Every man passes his life in the search after friendship. - Emerson
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 181, Part II, 18 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

BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW. Mikhail Chyhir met with his Russian
counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on 17 September, Russian and
Belarusian agencies reported. Talks focused on Belarus's $165 million
energy debt to Russia incurred since 1 February. Russian President Boris
Yeltsin and his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka signed a
"zero option" at the beginning of the year canceling Belarus's previous
energy debt to Moscow. Payment terms for the new debt were agreed to,
and Minsk will make most of its payments in barter. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN POLITICAL CRISIS CONTINUES... President Lukashenka reiterated
his intention of holding the referendum on which version of the
constitution to adopt on 7 November and not during the 24 November by-
elections, the date parliament set. Lukashenka's version of the
constitution increases his powers and diminishes those of parliament;
parliament's version abolishes the presidency. Radio Rossii reported
that parliament's version has little chance of winning. Parliament
Speaker Syamyon Sharetsky asked the Constitutional Court to examine the
referendum. -- Ustina Markus

...WITH MORE ATTACKS ON THE SPEAKER. Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky sent an open letter to Belarusian Parliament
Speaker Syamyon Sharetsky and a series of Belarusian newspapers,
accusing the speaker of every imaginable sin, including moral depravity,
accepting money from America, and having dealings with Israeli
intelligence. Sharetsky said the letter was a provocation at a "very
primitive level" and offered to put himself to a confidence vote in
parliament. Russian Public Television reported that the pro-presidential
faction Sohlasiye began collecting signatures from deputies in support
of a motion to remove Sharetsky. Only 22 deputies voted in favor of the
motion, while 200 supported the speaker and refused to include any
discussion of his dismissal on the agenda. -- Ustina Markus

UKRAINE EXTENDS CURRENCY EXCHANGE DEADLINE. The Ukrainian government has
extended the deadline for residents to exchange karbovantsi for hryvyas,
the new currency, until 16 October, Ukrainian and Western agencies
reported on 16-17 September. Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko said that
although the exchange had gone smoothly during the planned two-week
exchange period, which ended 16 September, there were some 8.7 trillion
karbovantsi ($49 million) still circulating in the economy. Meanwhile,
IMF chief Michel Camdessus praised Ukraine for adhering to tight
monetary and fiscal policies during the hryvnya introduction. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

TWO MORE CANDIDATES FOR ESTONIA'S PRESIDENT. Parliament Deputy Chairman
Tunne Kelam of the Fatherland Union and deputy leader of the Center
Party Siiri Oviir on 17 September announced that they would run for
president, BNS reported. Twenty-three representatives of local councils
and 12 parliament deputies supported Kelam's candidacy, while 21
representatives supported Oviir's. It is not clear whether any more
candidates other than incumbent president Lennart Meri and parliament
Deputy Speaker Arnold Ruutel will be registered before the deadline of
18:00 on 18 September. A 374-member electoral college will meet in
Tallinn on 20 September and vote for president. If no candidate receives
a majority, a run-off between the two top candidates will be held. --
Saulius Girnius

LATVIA'S PARLIAMENT LEADER QUITS SAIMNIEKS PARTY. Ilsa Kreituse
announced on 17 September that she is quitting the Democratic Party
Saimnieks because she learned that the party's board was planning to
discuss her expulsion, BNS reported. Since Saimnieks had nominated her
for the Saeima post, she will probably have to give it up. The party's
council expelled her husband, Finance Minister Aivars Kreituss, four
days earlier (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 September 1996). Prime Minister
Andris Skele has not yet decided whether he will ask Kreituss to resign
or ask the parliament to take a no-confidence vote on him. Decisions on
whether the Kreituss couple will remain in their posts will only be made
at the end of the month after Skele and President Guntis Ulmanis return
from trips abroad. -- Saulius Girnius

GOVERNMENT REFORM IN POLAND. Prime Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz
nominated on 17 September eight temporary heads of ministries that are
to be created under the government reform and seven liquidators of
ministries and other offices that are to be abolished. The heads include
Zbigniew Sobotka for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and
Administration, Andrzej Malinowski for Economy, and Piotr Czyzewski for
Treasury, Danuta Huebner for the Committee for European Integration. The
acting heads are to resign when ministers are appointed after an
agreement between the coalition parties. -- Jakub Karpinski

