Liberty of thought means liberty to communicate one's thought. - Salvador de Madariaga
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 116, Part II, 14 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

UKRAINIAN JUSTICE MINISTER DENIES HE RESIGNED. Justice Minister Serhii
Holovaty denied reports earlier in the week that said he had handed in
his resignation to President Leonid Kuchma, Ukrainian TV reported on 13
June. Holovaty did not specify who he believed spread the rumor in the
media, but said many political forces were skeptical of his efforts to
"turn Ukraine's Justice Ministry into one of European standards."
Earlier in the week, Holovaty attended the 20th conference of European
justice ministers in Budapest. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

LEFTIST GROUP APPEALS TO COUNCIL OF EUROPE ON UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTION.
The left-wing Civic Congress of Ukraine has appealed to the Council of
Europe to review parts of the draft Ukrainian Constitution and check
whether they correspond with international norms, Radio Ukraine reported
on 13 June. The group has asked the body to pay close attention to
articles on issues of Crimean autonomy, which they believe severely
limit the region's powers and contradict previous agreements between
Kyiv and Simferopol. The congress also believes Article 10 of the draft
on official languages should be amended to make Russian an official
language alongside Ukrainian. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT TAKES CREDIT FOR HOSTAGE RELEASE. President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka took personal control over a hostage rescue
operation when a gunman took 14 kindergarten children and their teacher
hostage in Minsk, Belarusian radio reported on 11 June. The children
escaped down a ladder through a second-floor window to safety, while
special Alpha and Almaz forces killed the gunman. Afterwards, Lukashenka
sent a telegram to the heads of the KGB, MVD, and President's Security
Service thanking everyone who took part in the operation and calling
upon them to step forward and receive awards. Recently, the security
services have been criticized for their rough handling of peaceful
protesters during a series of demonstrations in the spring. The
opposition has also voiced concerns that the security forces now number
over 120,000, which is more than the country's 80,000-strong armed
forces. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIAN PRESS SPECULATES ON BELARUS'S DELAY IN NUCLEAR WITHDRAWAL. The
withdrawal to Russia of two regiments armed with 18 SS-25 Topol missiles
has not proceeded on the schedule agreed to in December 1995 by the
Defense Ministries of Russia and Belarus, Izvestiya reported on 13 June.
All nuclear warheads should have been withdrawn by the end of May, but
Minsk still has not given the two regiments permission to cross into
Russia, nor has it answered any of Moscow's inquiries about the matter.
Several possibilities for the delay have been suggested. One is that
Lukashenka is using the missiles as a warning to NATO against expansion.
Another is that the missiles will be used to counterbalance missiles the
U.S. has decided not to withdraw from Europe. Yet a third is that
Belarus is awaiting the outcome of Russia's presidential election. The
article concluded that it is in Russia's interest to see the missiles
removed since their maintenance costs 10 billion Russian rubles monthly.
-- Ustina Markus

BALTS DISAPPOINTED AT NOT BEING INVITED TO BOSNIAN PEACE CONFERENCE. The
Lithuanian and Latvian Foreign Ministries have expressed disappointment
that they were not invited to the 13-14 June international conference in
Florence on peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, BNS
reported. Organizers said that only the 45 states and 15 international
organizations that had participated in a similar forum in London in
December 1995 were invited. Even though it had peacekeeping soldiers
serving in the area, Lithuania was allegedly not invited because of
"technical hindrances." A senior Lithuanian ministry official noted that
even though Lithuania's request to attend the conference was backed by a
majority of the countries, it was thwarted by practical considerations.
-- Saulius Girnius

LAW RESTRICTS LATVIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. The Seima on 13 June
passed a law that restricts who can run for president, BNS reported. The
law states that persons who are serving prison sentences, have been
staff employees of the Soviet or other foreign security services, or
have been members of the Communist Party or worked for other
organizations banned in Latvia since 13 January 1991 cannot be nominated
as or elected president. A presidential candidate also must be a citizen
of Latvia and have an excellent command of the Latvian language.
Although the law was apparently drafted to prevent the presidential
nomination of former Latvian Communist Party First Secretary Alfreds
Rubiks, it will not bar his nomination as a candidate in the election to
be held in the Saeima on 18 June, because the constitution provides that
a law cannot be promulgated until the seventh day after it is passed. --
Saulius Girnius

