The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 184, Part II, 23 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

MERI REELECTED ESTONIAN PRESIDENT. The Electoral College, convening on
20 September in Tallinn, voted for Lennart Meri to serve a second five-
year term as president, Western agencies reported. In the second round
of voting, Meri received 196 votes and parliamentary deputy speaker
Arnold Ruutel 126; 44 college members abstained and six cast invalid
ballots. In the first round, which took place earlier that day to decide
who should take part in the run-off, Meri received 139 votes, Ruutel 85,
Tunne Kelam of the Fatherland Union 79, computer specialist Enn Tougu
47, and deputy leader of the Center Party Siiri Oviir 25. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN ELECTION CAMPAIGN KICKS OFF. The official campaign for
parliamentary elections began on 20 September, Radio Lithuania reported.
The campaign will end 30 hours before polls open on 20 October. Twenty-
four parties and 17 independent candidates will compete in the
elections. Voters will cast two ballots: the first for a candidate in
one of the 71 individual districts, the second for a political party.
Parties that receive more than 5% of the vote will gain representation
in the 141-seat legislature. Campaign funding is strictly limited.
Parties are not allowed to spend more than 700,000 litai ($175,000) and
independent candidates 33,000 litai. -- Saulius Girnius

RADIATION INCREASES AROUND CHERNOBYL. The Ukrainian Ministry for
Environmental protection has admitted that there have been two detected
increases in radioactivity around Chernobyl's No. 4 reactor,
international agencies reported on 20 September. At the same time, it
stressed that there has been no effect on the environment. The radiation
releases occurred on 12 and 16 September. An examination of the exterior
of the sarcophagus did not reveal what caused the radiation increase; it
is not possible to examine the inside. Similar unexplained increases in
radiation occurred in June 1990 and January 1996. -- Ustina Markus

RUSSIA TO HELP FUND BELARUSIAN AIR DEFENSE FORCES? Belarusian President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka has said that Russia will finance part of the
Belarusian air defense forces, Russian Public TV reported on 22
September. Lukashenka noted he reached an agreement to that effect with
Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov during his "secret blitz-visit"
to Moscow on 7 September. Russia's Defense Ministry has not confirmed
Lukashenka's statement. Russian Public TV noted that in the absence of
information on Lukashenka's visit to Moscow, the Belarusian president
has been freely interpreting what happened at meetings there.
Nezavisimaya gazeta on 18 September wrote that Moscow is becoming an
arbitrator in the political dispute between the president and parliament
in Belarus. Lukashenka is reportedly courting the Russian military
because he has fallen out of favor with Russia's gas and oil lobby as
well as the Russian prime minister. -- Ustina Markus

COMPROMISE IN SIGHT IN BELARUSIAN POLITICAL STRUGGLE? Deputies have
voted 105 to 28 in favor of canceling the parliamentary referendum on a
new constitution if the president cancels his proposed plebiscite,
international agencies reported on 20-21 September. The deputies have
proposed abolishing the presidency, while Lukashenka wants a new
constitution that would greatly increase the president's powers. Pro-
presidential deputies denounced the "zero option," but the president
said he is ready to reconsider some parts of his referendum questions,
including the proposal to grant former presidents life-long seats in the
parliament. He also stressed that the current versions of his draft
constitution and referendum questions are not necessarily final.
Meanwhile, Radio Rossii reported that 60% of Belarusians live at or
below the poverty line. More than 70% blame government structures for
declining living standards, while 40% blame Lukashenka. -- Ustina Markus

POLISH, BELARUSIAN PREMIERS MEET. Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz and Mikhail
Chyhir, meeting in Bialystok in eastern Poland on 21 September, signed
an agreement to increase the number of crossing points on the Polish-
Belarusian border, international reported. Cimoszewicz said Poland has
started to build a new large customs terminal for trucks near Terespol.
Work is under way to expand two other checkpoints. The premiers' talks
also focused on ethnic minorities in the two countries. Some 350,000
Belarusians live in Poland and an estimated 500,000 Poles in Belarus.
After their meeting, they visited a school in Kleszczele, in
northeastern Poland, where all classes are held in Belarusian. They then
traveled to Hrodna in Belarus to open a Polish school there. -- Jakub
Karpinski

POLAND CHOOSES ISRAELI OVER U.S. MISSILE. The Polish Defense Committee
has tentatively decided to equip the army's new combat helicopters with
an Israeli anti-tank missile rather than a U.S. one, a government
official announced on 20 September. Reuters quoted Leszek Miller as
saying that a group of Polish military experts will go to Israel in
November to further evaluate the "Raphael" missiles. U.S. officials have
been pressuring Poland to buy Rockwell's "Hellfire" missile for the 150
Huzar helicopters it plans to purchase. -- Doug Clarke

