TO FALL? Kontinent on 4 June reported that Videnov might be replaced as prime minister by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in July. According to unnamed sources within the BSP headquarters, members of the BSP leadership plan to give Videnov a grace period until the latest agreement with the IMF is signed in late June. Former BSP Chairman Aleksandar Lilov and former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov reportedly agreed to replace Videnov with Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski. However, Pirinski is also named as the most likely BSP presidential candidate. Standart reported that BSP leaders urged Videnov to at least replace some ministers. Meanwhile, Demokratsiya reported that the Political Club "Ekoglasnost" will leave the coalition with the BSP if the ministers in charge of the economy are not replaced. Such a move would leave the Left without an absolute majority in the parliament. -- Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN OPPOSITION UPDATE. According to the final results of the opposition's primary election of a common presidential candidate, Petar Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic Forces received 65.74% of the vote and incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev 34.26%, Demokratsiya reported on 4 June. Some 849,796 valid votes were cast. The opposition's Political Council is expected to make an official statement on 4 June. On the same day the opposition will officially initiate proceedings for its third no-confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov because of "the collapse of [its] economic policy." The vote is expected to be supported by all opposition parties including the Bulgarian Business Bloc, which in the first two votes supported the government, Standart noted. Meanwhile, the big trade unions announced that they will intensify and coordinate their protest against the government's recent austerity measures and synchronize it with the opposition parties' actions. -- Stefan Krause

ALBANIAN OPPOSITION WANTS ELECTIONS REHELD... The Albanian opposition on 3 June demanded that the parliamentary elections be repeated in at least 80 of the 115 constituencies, Reuters reported. Social Democratic Party Chairman Skender Gjinushi said the opposition believes "the situation was catastrophic" in 80-90 constituencies. The Socialist Party (PS) asked for international assistance to investigate the alleged irregularities in the first round of voting on 26 May. An opposition delegation departed for Brussels for talks with EU officials. The EU, the U.S., and the OSCE had recommended a partial reholding of the elections but had given no specific recommendation. The Central Electoral Commission agreed to do over elections in four constituencies. Meanwhile, the opposition on 4 June canceled a demonstration planned for the same day after police banned all demonstrations from Tirana's Skanderbeg Square. The PS called on its supporters to come to the party headquarters and protest from within the building. -- Stefan Krause

. . . WHILE DEMOCRATS WIN SECOND ROUND. Meanwhile, the Central Electoral Commission on 3 June announced that the Democratic Party won six seats in the second round of the parliamentary elections, the Republican Party won three, and the Balli Kombetar one. This gives the Democrats 101 seats out of 125 direct seats. Democratic Party officials said they expect to have won 15-20 of the 25 seats allotted on a proportional system. Turnout in the second round was 59% officially, but reports hint at a lower figure. Socialist Party official Pandeli Majko said it did not exceed 30%. The second round was boycotted by the opposition. -- Stefan Krause

Compiled by Victor Gomez and Ustina Markus
News and information as of 1200 CET


Copyright (c) 1996, Open Media Research Institute. All rights reserved.
ISSN 1211-1570

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