To get rid of an enemy, one must love him. - Leo Tolstoy
OMRI DAILY DIGEST No. 205, Part II, 22 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 ************************************************************************ Do you need sharply focused economic news? OMRI's weekly Economic Digest provides thorough coverage of business and financial developments throughout the region. The latest issue includes stories on the failure of the grain harvest in Ukraine, Russia's Gazprom ideas on expaning in Europe, and the establishment of a special economic zone in Kazakstan. For subscription and rate information, please send a message to econ@omri.cz *********************************************************************** CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT REFUSES TO RESCIND ITS REFERENDUM. Following a call by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the All Belarusian Congress for the parliament not to hold its referendum on an alternative constitution, legislators met on 21 October to discuss the issue. Russian Public TV reported that it was immediately apparent at the meeting that legislators had no intention of withdrawing their draft constitution, which would abolish the Presidency. Deputy parliamentary speaker Vasil Novikau said 84 deputies initiated the move to hold a referendum on the parliament's draft constitution and that 73 more deputies later signed up in support of the initiative. Novikau said the parliament was prepared to withdraw its draft constitution from a referendum only if the president would withdraw his. He added that Lukashenka's appeal was not a compromise but an ultimatum. -- Ustina Markus GUNMEN FIRE ON BELARUSIAN DEPUTY PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER'S CAR. A car intended to transport Genadz Karpenka was attacked on 21 October in downtown Minsk, ITAR-TASS reported. Unidentified gunmen shot at the car, which belonged to one of Karpenka's friends. Parliament will discuss the incident. Meanwhile, Karpenka, an outspoken critic of President Aleksandr Lukashenka, has asked for an investigation to be launched, since he does not exclude political motives for the shooting. -- Sergei Solodovnikov NEW STATE-OWNED COMPANY TO CONTROL ALL NUCLEAR POWER IN UKRAINE . . . The Ukrainian government has announced the establishment of Enerhoatom, a state-owned company to oversee all five of the country's nuclear power plants, Ukrainian and Western agencies reported on 21 October. The new company allows the government to strengthen its monopoly on nuclear power output, sales, and prices. Previously, the state-run stations were financially separate. The firm will also manage all foreign aid for shutting down Chornobyl. -- Chrystyna Lapychak . . . WHILE CHORNOBYL REACTOR SHUT DOWN. Reactor Number 3 at the Chernobyl nuclear power station has been closed because of a fault in its cooling system, international media reported on 21 October. Nuclear safety officials said that an incident the previous day at the reactor has been classified at "zero level" on an international scale for nuclear accidents. Repairs will last until 26 October. Reactor Number 3 is one of only two still functioning at Chornobyl. It is due to be permanently closed in 1999. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN U.S. Hennadii Udovenko arrived in Washington on 21 October for an official visit, Ukrainian Radio reported. He met with his U.S. counterpart, Warren Christopher, to discuss NATO expansion, issues related to the "NATO-Russia-Ukraine triangle," European security, and U.S.-Ukrainian cooperation in Bosnia. Udovenko also met with First Deputy State Secretary Strobe Talbott, Defense Secretary William Perry, and National Security Advisor Anthony Lake. He noted that Ukraine wanted to maintain a permanent and ongoing dialogue with the U.S. -- Ustina Markus UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX PATRIARCH RESIGNS. A synod of hierarchs of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church announced that Patriarch Dymytrii Yarema has resigned, Radio Ukraine reported on 21 October. No reason was given for his resignation, but the hierarchs published a statement quelling rumors that Dymytrii had issued an edict dissolving the Church. The bishops elected Metropolitan Vasylii of Ternopil and Volyn to run the Church until a sobor of Church hierarchy and laity, scheduled to convene on 12 December, elects a new patriarch. The hierarchs also voted to bar another hierarch, Bishop Ihor of Kharkiv and Poltava, from the Church. -- Chrystyna Lapychak LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION UPDATE. Counting votes in the 20 October elections is proceeding slowly. With results in from 1,726 of the 2,037 voting districts, the Homeland Union (Conservatives of Lithuania) (TS[LK]) has won 29.4% of the vote, the Christian Democratic Party (KDP) 10.3%, the Democratic Labor Party 9.8%, the Center Union (CS) 