GDANSK SHIPYARD STRIKE OVER. The two-day sit-in strike in the Gdansk
shipyard (see OMRI Daily Digest, 12 June 1996) ended on 13 June, Polish
and international media reported. The shipyard is to be declared
bankrupt by a Gdansk court. Meanwhile, 54 Sejm deputies on 13 June
signed a motion to dismiss Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek,
blaming him for incompetence and "purposeful action against the Polish
shipbuilding industry." Kaczmarek blames the yard's situation chiefly on
bad management and unprofitable contracts. The shipyard management plans
to create a new company, the New Gdansk Shipyard, which will use the
bankrupt shipyard assets and employ nearly half of its work force. --
Jakub Karpinski

SLOVAK POLICE STOP KOVAC JR. FROM GOING TO GERMANY. The police
investigation department on 13 June denied that Michal Kovac Jr. can
travel to Munich, even though he received verbal consent from the
investigator of the Technopol fraud case, TASR reported. The police said
that "on 27 December 1995, an investigator brought criminal charges
against Kovac Jr. and on that same day blocked him from leaving the
country. . The investigator is authorized to cancel the ban only after
the investigation is stopped by a valid decision or the prosecution is
halted." Kovac Jr. had planned to go to Germany next week to clear his
name, but he expected that Slovak authorities might prevent him. In
other news, Bratislava regional prosecutor Robert Vlachovsky on 12 June
rejected Kovac Jr.'s complaint regarding the adjournment of his
kidnapping case. -- Sharon Fisher

HUNGARIAN, SLOVAK PRESIDENTS STRESS NEED FOR RECONCILIATION. Hungarian
President Arpad Goncz said the opportunity and historical necessity of
reconciliation between Slovakia and Hungary have been brought to the
fore by the signing of the basic treaty, the visit by Slovak President
Michal Kovac, and the acceleration of European integration, Hungarian
dailies reported on 14 June. There was no public mention of Slovakia's
intensifying domestic conflicts or the Meciar-led government's attitude
toward Hungary. Commenting on Hungarian minority rights in Slovakia,
Kovac said he had received a pledge from the Slovak government that a
bill on minority languages would be drafted. The Bratislava-based
Hungarian Civic Party on 13 June welcomed Kovac's visit to Hungary and
expressed hope that it is a step toward historic reconciliation. The
party noted, however, that the visit shows that there are two faces to
Slovak politicians, since the ruling coalition is not interested in good
relations with Hungary. -- Zsofia Szilagyi and Sharon Fisher

INTERNET ADOPTION SCANDAL IN HUNGARY. Hungarian Welfare Ministry
officials have criticized a Hungarian-U.S. company, East-West Concepts,
over an advertisement for Romani children for adoption, AFP reported on
13 June. The Welfare Ministry asserts that the Internet ads are illegal
and violate the children's rights because they include the children's
personal data and photographs, which may have been illegally released to
the company by directors of state children's care homes. The ministry
has launched an investigation. The president of East-West Concepts,
Janos Samu, countered that the children's rights are protected because
prospective parents are not given a child's address until Hungarian
authorities agree to the adoption. -- Alaina Lemon

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IMBROGLIO OVER BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. An international conference on Bosnia
opened in Florence on 13 June, and differences about when to hold
elections soon became evident. The U.S., France, and most other powers
want them to be held by 14 September in keeping with the Dayton
agreement. The Clinton administration is particularly anxious to have
the vote out of the way before it faces its own ballot in November, and
the international community's high representative in Bosnia, Carl Bildt,
said that "any delay would increase the risk of partition into separate
ethnic states." Bildt said the elections should go ahead even if Bosnian
Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and his military counterpart Gen. Ratko
Mladic have not been arrested, the BBC reported on 14 June. The Bosnian
government, however, opposes elections as long as war criminals are on
the loose and basic preconditions for a fair vote are not met, Reuters
and Onasa noted. -- Patrick Moore

OPPOSITION PARTIES JOIN FORCES FOR BOSNIAN ELECTIONS. Five opposition
parties--the Social-Democratic Party (SDP), the Union of Bosnian-
Herzegovinian Social-Democrats (UBSD), the Muslim-Bosniak Organization
(MBO), the Croat Peasant Party (HSS), and the Republican Party (RS)--on
12 June signed an agreement to run together in the upcoming general
elections under the name Joint List For Bosnia, Onasa reported. The OSCE
rejected the opposition bloc's candidate list for the Mostar elections
because the deadline for submissions had passed. Stjepan Kljuic,
president of the Republican Party, said that none of the parties had
been properly informed of the final date for submitting lists of
candidates, Onasa reported. East Mostar Mayor Safet Orucevic appealed to
the EU administration in Mostar to enable the Joint List to run. --
Daria Sito Sucic

TRAVNIK CROATS GO HOME. Ethnic Croats expelled for a second time after
returning to their homes near Travnik have apparently gone home again,
Reuters and Onasa reported on 12 June. Official spokesmen and various
media offer conflicting accounts of how many individuals were involved
and exactly what happened. UNHCR spokesman Kris Janowski put the figure
at 11 families comprising 25 people and said his office is trying to
find out whether the expulsions were carried out by competent officials
or by rogue elements. The Bosnian authorities said that the Croats were
"asked" to leave when they could not produce valid registration papers,
while Croatian officials charged that the families, including children,
were ordered out of their homes on short notice. -- Patrick Moore

OPPOSITION GIVES UP NEGOTIATIONS WITH HDZ. The Great Council of the
leading opposition Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) on 12 June
decided to end negotiations with the ruling Croatian Democratic
Community (HDZ), Hina reported the next day. Drazen Budisa, the
council's president, resigned. The Great Council decided to support in
the next election the candidacy of party Chairman Vlado Gotovac for the
presidency. Gotovac said he was surprised by the public's strong
negative reactions to the talks with HDZ, and added "if it's a sin to
negotiate, then we are finished and we are in a psychological war," Hina
reported. Gotovac said that the talks with HDZ did not threaten
relations between the HSLS and the opposition coalition. Meanwhile, the
HDZ presidency expressed regret over the HSLS decision to end further
negotiations. -- Daria Sito Sucic

RUMP YUGOSLAV PREMIER ANNOUNCES CABINET SHUFFLE. Radoje Kontic on 12
June formally announced the members of his new cabinet, including the
appointment of three new ministers of finance, economics, and justice--
portfolios formerly held by deputy premiers who are now charged with
"special responsibilities." A new Ministry of Agriculture has also been
created at the federal level, Tanjug reported on 12 June. The daily Nasa
Borba reported already on 4 June that the federal government had been
restructured and that a shuffle was imminent (see OMRI Daily Digest, 4
June 1996). -- Stan Markotich

SERBIAN RADICAL CASTS LOT WITH KARADZIC. Ultranationalist leader of the
Serbian Radical Party (SRS) and accused war criminal Vojislav Seselj
said his party in the Republika Srpska plans to cooperate with the
ruling Social Democratic Party (SDS) of Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic. Seselj said that joining forces following elections is certain
and that SRS representatives will meet SDS counterparts soon to discuss
"an accord on joint presidential and parliamentary candidates," SRNA
reported on 12 June. The following day Nasa Borba quoted Seselj
predicting that the electoral fortunes of Bosnian Serb parties
controlled by Serbian President Milosevic and his wife and head of the
United Yugoslav Left (JUL), Mirjana Markovic, are bleak. "JUL and the
SPS have nothing to look for in the RS," said Seselj. "Nowhere do the
Serbian people in the RS feel close [kinship] with the regime of
Slobodan Milosevic," he added. -- Stan Markotich

PARTY OF SERBIAN UNITY VICE LEADER CONDEMNS SEPARATIST PROPOSAL.
Borislav Pelevic condemned an initiative by the Serbian Academy of Arts
and Sciences [SANU] head Aleksandar Despic as "anti-Serb and anti-
Yugoslav," according to Nasa Borba on 14 May. Despic had suggested the
previous week that Kosovo separate from rump-Yugoslavia, warning of a
population explosion among the Kosovo Albanians and saying that
otherwise, in a couple of decades, Serbia will become a bilingual
country. He added that the Serbs will be confronted with a "grave
dilemma . when and if the Albanians decide to join in the political life
of Serbia on a large scale." Despic warned that "ethnic duality [may]
contain insoluble problems." -- Fabian Schmidt

OPPOSITION TO HAVE JOINT CANDIDATE IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS? Adrian
Vilau, a member of the Steering Committee of the Democratic Party-
National Salvation Front (PD-FSN), said that the opposition may agree on
a single candidate to run against incumbent President Ion Iliescu,
Reuters reported on 13 June. A similar proposal was made one day earlier
by the chairman of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), Emil
Constantinescu. The CDR and the PD-FSN have reached an agreement on
jointly governing Bucharest, where the CDR candidate, Victor Ciorbea, is
ahead of the main governmental party candidate, Ilie Nastase, in the
runoff scheduled for 16 June. PD-FSN leader Petre Roman said that the
agreement might serve as an example for the next general elections. It
is unlikely that either Constantinescu or Roman will agree to withdraw
from the race. But an agreement is possible to support whichever
candidate is best placed in a likely runoff against the president. --
Michael Shafir

DEFENSE MINISTER URGES NATO TO ADMIT ROMANIA. Gheorghe Tinca on 13 June
urged NATO not to leave Romania out of the countries admitted to the
organization, Reuters reported. He said such a decision would jeopardize
Romania's political, military, and economic reforms and threaten
regional stability. He added that the move would lead to tension over
"extremist" claims made by members of the Hungarian minority in
Transylvania. Tinca also said the country would have to pursue entirely
different strategies if it were left uncertain about its chances. --
Michael Shafir

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE UPDATE. Parliament Chairman Petru
Lucinschi on 13 June said he has not yet made up his mind whether to run
in the presidential election scheduled for November, Infotag reported.
Lucinschi said he was sure that more than 85% of the members of the
Social Progress Party Steering Committee as well as other parties and
organizations would back his candidacy. But the leader of the ruling
Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova (PDAM), Dumitru Motpan, said the
same day that his party will certainly back a PDAM member. Meanwhile,
Valentin Krylov, a leader of the Moldovan Socialist Party (PSM), told
Infotag that his party's leading bodies have a different opinion than
the majority of party members on whom to nominate. The PSM on 5 June
named Veronica Abramciuc as the formation's candidate in the November
contest. -- Michael Shafir

REACTION TO FAILED NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE IN BULGARIA. Most dailies and many
politicians are speculating about which opposition deputies on 13 June
backed the Socialist government in a nonconfidence vote that all
opposition parties officially supported. Some 135 deputies had voted
against the motion, but the Socialists and their partners hold only 125
seats. One Socialist deputy abstained. Observers believe that most or
all deputies from the Bulgarian Business Bloc and some from the ethnic-
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom supported the government. But
between three and six votes are still unaccounted for and might have
come from the main opposition Union of Democratic Forces or the People's
Union, despite statements by their leaders to the contrary. -- Stefan
Krause

ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CONDEMN OSCE REPORT. The Democratic Party on 13 June
dismissed an OSCE report published the previous day, Reuters reported.
The report condemned irregularities during the 26 May elections.
Democratic Party leader Tritan Shehu said "I cannot accept the [OSCE]
criticism . because a large part of it is baseless." Shehu said the
problems arose after the opposition pulled its monitors out of polling
stations hours before they closed. He added that many OSCE observers
were biased. Earlier, government media published reports saying that
nine Norwegian OSCE monitors had been invited by the Socialist Party and
came into the OSCE delegation through the back door. An OSCE official,
however, told OMRI that the report speaks for itself and such
allegations are irrelevant. -- Fabian Schmidt

BUT CALLS FOR NEW BALLOT GET LOUDER. The Organization of Social
Democratic Parties of Europe called for a rerun of the 26 May
parliamentary elections. Austrian Social Democrat Heinz Fischer, who
chaired a meeting in Brussels on 13 June, said Berisha's decision to re-
run polls in 17 constituencies on 16 June was a step in the right
direction, but he added that "the goal must remain to hold free,
democratic and internationally observed elections in all Albanian
regions." Meanwhile, the Center Pole coalition said that the OSCE report
confirms that their boycott of the ballot re-run and of parliament was
right. They proposed a round-table meeting of all parties--the OSCE, the
Council of Europe, the EU, and the U.S.--to prepare an election re-run
in 17 constituencies as a test. Should the re-run show grave differences
from the previous elections, they demand new ones. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 1200 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie


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