It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. - Samuel Johnson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 180, Part II, 17 September 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 PRESIDENT WILL SEEK A SECOND TERM. Leonid Kuchma announced on
Ukrainian television on 16 September that he will seek a second five-
year term in the next elections scheduled for October 1999, Western
agencies reported. He explained his decision by noting that world
experience indicated that "ten years is the minimum period for a country
that has started radical reforms to see results." The constitution that
was passed this June limits the president to two consecutive terms. --
Saulius Girnius

NATO OFFICIAL OFFERS UKRAINE "SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP." President of the
North Atlantic Assembly Karsten Voigt said in Kyiv on 16 September that
"Ukraine has the chance to establish a special partnership status with
NATO," Western agencies reported. While Voigt did not define the
"special" status, he said it would not jeopardize Ukrainian ties with
Russia. Ukrainian officials have maintained that the country has no
interest in full NATO membership, but it has participated actively in
the Partnership for Peace program. -- Saulius Girnius

ESTONIA "GRADUATES" FROM USAID. U.S. Ambassador to Estonia Lawrence
Taylor read a letter from President Bill Clinton in Tallinn on 16
September at ceremonies officially ending U.S. Agency for International
Development assistance to the country, Western agencies reported. Since
1991 Estonia has received about $30 million for projects supporting the
reestablishment of democracy and promoting economic reform and
environmental protection. President Lennart Meri and Prime Minister Tiit
Vahi expressed thanks for the aid and satisfaction that Estonia is the
first East European country considered to have advanced to the point
that it no longer needs assistance to create a free market economy. --
Saulius Girnius

28 PARTIES COMPETE IN LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. Only four of
the 33 eligible political parties and organizations failed to register
their candidates with the Supreme Election Commission for the 20 October
parliament elections by the deadline of midnight of 16 September, Radio
Lithuania reported. The Union of Political Prisoners and Deportees
unexpectedly decided not to join a planned coalition with the Democratic
Party and National Union, but those two parties nevertheless formed the
only formal pre-election coalition. Some 1,400 candidates have been
registered to compete for the 141 parliament seats. If the presented
lists of at least 1,000 eligible voters are approved, there will also be
more than 30 independent candidates. Following confirmation of the
applications, ballot lists are scheduled to be printed in the state
newspaper Valstybes zinios on 20 September. -- Saulius Girnius

NEW WARSAW DAILY. The pilot issue of the new Warsaw daily Zycie (Life)
appeared on 16 September. Tomasz Wolek, Zycie editor in chief, said a
large group of potential readers looking for a traditional, bourgeois,
and conservative paper, still does not have a journal; Zycie is to fill
this gap. The paper is to be published by a Polish-German company owned
by Wolek and two businessmen. The company has raised nearly $10 million
to cover publishing costs. Wolek was until May the editor in chief of
Zycie Warszawy. He and other Zycie editors left Zycie Warszawy when the
paper changed ownership and the editorial policies. The first regular
issue of Zycie is scheduled to appear on 28 September. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH PRESIDENT STARTS TOUR OF SOUTH AMERICA. Vaclav Havel arrived in
Brazil on 15 September for a week-long official visit, Czech and
international media reported. The tour of Brazil is to be followed by
visits to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. On 16 September, Havel met
Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso. The two politicians discussed
bilateral economic ties and global issues, such as the reform of the
United Nations. Havel is accompanied by Trade Minister Vladimir Dlouhy
and a group of Czech entrepreneurs. Dlouhy told reporters that the Czech
company Skoda was considering building a truck factory in Brazil. --
Jiri Pehe

CZECH BANK CRISIS SPREADS. The Czech National Bank announced on 16
September that the country's largest private bank, Agrobanka, "has
suffered money-flow problems as a result of the recent collapse of
Kreditni Banka," and that the National Bank is temporarily naming its
own administrator to take over the bank, Czech media reported. Czech
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, admitted the same day that "not everything
is in order in our banking sector" and demanded investigation into
criminal activities. At the same time, Klaus condemned "some political
parties" for trying to make political capital out of the crisis and said
there is "no reason for panic." Also on 16 September, the financial
group Motoinvest, whose officials have been charged with crimes related
to the collapse of Kreditni Banka, accused an official of the coalition
Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA) of accepting kickbacks from the bank and
being partly responsible for its collapse. The ODA has promptly rejected
the charges. According to Business Central Europe, Motoinvest is a major
shareholder in Agrobanka. -- Jiri Pehe

