I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 203, Part II, 18 October 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

UKRAINE ADOPTS LAW ON CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. The Ukrainian legislature
finally approved a law on the Constitutional Court on 16 October, UNIAN
and Ukrainian Radio reported. The next day, President Leonid Kuchma
signed it. While deputies failed to elect the final two justices to the
18-member panel, they did reach agreement over the disputed Article 13,
which states that the court has the exclusive right to officially
interpret the new constitution and legislation adopted by parliament,
president, government, or Crimean authorities. Meanwhile, thousands
gathered in Kyiv and other cities to take part in rallies organized by
the Federation of Trade Unions, Ukrainian and international agencies
reported. The protesters demanded that the government pay off its huge
wage debt by 1 January, They also complained about mass hidden
unemployment, which is not reflected in the official 0.9% rate. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

UKRAINE'S RESPONSE TO DUMA'S VOTE ON BLACK SEA FLEET. Ukraine's Foreign
Ministry has criticized the Russian State Duma's vote to pass a law on
halting the division of the Black Sea Fleet, Ukrainian Radio reported on
17 October. Deputy Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryshchenko said the
ministry cannot help but be concerned over the Duma's territorial claims
on Ukraine, even if the Russian government distanced itself from the
Duma's position. He demanded an official explanation from Russia. AFP
reported Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksander Kuzmuk as saying the Duma
law will not improve Russian-Ukrainian relations. He noted that Ukraine
and Russia have reached a compromise allowing Russia temporary use of
the Sevastopol base because, he said, Ukraine understands that time and
money are needed to build a new base in Russia. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUSIAN REFERENDUM UPDATE. Some 1,000 representatives of opposition
parties are meeting in Minsk today at a National Congress intended to
compete with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's All Belarusian Congress,
Belarusian media reported. The National Congress will set up a tribunal
to examine all illegal acts by the president, his administration, and
his so-called "vertical structures." The All Belarusian Congress is to
convene on 19 October to debate Lukashenka's draft of a new
constitution; some 5,000 delegates are expected. Reuters reported U.S.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns as calling on Lukashenka to
begin talks with the parliament. Meanwhile, President Boris Yeltsin
noted that the exacerbation of the political situation in Belarus does
not conform with Russia's long-term strategic interests, Komsomolskaya
Pravda reported on 17 October. Lukashenka is currently in Russia for
talks with his Russian counterpart. -- Ustina Markus and Sergei
Solodovnikov

ESTONIAN OPPOSITION SEEKS EARLY ELECTIONS. Leaders of the Pro Patria
Union, the Right-Wingers, and the Moderates have called for early
elections following the defeat of their motion to reject the draft
budget, BNS reported on 17 October. They argued that the ruling
coalition was acting as if it were about to collapse. Interior Minister
Mart Rask of the Reform Party threatened to resign if more money was not
allocated to his ministry, while Foreign Minister Siim Kallas claimed
that Prime Minister Tiit Vahi was demonstrating "Soviet-style behavior
and nervousness." The ruling coalition rejected holding early elections,
saying tension within the government was primarily due to the upcoming
local elections. -- Saulius Girnius

UPDATE ON LATVIAN-LITHUANIAN BORDER DISPUTE. Lithuanian Prime Minister
Mindaugas Stankevicius on 17 October said he was still awaiting a reply
from his Latvian counterpart, Andris Skele, on his proposal that the two
countries should hold trilateral talks with the AMOCO and OPAB oil
companies on possible oil exploration, BNS reported. He also noted that
he would support the recent suggestion by G-24 ambassadors that third-
party experts help determine the sea border. Latvian border delegation
head Maris Riekstins, however, said Latvia would not agree to hold
trilateral talks, noting that its earlier discussions with AMOCO had
taken four years to complete. Meanwhile, Lithuanian President Algirdas
Brazauskas on 17 October told the European Parliament's foreign and
security committee that it should consider the cost of not granting EU
and NATO membership to Lithuania rather than the cost of doing so, Radio
Lithuania reported. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE APPROVES DRAFT LANGUAGE LAW. The Polish
government's socio-economic committee on 16 October approved a draft
language law drawn up by the Culture Ministry, Polish dailies reported.
The law stipulates that labels on commodities and shop signs be in
Polish. The Culture Ministry, in consultation with the Polish Language
Council, will impose penalties for infringements of the law. The
government's legislative committee must now approve the draft before the
cabinet decides whether to send it to the parliament. The bill is
intended to replace a 1945 decree saying that Polish is the state
language. Language experts have criticized English and German influences
on the Polish language, which, they point out, are most evident on shop
signs. -- Jakub Karpinski