8.2%, and the Social Democratic Party 6.8%. Although it is likely that the TS(LK) and the KDP will be able to gain a majority in the second round of voting, TS(LK) Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis has said that he will ask the CS to join if necessary, Radio Lithuania reported. Candidates from at least 10 other parties will also compete in the second round. -- Saulius Girnius LATVIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. The chairman of the Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS), Ziedonis Cevers, has resigned as deputy prime minister, charging that Prime Minister Andris Skele is trying to establish authoritarian rule, BNS reported on 21 October. Cevers also criticized the draft budget as disadvantaging "ordinary people." He said he plans to return to the Saeima as a deputy. Reportedly, he will not submit a report on drafting a national security concept that was due today. Skele accepted the resignation and noted he was planning to abolish the posts of the four other deputy prime ministers. -- Saulius Girnius SOLIDARITY TO CONSULT WITH GERMAN OFFICE OVER PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATES. Joachim Gauck, director of the German office in charge of the former East German secret service (Stasi) files, met on 21 October in Poland with Polish Solidarity trade union leaders and leaders of Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS), Rzeczpospolita reported. The AWS is considering consulting Gauck's institute on its candidates for the 1997 parliamentary elections and intends to take into consideration lists of Stasi collaborators submitted to the Polish parliament in 1992 by Antoni Macierewicz, at the time internal affairs minister. The AWS candidates are to be asked to answer an "ethical questionnaire," which will include questions about their collaboration with the secret police. According to Stanislaw Alot, member of the AWS coordinating team, the answers to those questionnaires will be verified after the AWS enters the parliament. -- Jakub Karpinski GREEK PRESIDENT IN POLAND. Kostis Stephanopoulos, on the first day of his three-day visit to Warsaw, held talks with his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski, Polish dailies reported on 22 October. Stephanopoulos expressed his country's support for Poland's membership in the EU and NATO, adding that its admission should not depend on resolving issues such as the restructuring of Polish agriculture. This is the first time that a Greek president has visited Poland. Stephanopoulos's visit is expected to improve relations between the two countries, which have been strained over the 80,000 Polish illegal immigrants in Greece. Earlier this year, the two countries signed a friendship and cooperation treaty, which still has to be ratified. -- Beata Pasek SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN DEFENDS CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION. Ivan Gasparovic, speaking on the eve of the new parliamentary session, defended the controversial Penal Code amendment on the protection of the republic, Slovak media reported on 22 October. He stressed that Slovakia is "a small and young state and needs to have certain defense systems that would prevent ... the implementation of certain measures against Slovak statehood." The legislation, first approved in March but put aside following international protests, provides for punishing individuals who "spread false information" that could damage Slovakia's interests or who organize public rallies "with the intention of subverting the country's constitutional system, territorial integrity, or defense capability." Gasparovic said the amendment has been included on the parliamentary agenda at the ruling coalition's request. Reuters quoted him as saying that although he abstained from the vote in March, "if I had known what would happen later during the [July] Budapest conference ..., I would have probably pushed the 'yes' button." Participants at that conference called for autonomy for ethnic Hungarians in neighboring countries. -- Sharon Fisher HUNGARIAN PARTIES CLEAN UP THEIR ACT. Concern among Hungarian politicians about possible conflicts of interest seem to have increased markedly, Hungarian media reported on 22 October. Ivan Peto, president of the co-governing Free Democratic Party, has said that his party's deputies will make their 1994 and 1996 asset statements available to the public. The senior coalition Socialist Party earlier ordered all deputies to clarify their business interests but said they could decide for themselves whether to make that information public. Meanwhile, Gyorgy Schamschula was expelled from the opposition Smallholders' Party on 21 October, following a government report that questioned Schamschula's handling of a 1993 privatization tender when he was transport minister. Smallholders' President Jozsef Torgyan said the payment of any type of commission or mediation fee is irreconcilable with the Smallholders' ideology. -- Ben Slay HUNGARIAN ECONOMY, CENTRAL GOVERNMENT BUDGET STOP SHRINKING. The Statistics Office on 21 October revised upward its estimate for GDP in the first quarter of 1996, Hungarian dailies reported. Previous estimates had suggested a decline for that period, but the revised report shows GDP at the same level as for January-March 1995, suggesting that the recession associated with the introduction last year of the stabilization program is over. Meanwhile, Magyar Hirlap reported that the government's 1997 budget, which has been submitted to the parliament, calls for increased spending for the central ministries in real terms. This would be the first such increase since 1989. The ministries' budgets would increase by an average of 26% over 1996, while inflation in 1997 is projected at 17-19%. -- Ben Slay SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO BE PUT OFF. The local elections slated for 23-24 November will be postponed until spring, OMRI's correspondent reported. An announcement to that effect is expected from the OSCE on 22 October. The ballot was first put off from 14 September because of massive fraud, particularly by the Serbs, in registering voters in strategically important towns where they had never lived. The new rules require that persons register only for places where they lived in 1991 or since the end of 1995. The Serbs have threatened to boycott the vote in protest, claiming that the new rules will disenfranchise 380,000 Serbian refugees, Novosti noted. The November ballot was also endangered by numerous technical problems. The decision to postpone the vote was reached in Washington, Oslobodjenje wrote. The Clinton administration had wanted the vote to go ahead in November so that it could claim that "Dayton is on track," as a spokesman told the VOA. Meanwhile, U.S. envoy John Kornblum brought the three members of the Bosnian Presidency together for a meeting on 22 October, OMRI's correspondent said. -- Patrick Moore SERBS MOVING INTO SEPARATION ZONE. The Bosnian Serb authorities have resettled 32 refugees who were living in Zvornik into a village near Jusici, where Muslims have begun returning to their homes, Oslobodjenje reported on 22 October. Some 350 additional Muslim families from that area want to go back, too, Onasa noted. In a related development, Republika Srpska Interior Minister Dragan Kijac said that the UN police have not been abiding by the agreement on the orderly resettlement and policing of the border area, Nasa Borba reported. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the Centrotrans bus company said it may cancel its new Belgrade bus line unless the federal Yugoslav authorities stop charging for visas and insurance, Oslobodjenje wrote. -- Patrick Moore CAN SERBIAN POLITICIANS AFFORD TO ADVERTISE? One second of television advertising time for parties competing in the 3 November elections can cost up to $113, Nasa Borba reported on 22 October. BK Television, particularly during broadcasts of the popular "Left-Right" program, is one of the most expensive channels. Morning prime-time and late afternoon spots on TV Studio B sell for about $30, while evening rates double. The most affordable spots are on TV Palma during weekdays, which sell for $10 per second. Meanwhile, opposition parties also have to contend with government influence over electronic media. Nasa Borba on 22 October carries a letter from the opposition Democratic Party to Serbia's minister of information summing up his influence over political reporting. The letter is published under the headline "If it Weren't So Tragic, It Would Be Comic." -- Stan Markotich MACEDONIA BEGINS COMPULSORY POLIO VACCINATION. The Macedonian Health Ministry on 21 October announced that following the polio outbreak in Albania, a mandatory vaccination program for children will be launched, Reuters reported. Ministry officials also said that all Macedonian citizens traveling to Albania must prove that they were immunized against polio at least 15 days before their visit. At the same time, they stressed that they do not fear an epidemic in the border region. No cases of polio have been reported in Macedonia since 1987. -- Stefan Krause SLOVENIA'S FORMER COMMUNISTS SAY "NO" TO NATO. The United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD), the successor to Slovenia's communist party, has said a government run by it would most likely not back Slovenia's NATO membership. Reuters on 21 October quoted ZLSD leader Janez Kocijancic as saying that "NATO is not the only alternative. The other is neutrality like in Austria, Sweden and Ireland." But he added his party would support the aim of joining the EU, noting there was no alternative to membership in the union. "Slovenians do not want to go back to the Balkans," he said. The ZLSD currently holds 14 of the 90 legislative seats. It was a member of the three-party governing coalition until its split early this year. -- Stan Markotich ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DAILY SAYS U.S. FAVORS ROMANIA'S NATO INTEGRATION. Vocea Romaniei, citing the Spanish news agency EFE on 22 October, claims the U.S. has expressed support for Romania's and Slovenia's integration into NATO structures during the "first wave" of new members. The daily notes, however, that while President Bill Clinton is due to give an "important speech" later today, he "is not expected" to name these states as candidates for NATO. The report appears yet another attempt by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania to manipulate voter opinion ahead of the upcoming elections. -- Michael Shafir IS ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY DISINTEGRATING? Emil Pop, chairman of the Bucharest branch of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), has resigned from his post and party membership, Radio Bucharest reported on 21 October. Since the Party of Social Democracy in Romania broke its coalition alliance with the PUNR last month, several prominent members have resigned, including former transport and justice ministers Aurel Novac and Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian as well as the party's general- secretary, Valer Suian. The resignations indicate a growing conflict between Chairman Gheorghe Funar and his deputy, Ioan Gavra, on the one hand, and many party leaders, on the other. Meanwhile, Senator Ion Coja, a well-known nationalist anti-Semite, has rejoined the party and is running for the Senate on its ticket. Opinion polls suggest that the PUNR will fare badly in the 3 November elections. -- Michael Shafir IS IT KNOWN WHO KILLED FORMER BULGARIAN PREMIER? Novinar on 22 October reported that the Bulgarian police knows the identity of the man who killed former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov earlier this month. Citing an unnamed police source, the daily reported that the killer is a 36- year-old man from Harmanli, in southern Bulgaria. and that the police knows his whereabouts but has so far been unable to issue an arrest warrant through Interpol. According to Novinar, the man left Sofia on a plane to Moscow at 10:10 a.m. local time (50 minutes after the killing) and then traveled to Western Europe. The paper claimed that the killing cost $120,000 and that the gunman has so far received $20,000. Meanwhile, Trud has published a police sketch of the suspect, which the police have distributed to local police stations and border crossings. -- Stefan Krause BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. Former Bulgarian Socialist Party Chairman Alexander Lilov told the Duma on 22 October that Bulgaria's president will be elected in the second round and that the opposition's belief that it will win in the first round indicates its inability to analyze the situation. At a widely advertised meeting between the BSP presidential and vice presidential candidates -- Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova -- and foreign investors, there was a poor turnout, Demokratsiya reported. Meanwhile, the company that has counted votes in elections since 1991 has refused to sign a contract with the Central Electoral Committee for the presidential ballot because, it says, the counting procedures are extremely complicated. The state firm Information Services, which is close to bankruptcy and already included in the mass privatization list, will officially count the votes. -- Maria Koinova ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CLAIMS ELECTIONS WERE NEITHER FREE NOR FAIR. The Socialist Party on 21 October claimed numerous cases of irregularities during local elections the previous day, AFP reported. The Socialists alleged that voters in Fier, Vlora, Durres, Delvina, and Fushe-Kruja were intimidated and that secret police manipulated the vote at some polling stations. The Socialists however, pledged to participate in the run-off ballot. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has issued preliminary results suggesting that it won 61% of city halls, including Tirana, and 58% of commune seats. Reuters reported that the Socialists won only 6% of city halls and commune seats, down from more than 50% in 1992. President Sali Berisha said the result underscored the Democratic Party's triumph at the disputed parliamentary elections in May. In other news, bombs went off in Fier, Kruja, and Fushe-Kruje, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 22 October. No one claimed responsibility. -- Fabian Schmidt and Dukagjin Gorani [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Jan Cleave ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. 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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. 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