CZECH GOVERNMENT TO FREE ENERGY PRICES. The economic ministers of the
Czech government recommended at their 16 September meeting that energy
prices be gradually freed over the next two years, Czech media reported.
At the same time, the ministers agreed that families with lower incomes
need to be compensated for the higher energy prices. Czech Labor
Minister Jindrich Vodicka said the higher energy prices will also be
reflected in increases in pensions. Energy prices have been subsidized
by the state, and the cost of producing energy is currently higher than
its sale price. The opposition Social Democrats have said they are not
against freeing energy prices but want first to study the possible
impact of the measure. -- Jiri Pehe

OECD RELEASES REPORT ON SLOVAKIA. In a report released on 16 September,
the OECD says that the quick economic growth of Slovakia has astonished
many analysts, Slovak and international media reported. Slovakia
recorded one of the best macroeconomic performances among Central and
East European countries. The country's gross domestic product grew by
7.4% in 1995. The inflation rate, which stood at 25.1% at the end of
1993, was reduced to 6.1% by May 1996. State budget and current account
balances recorded surpluses in 1995. The unemployment rate peaked at the
beginning of 1995, with 15%, but fell to 11.9% by May 1996. The report
focuses on the need to restructure the banking sector and privatized
companies. It also deals extensively with Slovakia's potential for
expanding its tourist industry. -- Jiri Pehe

CONTROVERSY OVER HUNGARY'S DRAFT CONSTITUTION. The six-party agreement
within the Hungarian parliament's constitution committee that has
facilitated the drafting of a new constitution may be breaking down,
Nepszabadsag reported on 17 September. Deputies from the opposition
Christian Democratic Party are threatening to boycott constitution
committee sessions unless their demands for a plebiscite on the basic
rules of the constitution are accepted. Socialist Party deputy Mihaly
Bihari told Nepszabadsag that the Christian Democrats' stand can only be
interpreted as a putsch against the six-party agreement on
constitutional reform. Although the draft constitution has been amended
frequently since 1989, Hungary is still working with the 1949
constitution set up by the communist regime. -- Petronella Gaal and Ben
Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

IZETBEGOVIC LEADS IN BOSNIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. President Alija
Izetbegovic is ahead of his top challenger for the Muslim seat on the
Bosnian presidency, Haris Silajdzic, by 81% to 15%, OMRI's special
correspondent reported from Sarajevo on 17 September. In the Serb race,
Momcilo Krajisnik has 78%, but his opposition challenger Mladen Ivanic
has 20%, a remarkably strong showing given the hold of the governing
Serbian Democratic Party on the police and the media. A similar
development is taking place among the Croats, where Kresimir Zubak is
polling only 85% despite his Croatian Democratic Community's virtual
monopoly on Croatian political life. His opponent, Ivo Komsic, has 13%
support as of 9:00 a.m. Izetbegovic narrowly leads Krajisnik in total
number of votes, which puts him in line to be the first to hold the
rotating chair of three-man presidency, Reuters noted. CNN said that
final presidential returns are expected later in the day. The complete
tally for all contests is not due until later this week. -- Patrick
Moore

NATIONALISTS RIDING HIGH IN BOSNIA. Despite the challenges offered by
Silajdzic, Ivanic, and Komsic, it seems clear that the three nationalist
candidates will sweep the race. Similar results can be expected across
the board, except perhaps for isolated cases such as Tuzla, where the
anti-nationalist tradition is strong. U.S. envoy John Kornblum is now
stressing the need to build common institutions, but it is difficult to
see how this will happen with nationalists in control of all three
groups. OMRI's special correspondent reported from Sarajevo on 17
September that the Bihac pocket kingpin and enemy of Izetbegovic, Fikret
Abdic, attracted few votes in his presidential challenge. In Muslim-held
Bugojno, experts said that the bomb that blew up the home of a prominent
Croat on 13 September was the work of a professional, Onasa reported on
16 September. -- Patrick Moore

IZETBEGOVIC AND MILOSEVIC TO MEET. French Foreign Minister Herve de
Charette confirmed on 16 September that Bosnian President Alija
Izetbegovic and his Serbian counterpart Slobodan Milosevic would meet in
Paris this week, AFP reported. The summit will be the first bilateral
meeting between the two presidents, although they have met at several
international conferences on Bosnia. Despite an earlier visit to
Belgrade by Ejup Ganic, the Bosnian Federation vice president, after
which communication lines between the two countries were reestablished,
Belgrade has yet not formally recognized the Sarajevo government.
Belgrade warned it would not establish diplomatic ties with Bosnia until
Bosnia dropped a charge of genocide filed against rump Yugoslavia with
the Hague-based criminal tribunal. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERBS WANT TO PLACE JOINT INSTITUTIONS ON DEMARCATION LINE.
Aleksa Buha, head of the Bosnian Serb ruling Serbian Democratic Party
(SDS), on Serbian TV expressed worry about the location of future common
governmental institutions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and said that equality
must prevail, Nasa Borba and Oslobodjenje reported on 17 September.
"There was plenty of time for [the international community's high
representative] Carl Bildt and [deputy high representative] Michael
Steiner to find premises on the demarcation line between the Bosnian
Federation and the Republika Srpska, or even to build new buildings
[along that line]. I foresee further problems regarding this issue,"
Oslobodjenje quoted him as saying. Buha called the postponement of
municipal elections in Bosnia an irrational decision. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

SERBIAN STRIKE MARKS TWENTY-FIRST DAY. About 20,000 workers, including
those from the Zastava arms plant and the local automobile manufacturer,
and their supporters demonstrated in Kragujevac on 16 September, the
21st day of the strike, Nasa Borba reported the following day. The job
action shows no sign of letting up, and some participants predict that
"the entire city of Kragujevac will hit the streets" within a day. On 14
September, however, Beta had reported that the workers had met with a
partial success in having received an "advance" payment for July wages
in arrears. Kragujevac Zastava autoworkers also received the promise of
a 120 dinar ($24) bonus, Beta reported. -- Stan Markotich

THE POLITICS OF POPULARITY IN RUMP YUGOSLAVIA. According to a recent
poll of 1,045 citizens of rump Yugoslavia, Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic remains by far the most popular politician in the country.
Nearly 46% of respondents picked Milosevic as the most popular and
effective politician, while Montenegrin opposition leader Novak
Killibarda came in second with 12.4%. Ultranationalist leader of the
Serbian Radical Party Vojislav Seselj and Montenegrin President Momir
Bulatovic tied for third, each garnering the approval of about 9.5% of
survey participants. In Serbia proper, Milosevic was supported by 54.2%
of respondents, with Seselj coming in a distant second with 12.45
support. Vecernje novosti reported the poll results on 14 September. --
Stan Markotich

ROMANIA, HUNGARY SIGN HISTORIC TREATY. The Romanian and Hungarian prime
ministers, Nicolae Vacaroiu and Gyula Horn, on 16 September signed a
basic bilateral treaty that is aimed at controlling the two countries'
historic rivalry over the province of Transylvania, local and Western
media reported. The document was signed in the western Romanian town of
Timisoara, the cradle of the December 1989 revolt that marked the end of
the Communist regime in Romania. Romanian President Ion Iliescu, as well
as the foreign ministers and political leaders from both countries,
attended the ceremony. Romania's two main ultra-nationalist parties, the
Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR) and the Greater Romania Party,
boycotted the event. PUNR leader Gheorghe Funar, who is also mayor of
Cluj, proclaimed 16 September a "day of mourning" there. -- Dan Ionescu

INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE TO HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN TREATY. The United States
on 16 September congratulated the Romanian and Hungarian governments for
their signing of the basic treaty on that day, Reuters reported.
According to State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, the treaty
"demonstrates the commitment of Hungary and Romania to rejoin the
Western community of democratic nations and is consistent with the
purposes of NATO enlargement." The treaty drew a cooler response from
Moscow, AFP reported on 17 September. Although a Foreign Ministry
statement did offer some words of praise, it also said: "Russia's
attitude to enlargement of NATO eastward is well known in Hungary and
Romania, as is the belief that our relations would only gain if this
attitude were taken more fully into account." -- Ben Slay

ROMANIAN EXTREMIST LEADER REGISTERS AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. Corneliu
Vadim Tudor, chairman of the extremist Greater Romania Party, on 16
September registered as candidate in the presidential race to take place
on 3 November, Radio Bucharest reported. Tudor, who was accompanied by
40 associates and fans, presented a list with 125,000 signatures in
support of his candidacy. Tudor pledged that if he is elected, he will
rule Romania with "the Bible in one hand and the constitution in the
other." He also said that he wished Romania to get back "its natural
borders, [as they were set] on 1 December 1918." Tudor is the seventh
candidate to formally register with the authorities. -- Dan Ionescu

MOLDOVAN, DNIESTER EXPERTS RESUME TALKS. Expert teams from the Republic
of Moldova and the self-declared Dniester Moldovan Republic met on 16
September in Tiraspol to continue negotiations over the Dniester
region's legal status within the Moldovan state, BASA-press reported.
The meeting was the first since June, when talks broke down following a
chill in Chisinau-Tiraspol relations. Moldovan Deputy Foreign Minister
Vasile Sova told journalists that another meeting might follow soon,
with the participation of mediators from the OSCE, Russia, and Ukraine.
The main stumbling block in the negotiations appears to be Tiraspol's
insistence that Moldova recognize its distinct statehood within the
framework of a loose confederation. -- Dan Ionescu

DRASTIC MEASURES FOR THE BULGARIAN ECONOMY. Bulgarian local and national
government leaders and leaders of the parliamentary Democratic Left held
a closed meeting on 15 September, Bulgarian newspapers reported the next
day. Prime Minister Zhan Videnov said the meeting's aim was to introduce
the government's strategy for overcoming the national economic crisis,
24 Chasa reported. Some 14 banks will close, and some may be put under
special governmental supervision, Demokratsiya reported. Depositor
insurance is currently 100% for private persons and 50% for enterprises;
the new insurance reportedly will not exceed 20% in cash repayments for
any account, but depositors may expect 100% repayment in government
bonds. Pari on 17 September reported that the meeting also addressed
privatizing state firms, including those no longer needed for military
production. The Bulgarian government vowed to take drastic measures
following the IMF refusal of additional loans. -- Maria Koinova

FOUR ALBANIAN COMMUNISTS SENTENCED FOR SETTING UP PARTY. A Tirana court
led by Gjergj Pojani on 16 September sentenced four Albanians to 12-18
months in prison for founding a communist party and trying to overthrow
the government by violence, AFP reported. The four (Timoshenko Pekmezi,
54; Sami Meta, 52; Tare Isufi, 73; and Kristaq Mosko, 45) were arrested
in February during an investigation into a car-bomb explosion in Tirana,
but the charges brought against them were not related to the incident.
Pojani said the four were convicted "not because of their beliefs and
communist convictions but because of their anti-constitutional
activities." Communist parties have been banned in Albania since June
1992. The defendants had allegedly made organizational preparations and
collected propaganda material. They said they would appeal the case. --
Fabian Schmidt

ALBANIAN WORKERS STAGE GENERAL STRIKE. Some 150,000 public-sector
workers staged a one-hour warning strike on 16 September, Reuters
reported. They demanded full compensation from the government for recent
price hikes in bread, gas, and fuel and for rising inflation. The
Independent Trade Union and the Confederation of Albanian Trade Unions
met government officials later that day but no results were announced.
The unions threatened to hold a one-day strike in two weeks if no
compromise is found. Workers in education, energy, health care,
telecommunications, transport, and light industry participated in the
strike, which also affected more than 700,000 pupils. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
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