CONTROVERSY OVER 1949 POLISH-SWISS ACCORD. The Polish Ministry of
Foreign Affairs is to investigate allegations by U.S. Senator Alfonse
D'Amato that Poland made a secret deal with Switzerland in 1949 allowing
it to seize bank accounts of Polish citizens, mainly Jews, to compensate
Swiss citizens for property confiscated by the Polish communist regime,
international media reported on 18 October. A ministry spokesman
confirmed the existence of an agreement on Polish citizens' assets
deposited in Swiss banks, but he did not reveal its content. The Swiss
Foreign Affairs Ministry denied there had been a secret Polish-Swiss
deal on Jewish property. PAP reported that the only relevant document,
which D'Amato has obtained, is the U.S. government's demarche protesting
the Swiss parliament's decision to return to Poland the property of
Polish citizens who died without any heirs. -- Beata Pasek

WHO WILL COMPETE IN CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS? Czech media on 18 October
reported that 569 candidates have made the 16 October deadline for
registering to compete in the Senate elections next month. The Central
Electoral Commission had disqualified almost 100 candidates for making
mistakes in filling out their applications, but the Supreme Court and
the Constitutional Court both ruled that most of the disqualified
candidates can compete. Eight cases still have to be decided. Should
those candidates be allowed to run, the ballot in their districts may
have to be postponed or the registration deadline moved. The only party
that will compete in all 81 districts is Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party. The Communists are fielding 80 candidates and
the Social Democrats 79. Only 60 of the 569 candidates are women. --
Jiri Pehe

SLOVAK PRESIDENT ASKS EU TO OVERLOOK DOMESTIC POLITICAL CONFLICTS.
Michal Kovac, during his two-day official visit to Brussels to meet with
top EU and NATO representatives, told European Commission President
Jacques Santer that internal political disagreements should not be the
only factor in evaluating Slovakia's bid for EU membership, Slovak media
reported. Kovac pointed to the country's good macroeconomic results,
including GDP growth over 7%, inflation under 6%, and a small foreign
debt. He also said he thinks the West's view of the situation in
Slovakia is broadly correct and objective. Reuters reported him as
saying that "the West is criticizing the same things I myself have been
criticizing." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION ROUNDUP. Representatives of all Slovak opposition
parties met on 17 October in an effort to implement democratic changes,
Slovak media reported. The parties demanded the dismissal of Agriculture
Minister Peter Baco and Culture Minister Ivan Hudec. They also stressed
that the no-confidence vote in Education Minister Eva Slavkovska will go
ahead as scheduled during the upcoming parliament session and that
"democratization" proposals on the secret service, privatization, and
the radio and TV boards will be made. The parties said the adjournment
of two controversial cases related to the Michal Kovac Jr. kidnapping
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 16 October 1996) demonstrates that the coalition
fears the results of an in-depth investigation. -- Sharon Fisher

OFFICIAL SAYS HUNGARIAN POLITICS NEED CLEANSING. Peter Hack, deputy
caucus leader of the junior coalition party Alliance of Free Democrats
(SZDSZ), has said that it is necessary to "internally cleanse" the
party, just as it is necessary to cleanse Hungarian politics in general,
Magyar Hirlap reported on 18 October. "Unless this happens in time, the
political elite could sink into a morass of corruption, and a situation
could develop similar to that in Italy in 1990," he added. Meanwhile,
the opposition Young Democrats have responded to a letter from Prime
Minister Gyula Horn in which he said that interference in the
privatization process is unconstitutional. They demanded that the
privatization process be suspended and said that if any governing party
is implicated in the recent privatization scandal, Hungary's democratic
foundations would be shaken. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