CZECH PREMIER'S PARTY SUPPORTS FINANCE MINISTER. The Executive Council
of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party on 21 September
expressed support for Finance Minister Ivan Kocarnik and rejected calls
for his dismissal as "politically motivated attacks," Czech media
reported. The opposition Social Democrats have demanded that Kocarnik be
recalled from his post, blaming him for the 2 billion crown ($75
million) losses resulting from the recent collapse of the Kreditni
banka. Although Kocarnik knew in advance that the bank would collapse,
he did not warn the Czech Customs Administration, which had deposited 2
billion crowns in the bank. Kocarnik, a member of the country's
supervisory banking committee, argues he would have broken laws on
banking secrecy if he had warned the customs administration. Meanwhile,
Czech media reported on 21 September that Kocarnik has lost the support
of the coalition of the People's Party and the Christian and Democratic
Union. Under the Czech Constitution, the parliament cannot deliver a
vote of non-confidence in individual ministers. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PREMIER CRITICAL OF OPPOSITION ATTEMPTS TO OUST CULTURE MINISTER.
Vladimir Meciar, in an interview with Slovak Radio on 20 September,
criticized the parliamentary opposition for trying twice last week to
oust Culture Minister Ivan Hudec. Meciar argued that opposition attempts
to call votes of non-confidence in Hudec are designed "to make the
cabinet nervous." He commented that "the opposition is supposed to
oppose, not to destroy." In the same interview, Meciar also remarked
that the Hungarian cabinet is beginning to "confront nationalism
issues." He noted that the Hungarian government is faced with the
question of whether to accept European standards and join integration
processes or give in to pressure from Hungarian nationalists. Meciar
said that recent steps taken by Gyula Horn's cabinet were "positive." --
Jiri Pehe

TRANSYLVANIAN PAPER CRITICIZES TEXT OF HUNGARIAN-ROMANIAN BASIC TREATY.
The Hungarian-language daily Szabadsag, published in the Transylvanian
city of Cluj, says there are "startling differences" between the
Romanian-Hungarian draft treaty and the version signed last week in
Timisoara, Magyar Hirlap reported on 23 September. According to
Szabadsag, the final text leaves key issues open to interpretation,
despite public assurances that the treaty would be worded so precisely
as to bind each signatory to take specific measures. The opposition has
said it will raise the issue in the parliament, while Foreign Minister
Laszlo Kovacs claimed any modifications are strictly of a "stylistic
nature." In other news, former Polish President Lech Walesa, during his
three-day visit to Budapest, met with Hungarian President Arpad Goncz,
opposition leaders, and Reformed Bishop Laszlo Tokes of the Democratic
Federation of Hungarians in Romania. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

BOSNIAN VOTE TALLY THROWN OUT... The OSCE body that supervised the 14
September elections has said it has withdrawn its earlier, tentative
elections returns, international media reported on 22 September.
Spokesmen said there were numerous computer mistakes and other technical
errors, such as counting some polling stations' figures twice. Hrair
Balian of the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG), which has been
critical of the elections, called the tally "a royal mess," adding that
the OSCE's conduct throughout the poll was "irresponsible" and that its
mismanagement invited challenges from nationalists who wanted to
discredit the entire electoral process. The ICG had noted earlier that
the returns showed that 104% of the total electorate had voted, the
International Herald Tribune reported on 21 September. The Sunday Times
suggested the next day that 107% of the Muslims had cast ballots. The
turnout in the 1990 elections was 74%. -- Patrick Moore

...BUT IZETBEGOVIC DECLARED HEAD OF BOSNIAN PRESIDENCY IN RECOUNT. The
OSCE nonetheless quickly backtracked and declared that a recount had
shown Alija Izetbegovic to be the presidential candidate with the
highest number of votes. What the OSCE called "preliminary final
results" gave 731,024 votes to Izetbegovic, 690,130 to the Serbian
candidate Momcilo Krajisnik, and 329,891 to the Croatian Kresimir Zubak,
Reuters reported. Izetbegovic's original margin of victory had been
26,000 votes. The OSCE is not expected to announce final results before
this Saturday, which is one week later than expected. The parties will
then have 72 hours to register complaints, which the OSCE, in turn, has
72 hours to consider. Only then will it decide on the validity of the
vote. The OSCE has been talking about holding municipal elections on 22-
24 November, but the imbroglio surrounding the previous vote makes such
an early date increasingly unlikely. Meanwhile, OMRI's special
correspondent reported from Sarajevo on 23 September that the OSCE has
closed its press center there. -- Patrick Moore