DAEWOO RETHINKING INVESTMENT IN POLAND. South Korean car manufacturer
Daewoo chairman Kim Woo Choong has written to Prime Minister Wlodzimierz
Cimoszewicz, threatening to reconsider plans to invest nearly $2 billion
because Daewoo rival Hyundai is already active in Poland, Zycie Warszawy
reported on 17 September. In August, the Polish group Universal began
assembling Hyundai Accent cars in its factory at Pultusk. -- Jakub
Karpinski

CZECH BANKING CRISIS UPDATE. Czech Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus and
Parliament Chairman Milos Zeman, leader of the opposition Social
Democrats, met on 17 September to discuss developments in the banking
sector (see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 and 17 September), Czech media
reported. In an effort to calm the public, the two politicians agreed to
put the interests of the Czech economy, and the banking sector in
particular, above their political differences and search jointly for
solutions. They also agreed that a special parliamentary commission be
set up to investigate the collapse of Kreditni Banka. Also on 17
September, Pavel Tykac, the head of the financial group Motoinvest,
whose officials have been charged with crimes related to Kreditni
Banka's collapse, left the country and is hiding. In a letter he left
behind, Tykac explained that he was afraid for his life after he
announced on 16 September that he knows who caused the bank's collapse.
-- Jiri Pehe

CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS CANDIDATE REGISTRATION FINISHED. Some 570
candidates will compete for Senate seats in 81 districts in the November
elections to the upper chamber of the Czech Parliament, Czech media
reported on 18 September. The registration of candidates ended at
midnight on 16 September. Only the Civic Democratic Party, the Communist
Party of Bohemia and Moravia, and the Social Democrats have nominated
candidates in all 81 districts. The coalition Civic Democratic Alliance
and the People's Party/Christian and Democratic Union have formed a
preelection coalition. The extreme-right Republican Party decided
against running in the Senate elections, arguing that it has always been
opposed to the existence of a Senate. Analysts have, however, pointed
out that the real reason for the Republicans' decision is that the
Senate elections, unlike the elections to the lower chamber, are based
on a majority system that greatly diminishes the chances of extremists
to win any seats. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PARLIAMENT RULES ON CULTURE MINISTER, NATIONAL ANTHEMS. The
Slovak Parliament on 17 September failed to pass a vote of non-
confidence in Culture Minister Ivan Hudec, who has been accused by the
opposition of incompetence, Slovak media reported. Seventy-six votes
were needed to remove Hudec but only 62 deputies in the 150-seat
parliament took part in the voting; 59 were in favor of removing Hudec,
3 were against. The parliament also ruled that from 1 October the
national anthem of a foreign state can only be played in Slovakia when a
delegation from the given foreign country is present. Deputies
representing the Hungarian minority in Slovakia voted against the bill,
arguing it is designed to prevent ethnic Hungarians in Slovakia from
singing the Hungarian national anthem on their own holidays. -- Jiri
Pehe

FORMER HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ON BASIC TREATY. Geza Jeszenszky,
Hungary's former foreign minister and now an opposition deputy, has
criticized Hungary's basic treaty with Romania, which was signed in
Timisoara on 16 September. According to Hungarian dailies on 18
September, Jeszenszky claims that the treaty fails to guarantee
education in the native tongue for children of all ages, does not
mention the reopening of a Hungarian university and consulate in
Romania, ignores questions about the return of Hungarian assets
confiscated by the Romanian government, does not address the issue of
Hungarian national symbols in Romania, and does not contain any
supervisory mechanisms. Nevertheless, Jeszenszky stressed that he and
his party, the Hungarian Democratic People's Party, do not oppose the
treaty's ratification. -- Ben Slay

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN PRESIDENT'S LEAD REMAINS STRONG. President Alija Izetbegovic of
the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) continues to lead his challenger
for the Muslim seat on the three-man collective state presidency. He has
82% to 13% for Haris Silajdzic, AFP reported on 18 September. Among the
Croats, Kresimir Zubak of the Croatian Democratic Community has 88%,
putting him comfortably ahead of Ivo Komsic of the Joint List. The most
interesting development is among the Serbs, where Momcilo Krajisnik of
the governing Serbian Democratic Party has only 66% despite his party's
virtual monopoly on the media and the police. Challenger Mladen Ivanic
of the Alliance for Peace and Progress, which is close to Serbian
President Slobodan Milosevic, has nearly 32% of the total so far despite
a campaign of violence and intimidation against his party during the
runup to the 14 September vote. Izetbegovic seems slated to be the first
to hold the rotating chair of the presidency. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN VOTE CALLED INTO QUESTION. An OSCE spokeswoman told the BBC on
17 September that the delays in counting votes are mainly due to
technical problems and the exhaustion of poll workers, but the BBC
suggested that more fundamental difficulties are involved. The SDA has
challenged the elections held on Bosnian Serb territory, saying there
was no freedom of movement and that various discriminatory measures were
taken against Muslim refugees wanting to go home to vote, Onasa noted on
17 September. (see OMRI Special Report , 17 September). The
International Crisis Group of prominent public figures issued a
statement on 16 September that "against this background of adverse
conditions, electoral engineering, and disenfranchisement, these
elections cannot be described as free, fair, or democratic." The London
Daily Telegraph cited one case in which a polling station recorded votes
equivalent to a turnout of 107%. -- Patrick Moore

HAGUE TRIBUNAL CHIEF BLASTS NATO FOR NOT ARRESTING WAR CRIMINALS. Judge
Richard Goldstone told The Independent on 17 September that his court
and international justice in general will be dealt a "fatal blow" if
NATO fails to arrest indicted Bosnian Serb war criminals Radovan
Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic. Goldstone, head of the International
Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, charged that IFOR
commanders are primarily interested in self-preservation and avoiding
risks and casualties. He noted that ordinary soldiers, however, "feel a
tremendous frustration that they aren't able to go out and get [the war
criminals]." He concluded that "there is no political will to make
[international justice] work." -- Patrick Moore

DISPLACED CROATS CAN REPATRIATE WHEN SERB REFUGEES' HOUSING IS PROVIDED.
Soaren Jessen-Petersen, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees special
envoy for the former Yugoslavia, at a meeting with Croatian Vice Premier
Ivica Kostovic on 16 September, said finding housing for Serbs now
living in the homes of Croats displaced from the Serb-held region of
eastern Slavonia was the condition for the return of those displaced
Croats, Hina reported. Jessen-Petersen said some Serbs now living in
Bilje could not return to their homes because their property had been
destroyed or occupied in line with some Croatian laws. According to the
UNHCR, to avoid creating new refugees after displaced Croats return to
their homes, Serbs should be given back their property or otherwise
compensated. -- Daria Sito Sucic

JOINT EFFORTS OF BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT AND SERBS IN SREBRENICA. Bosnian
government and Bosnian Serb forensic teams started on 17 September to
work together for the first time on recovering the remains of hundreds
of Muslims scattered on hillsides near Srebrenica, AFP reported. Up to
8,000 Muslim men are still unaccounted for after a former Muslim enclave
was overrun by Bosnian Serbs last year. The head of the Bosnian Serb
commission for the return of POWs and missing persons, Dragan Bulajic,
says the victims were soldiers, while his Bosnian government counterpart
Amor Masovic claims they were civilians. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MACEDONIA TO BUY RUMP YUGOSLAV ARMS? The Macedonian and rump Yugoslav
defense ministers are to meet soon to discuss the possibility of
Skopje's purchasing military wares from Belgrade, Onasa, citing Vecer,
reported on 16 September. Belgrade appears to be "in a hurry to dispose
of its arms surpluses" to meet conditions of the Dayton peace agreement.
Rump Yugoslavia is reportedly barred from contemplating the destruction
of part of its arms stocks, as they may become part of discussions among
all states from the former Yugoslavia over assets. Belgrade may believe
it has found a loophole by giving control of its surplus arms to
Macedonia and possibly working toward a military cooperation agreement
with Skopje, noted Vecer. -- Stan Markotich

ZASTAVA STRIKES DOMINATE MEDIA COVERAGE IN SERBIA. The ongoing work
stoppage in Kragujevac, waged by workers of the Zastava car and military
plants, enters its 23rd day continuing to dominate headlines in Serbian
media. Car plant director Miodrag Bogdanovic said on 16 September that
the job action has reached such a critical level that foreign investors,
with whom talks have allegedly been under way, may be scared off. He
said investors are considering pulling out of a deal rumored to be worth
"hundreds of millions of investment dollars" to the Serbian economy,
Tanjug reported. Meanwhile Nasa Borba on 18 September reports that the
strikers have attracted the support of opposition party leaders, with
Serbian Renewal Movement Leader Vuk Draskovic concluding the strikers
and "workers of Kragujevac are effectively fighting for [the rights] of
all Serbia's workers." -- Stan Markotich

RUSSIA AGREES TO RESCHEDULE MOLDOVA'S DEBT. An agreement to reschedule
Moldova's national debt to the Russian Federation was reached on 17
September in Chisinau, BASA-press and Infotag reported. The agreement
was reached at the first meeting of the Moldovan-Russian
Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, presided over by
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valerii Serov and his Moldovan counterpart
Valentin Cunev. The deal applies to $116 million worth of loans granted
by Russia since 1992. The two sides also agreed to consider joint
defense projects. A member of the Russian delegation, Minister for
Relations with the CIS Aman Tuleev, said he regrets an interview
published by the Moscow-based Pravda in which he said that Russia should
not grant credits to Moldova if Mircea Snegur wins the November
presidential election. Tuleev said he did not approve the final text of
the interview. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN MEDIA LAW TO BE REVIEWED, PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS TO GET UNDER
WAY. Bulgarian opposition deputies will submit the media law to the
Constitutional Court, hoping for a ruling prior to 27 October
presidential elections, Demokratsiya reported on 14 September. Experts
say the law violates freedom of speech clauses in the constitution. The
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) parliamentary majority readopted the law
on 5 September following a 1 August veto by President Zhelyu Zhelev.
Meanwhile, in election update news, official campaigning for the
presidency is expected to kick off on 24 September. So far, the
candidate of the united opposition, Petar Stoyanov, is the favorite of
30% of poll respondents, according to a survey, and about 20% support
the BSP's Ivan Marazov, Standart reported on 16 September. -- Maria
Koinova

EXPECTING A HUNGRY WINTER IN BULGARIA. Bread prices quadrupled in the
past five months, Pari reported on 13 September. Because of a grain
shortage, a kilo of bread now costs 85 leva, up from 62 leva in August.
The lack of fodder forced some farmers to butcher pigs and export the
meat for hard currency, which resulted in a rise in pork prices from 340
leva for 1 kilogram in August to 400 leva now. Trying to restore
consumer confidence and restrain speculation, the government will
introduce price controls for bread, milk, cheese, and oil on 1 October,
Pari reported. Standart on 16 September called price controls a "tool of
socialism" that would lead to black markets. Experts predict retail
prices will jump to world levels this December. -- Maria Koinova

MACEDONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS TO BE HELD ON 17 NOVEMBER. Macedonian
Parliament President Tito Petkovski announced local elections for 17
November, Nova Makedonija reported on 17 September. The local
legislatures and mayors of 123 newly drawn municipalities and the
capital Skopje will be elected. Petkovski said that almost six years
have passed since current town assemblies were constituted and that most
of them have been functioning badly or not at all, MILS reported. Each
voter will be issued a voter registration card. -- Fabian Schmidt

NEW TRIAL AGAINST ALBANIAN COMMUNIST-ERA OFFICIALS. Nine senior
communists have gone on trial on charges of political persecution on 16
September, Reuters reported. State prosecutors Shkelqim Gani and Kadri
Skeraj have charged the defendants, five of whom fled Albania and are to
be tried in absentia, with crimes against humanity, including ordering
the deportation of political dissidents. If found guilty, the defendants
would face sentences ranging from 15 years in jail to the death penalty.
One of the defendants was a member of the Communist Party's politburo,
while the others were district party leaders. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Susan Caskie

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