NEW RULES FOR BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The OSCE's Provisional Election
Commission (PEC), convening in Sarajevo on 17 October, decided on
registration rules for the 23-24 November local vote. Refugees will be
allowed to register to vote only where they lived in 1991 or where they
have lived since the end of 1995, Reuters and Oslobodjenje reported.
They will no longer be permitted to sign up for a place where they
simply say they intend to live. The local elections were postponed last
month because of massive fraud in registering refugees to vote in
strategic towns where they had never resided. All three sides engaged in
the practice, but the fraud was particularly blatant among the Serbs.
The Bosnian Serb authorities are expected to protest the new OSCE
ruling, PEC spokesmen said. Meanwhile, the Muslim Party of Democratic
Action wants the fate of the strategic Serb-held northern town of Brcko
to be decided before the local vote, AFP noted. The Dayton agreement
left the issue open for international arbitration before 14 December. --
Patrick Moore

IFOR GETS TOUGH WITH MUSLIM MILITARY. NATO peacekeepers have placed a
republic-wide ban on parades by the mainly Muslim Bosnian army following
an unauthorized one in east Mostar, Oslobodjenje reported on 18 October.
The targeted corps may not train for a week, nor may any other unit
train in the area during that time. The parade ban is of indefinite
duration. IFOR stumbled upon the display when it unwittingly took two
Turkish officers to the site to participate. Elsewhere, IFOR also
protested remarks made at another ceremony by Gen. Atif Dudakovic, Onasa
noted on 17 October. The politically active general said that "Dayton
allowed for a reunited Bosnia, including Banja Luka and Bijeljina, which
will be ours in the next war." He also stated that "children should wave
toy guns, not flowers." An IFOR spokesman commented that those remarks
were "unhelpful to the peace process." -- Patrick Moore

SERBS BULLDOZE FORMER MOSQUE SITE IN BANJA LUKA. Bosnian Serbs have
begun bulldozing the site of the Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka, which
was blown up three years ago, Oslobodjenje reported on 18 October. A
spokesman for the Office of the High Representative for Bosnia said the
act was probably aimed at persuading Muslim deputies in the Serbian
parliament not to attend its inaugural assembly, scheduled for 19
October in Banja Luka. The spokesman said that Michael Steiner, High
Representative Carl Bildt's deputy, has gone to Banja Luka to demand
that work on the site stop and to seek a meeting with Bosnian Serb
President Biljana Plavsic. -- Daria Sito Sucic

FORMER YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR DEFINITELY OUT OF ELECTION RACE. Rajko
Nisavic, head of the federal electoral commission, has confirmed that
Dragoslav Avramovic, former governor of the National Bank of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia, will not take part in the 3 November elections,
Nasa Borba reported on 18 October. Avramov wrote to Nisavic informing
him of his decision. The former bank governor has also resigned as head
of the electoral opposition list "Zajedno [Together]--Dragoslav
Avramovic." Nasa Borba had reported last week that Avramovic would
resign owing to "aggravated health conditions." The newspaper also
speculated that pressure from the authorities may have been the main
reason (see OMRI Daily Digest, 10 October 1996). -- Stan Markotich

AMNESTIED CROATIAN SERBS RE-ARRESTED. According to Croatia's Helsinki
Committee for Human Rights, at least two Serbs recently released from
prison under an amnesty law have been re-arrested and charged with war
crimes, international agencies reported on 18 October. Committee head
Ivan Zvonimir Cicak said his organization fears there are more such
cases and is trying to confirm three or four others. But, Serbs who
returned to Belgrade say the Croats have re-arrested at least 23
amnestied Serbs who were waiting in a camp for Croatian approval to
leave for Belgrade. Those who arrived in Belgrade said they feared for
the safety of those still imprisoned in Croatia. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CROATIA RECEIVES LOAN WORTH 200 MILLION DM. A union of 28 foreign banks
from 12 countries has granted Croatia a DM 200 million loan, Hina
reported on 17 October. Croatian Finance Minister Bozo Prka said the
loan will be used for investment projects and capital expenditures. It
will not damage the country's economic stability, he added. Interest on
the loan is less than 6% and repayment is over two years. The loan has
been described as the "cheapest and largest" granted to Croatia so far.
-- Daria Sito Sucic

MOLDOVAN ELECTION UPDATE. Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli has denied
press reports that he is about to withdraw from the upcoming
presidential elections in favor of parliamentary chairman Petru
Lucinschi, Infotag reported on 16 October. Sangheli said he is aware
that if President Mircea Snegur wins the November elections, the
president will dismiss him as premier. Meanwhile, the number of
candidates officially registered with the Central Electoral Commission
now stands at eight. Infotag on 17 October reported that Anatol Plugaru,
a 45-year-old former minister of national security, and 38-year-old
Veronica Abramchuk, who heads the Department for National Relations,
have registered as candidates. Abramchuk is a member of the Socialist
Party, but both she and Plugaru are running as independents. -- Michael
Shafir

DID DNIESTER-BASED RUSSIAN TROOPS BACK LEBED? Aleksandr Baranov, deputy
commander of the Dniester-based Russian garrison, has denied a Radio
Moscow report claiming the garrison sent telegrams of support to Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed, BASA-press reported on 17 October. Baranov also refuted
that the garrison was on alert. The Radio Moscow report was broadcast
only several hours before Lebed was dismissed by President Boris
Yeltsin. -- Michael Shafir

BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT FAILS TO SET UP COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE LUKANOV
KILLING. The parliament on 17 October postponed voting on the
establishment of a commission to investigate the killing of former Prime
Minister Andrey Lukanov, Pari reported. Parliamentary Deputy President
Nora Ananieva's proposal to form the commission was initially supported
by deputies from all factions, but legislators were unable to agree on
the lineup of that body. The ruling Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), to
which Lukanov had belonged, insisted on an 11-member commission
reflecting the strength of the various caucuses. Under that proposal,
the BSP would have had six seats. The ruling party rejected the proposal
that more seats be distributed among the other parliamentary parties,
prompting the opposition to withdraw its support for the motion. --
Stefan Krause

BULGARIAN PRIME INTEREST RATE CUT. The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) on
17 October cut the monthly prime interest rate from 25% to 20%,
international media reported. Less than a month ago, the interest rate
was hiked considerably (see OMRI Daily Digest, 25 September 1996).
Standard commented that the new rate is intended to "trick" the
electorate before the 27 October presidential elections. Trud noted that
only one day earlier, BNB Governor Lyubomir Filipov had said there were
no objective reasons to cut the interest rate. No current BNB official
commented on the move, but former Deputy Governor Emil Harsev said this
decision will barely affect the economy. However, the Bulgarian media
believes that the lev will lose strongly against the U.S. dollar now and
that the prices of all goods will go up immediately. -- Maria Koinova

MORE OBSERVERS WITHDRAW FROM ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS. The OSCE's
Parliamentary Assembly has withdrawn its 19 monitors for the Albanian
elections, following the example of the Office for Democratic
Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Reuters reported. The OSCE issued
a statement saying that the Albanian authorities' decision not to accept
the ODIHR's list of 37 observers is "extremely regrettable [and]
unacceptable within internationally accepted observation criteria."
According to the OSCE's 1990 Copenhagen Human Dimensions Document,
participating states are committed to admit observers from "any other
participating states and any appropriate private institutions." The
Albanian government has accepted only 15 ODIHR accreditations for the 20
October elections. However, the U.S., Italy, and the Council of Europe
will send monitors. -- Fabian Schmidt

KOSOVO ALBANIAN ARRESTED IN TIRANA FOR SELLING MARXIST LITERATURE. An
Albanian court has sentenced 37-year-old Nusret Recica from Kosovo to 10
months in prison for disseminating "anti-constitutional propaganda," AFP
reported on 18 October. Recica was arrested for selling works by Marx,
Lenin, and former Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha on the streets of
Tirana. Marxist writings and those of former Albanian communist leaders
have been banned since April 1992. -- Dukagjin Gorani

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

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