NATO CONFISCATES GUNS FROM ARMED MUSLIMS. IFOR peacekeeping forces on 21
September confiscated a dozen or so weapons found among a group of
Muslims who had returned to repair houses in a Muslim village in the
Bosnian Serb entity within a separation zone where weapons are banned,
Oslobodjenje reported on 23 September. Major Brett Boudreau said IFOR is
waiting to see if this was another "flash point" or if it indicated a
legitimate return of Muslims to their villages. Meanwhile, the Bosnian
Serb authorities on 20 September sacked the Prijedor police chief in
line with a NATO ultimatum for his dismissal following an incident with
IFOR troops earlier that week (see OMRI Daily Digest, 20 September
1996), AFP reported. In other news, Bosnian Serbs said they will boycott
arbitration talks over the northern town of Brcko because the maps of
the disputed region have not been made public, Oslobodjenje reported. --
Daria Sito Sucic

UN CRITICIZES CROATIA. The UN Security Council on 20 September
criticized Croatia for "numerous incidents" in areas it has retaken from
rebel Serbs, which, it said, are threatening efforts to reintegrate
refugees and displaced persons, AFP reported. The UN expressed concern
about the security of both Serbian refugees and human rights workers.
Ivan Zvonimir Cicak, head of the Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human
Rights, welcomed the UN statement, particularly its references to the
frequent attacks on and threat to human rights activists in Croatia. The
Croatian parliament the same day adopted a law amnestying Serbs who
fought against Croatia but excluding war criminals and those who
violated human rights. Meanwhile, Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic
on 22 September left for New York to attend a UN General Assembly
session and discuss the situation in eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-
held part of Croatia, Hina reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIAN UNIONS THREATEN STRIKES. Trade union officials told AFP on 21
September that urgent action must be taken to fight unemployment, which
has drastically increased following layoffs in the shipbuilding, textile
and oil industries as well as the large number of demobilized soldiers
on the labor market. Hasim Bahtijari, spokesman for the trade unions'
umbrella organization, said demonstrations will be organized at the
national and regional level "because the social situation has got worse
since last year and the government has not responded to our demands."
Croatian Trade Minister Davor Stern says unemployment is about 12% or
13%, but the unions estimate it is as high as 22%. Trade union officials
said industrial restructuring is one of the reasons why people have been
laid off, and they recommend businesses to opt for early retirements
instead of layoffs. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SERBIAN OPPOSITION LEADER CONVICTED OF LIBEL. Democratic Party (DS)
leader Zoran Djindjic on 20 September received a suspended four-month
prison sentence after being found guilty of libel, Beta reported.
Djindjic has 15 days to appeal the Belgrade court ruling. Djindjic was
charged with libel after running an advertisement earlier this year in
Nedeljni Telegraf suggesting that Serbian Premier Mirko Marjanovic had
been involved in the misappropriaton of grain and gas supplies.
Dragoljub Belic, editor of Nedeljni Telegraf and Djindjic's co-
defendant, was acquitted. Djindjic maintained throughout his trial that
he did not intend to embarrass or belittle Marjanovic but to make the
public aware of government abuse of authority. -- Stan Markotich

RUMP YUGOSLAV PREMIER IN ROMANIA. Radoje Kontic on 22 September ended a
three-day official visit to Romania, Radio Bucharest reported. Kontic
met with his Romanian counterpart, Nicolae Vacaroiu, Foreign Minister
Teodor Melescanu, Senate Chairman Oliviu Gherman, Chamber of Deputy
Chairman Adrian Nastase, and President Ion Iliescu, who noted that the
lifting of the economic embargo on Serbia and Montenegro will help
"revitalize" bilateral economic relations. The two countries signed
agreements aimed at boosting cooperation in agriculture, tourism,
industry, and trade. Romania also pledged to back Yugoslavia's efforts
to reintegrate into the international community. The two countries
signed a basic treaty in May. -- Dan Ionescu

BULGARIAN-GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER SIGN ACCORDS. Georgi Pirinski and
Theodoros Pangalos, meeting in the Bulgarian town of Smoliyan on 19
September, signed two accords on the use of strategic water reserves and
the opening of three new checkpoints, Reuters reported. Bulgaria will
guarantee 29% control over the average annual Maritsa River flow to
Greece. According to Trud, Greece has controlled 80% of the flow until
now owing to Bulgaria's lack of funds to construct new reservoirs. This
accord ends a year-long dispute. The three new checkpoints-- at Gotse
Deltchev-Drama, Smolian-Xanti, and Kardzhali-Komotini--are to be
financed by the EU PHARE Program and INTERREG II. Last week, Bulgaria
began transitting Russian natural gas to Greece, which is the second
country--after Turkey-- to receive Russian gas via Bulgarian territory.
-- Maria Koinova

BULGARIAN PENSIONS RAISED. The Bulgarian National Insurance Institute on
20 September announced that as of 7 October, pensions will increase by
30% to take into account inflation, the Bulgarian press reported. The
minimum pension has been set at 2808 leva ($11), while the average
pension is to be 5712 leva and a ceiling has been imposed at 8424 leva.
According to Social Minister Mintcho Koralski, "there is no shortage of
funds for either pensioners or the unemployed." In the meantime, 24
Chasa reported that prices for electricity and heating will rise by 14 %
beginning 1 October. -- Maria Koinova

ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTION UPDATE. President Sali Berisha on 20 September
issued a decree appointing new members of the Central Electoral
Commission, following an agreement with the opposition reached earlier
this month. That body, in turn, has appointed 36 district commissions, a
Tirana municipality commission, and a watchdog body to ensure fair
public TV and radio coverage, ATSH reported. Meanwhile, the lustration
commission has rejected five of the Democratic Party's 140 mayoralty
candidates. It has not yet investigated opposition candidates. Koha Jone
reported on 20 September that the Center Pole coalition has still not
decided whether to take part in the ballot or not. Imprisoned Socialist
Party leader Fatos Nano called on his party to participate in the
ballot. -- Fabian Schmidt

DID POLIO EPIDEMIC REACH ALBANIA FROM CHECHNYA VIA TURKEY? UNICEF
vaccination expert Martin Bruno told AFP on 20 September that he
believes the polio epidemic in Albania may have originated in Chechnya.
Seventy-five cases have been reported in Albania since April, and seven
Albanians have died from the disease. Bruno pointed out that this year's
immunization program in Chechnya included only 58% of children due to
the civil war. Some 150 polio cases have been reported there. He added
that the disease probably reached Albania via Turkey, where 10 cases
have been registered. The World Health Organization is to launch a mass
vaccination program targeting some 3 million Albanians. -- Fabian
Schmidt

SOCIALISTS WIN GREEK ELECTIONS. Prime Minister Kostas Simitis's Pan-
Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) has won the 22 September elections,
gaining 41.5% of the vote (162 seats in the 300-member parliament),
international media reported. New Democracy came second, with 38.17%
(108 seats). Simitis ran an election campaign supporting membership in
the European currency union and tough monetary policy. He also
capitalized on nationalist sentiments over Greece's relations with
Turkey and the Cyprus dispute. His new cabinet is to be announced on 24
September. Observers speculated that Education Minister George
Papandreou, the son of late socialist leader Andreas Papandreou, may
replace Theodoros Pangalos as foreign minister. Pangalos has failed to
win strong support for Greece from within the EU over its disputes with
Turkey. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc.
                      All rights reserved. ISSN 1211-1570
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              SUBSCRIBING/UNSUBSCRIBING
1) Compose a message to LISTSERV@UBVM.CC.BUFFALO.EDU
2) To subscribe, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI-L FirstName LastName (include your own name)
   To unsubscribe, write:
     UNSUBSCRIBE OMRI-L
3) Send the message

                                    BACK ISSUES
Back issues of the OMRI Daily Digest are available through the World
Wide Web, by FTP and by E-mail.
WWW
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/Index.html

FTP
ftp://194.108.1.176/Pub/DailyDigest/

E-Mail
Send the words "index daily-digest" to MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ


                                  REPRINT POLICY
To receive a copy of OMRI's reprint policy, contact OMRIPUB@OMRI.CZ
or see the Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Digests/DigestReprint.html

                              OTHER OMRI PUBLICATIONS

TRANSITION
OMRI publishes the biweekly journal TRANSITION, which contains expanded
analysis of many of the topics in the Daily Digest. For subscription
information send an e-mail to TRANSITION@OMRI.CZ or visit the Transition
Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Publications/Transition/TransitionInfo.html


ECONOMIC DIGEST
The OMRI Economic Digest is for those who need more detailed economic
news from the region. There is a four-week free trial subscription
available; for more information, write to ECON@OMRI.CZ or go to the
Economic Digest Web page at
http://www.omri.cz/Econ/Info.html


OMRI RUSSIAN REGIONAL REPORT
The OMRI Russian Regional Report is a weekly publication (published
every Wednesday) on initially focusing on the local elections taking
place throughout Russia during the Fall of 1996. After the election
season is over, the Russian Regional Report will continue, turning to
broader social, political and economic issues of Russia's regions. To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE REGIONS YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


PURSUING BALKAN PEACE
Pursuing Balkan Peace focuses on the implementation of the Dayton
Accords in the former Yugoslavia.  This weekly publication, published
every Tuesday, contains both brief news summaries and longer essays on
specific events or issues facing the people of the region.  To
subscribe, please follow these instructions:
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@OMRI.CZ
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE BALKAN-PEACE YourName
   Fill in your own first and last names where shown
3) Send the message


RUSSIAN-LANGUAGE OMRI DAILY DIGEST
The full text of the OMRI Daily Digest is translated into Russian and
distributed the following day.
1) Compose a message to:
     MAJORDOMO@ISF.RU
2) In the body of the message, write:
     SUBSCRIBE OMRI YourName
   Fill in your own name where shown
3) Send the message

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole