We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us. - George Eliot
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 214, Part II, 5 November 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 SLAPS HEAVY DUTIES ON FOOD IMPORTS. Ukrainian Prime Minister
Pavlo Lazarenko announced that his government will raise duties on food
imports by as much as 50% over the next few months, Ukrainian and
Western agencies reported on 2 November. The move is aimed at protecting
domestic food producers. Kyiv has already upped duties on potato imports
and will soon do likewise on meat and dairy products. Overall, duties
should go up on more than 600 goods. The government also revealed that
monthly inflation in October was 1.5%. -- Chrystyna Lapychak

BELARUSIAN COURT RULES ON REFERENDUM. The Constitutional Court ruled
that the president's and parliament's draft constitutions may be put to
a popular referendum, but the results would not be legally binding,
international agencies reported on 4 November. Constitutional amendments
put to a referendum are legally binding, but the court ruled the two
competing drafts were effectively new constitutions. Chief Justice
Valeryi Tsikhinya said the referendum results would have only an
"advisory character," and could not be used as a basis for changing the
constitution. The court ruled eight to three that parliament would
decide what actions to take after the referendum. Parliament was also
instructed to either rework the questions or pass a new referendum
resolution. -- Ustina Markus

PRESIDENT, SUPPORTERS BLAST BELARUSIAN COURT RULING. Head of the
judicial department, Alyaksandr Plaskovitski, said that the
Constitutional Court "had no right to decide on the issue," Reuters &
ORT reported on 5 November. The ruling "does not correspond to the
current constitution," he said, warning that if the president decides
the verdict contradicts the constitution, he might ignore it. The
president's press-service has accused the court of "crudely violating
the referendum law," adding, "the Constitutional Court has denied the
people their right to make a decision." Justice Minister Valentin
Tsukalo said that the court has disrupted the referendum, and that the
country's situation from a legal point of view is becoming
uncontrollable. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that the court has
been used while a terrifying struggle in going on in the country. He
also said he will ignore the ruling. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

THREE LATVIAN STATE MINISTERS TO RESIGN. Ziedonis Cevers, chairman of
the Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS), announced on 4 November that the
party's three state ministers: Ernests Jurkans, Juris Dzenis, and
Sarmite Jegere would resign the next day, BNS reported. On October 31,
Prime Minister Andris Skele presented a government optimization plan
calling for the elimination of all but two of the 11 state minister
posts by the beginning of 1998. The DPS board, however, called that
incomplete and will propose cutting all state ministers and creating a
work group to reduce the number of state officials by 10-30%. Cevers
said the savings generated from that move should be redirected to
educational and social institutions and local governments. -- Saulius
Girnius

LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT TO DECIDE ON SEA BORDER WITH LATVIA. Conservatives
leader Gediminas Vagnorius announced on 4 November that his party will
not support the law proposed by President Algirdas Brazauskas on 25
October (see OMRI Daily Digest, 29 October 1996) unilaterally
establishing Lithuania's northern sea border since it does not conform
to international norms, BNS reported. The Conservatives want parliament
to adopt a decision on further negotiations with Latvia that would
explicitly state Lithuania's position on the border question. The Seimas
will approve one of the two alternatives today. -- Saulius Girnius

PORNOGRAPHY BOYCOTT IN POLAND. A group of citizens who in July began a
boycott of vendors distributing pornography in Bialystok announced it
would expand its actions, Polish dailies reported on 5 November. The
move is in response to the prosecutor's decision not to investigate a
distribution of allegedly pornographic magazines by the state-owned
company Ruch and by newspaper stands. The prosecutor said none of the
seven alleged pornography magazines "includes so-called hard
pornography," and that pornography is showing sexual acts "contradictory
with commonly-accepted sexual behavior," listing homosexuality, sodomy,
pedophilia, and necrophilia. Volunteers in other Polish cities are
boycotting newspaper vendors, passing out leaflets, and suing
pornography salesmen and publishers. -- Beata Pasek

PUBLIC APPROVAL HIGH FOR POLISH PRESIDENT, PREMIER. Half of the
population approves of the way President Aleksander Kwasniewski is
fulfilling his duties and 42% approve of Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz as
prime minister, Rzeczpospolita reported on 5 November. The poll,
conducted in October by the Social Research Bureau listed a 31%
disapproval rating for Kwasniewski and 33% for Cimoszewicz. Both
politicians are particularly popular among supporters of the co-ruling
Democratic Left Alliance: 91% for Kwasniewski and 80% for Cimoszewicz.
Among the supporters of the co-ruling Polish Peasant Party, 66% approves
of Kwasniewski and 59% approves of Cimoszewicz. -- Jakub Karpinski

OPINIONS ON CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS. According to a poll published 5
November in the Czech Media, candidates of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's
Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and the opposition Czech Social Democratic
Party (CSSD) will face each other in most of the 81 electoral districts
in the second round of the elections. The first round will take place on
15 and 16 November, the second one week later. The poll, conducted by
the Factum agency, indicates no candidate is likely to win over 50% of
the vote in the first round and thus gain a seat in the senate without
having to face a run-off. Out of some 580 candidates who compete in the
Senate elections, 79 candidates from the ODS, 73 from CSSD, 19 from
Christian Democratic Union, 16 from Civic Democratic Alliance, 10 from
the Communist Party, 1 from the Moravian-Silesian Coalition, and seven
independent candidates appear to have reasonable chances of making it
into the second round. It is almost certain that ODS and CSSD candidates
will face each other in the second round in 35 districts and are likely
to do so in another 37 districts. -- Jiri Pehe

SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, AUSTRIA DEEPEN TIES. Austrian Chancellor Franz
Vranitzky and Slovak and Hungarian Prime Ministers Vladimir Meciar and
Gyula Horn met on 4 November in the Slovak spa town of Piestany to
discuss regional cooperation, and foreign and security policies, Slovak
and international media reported. Meciar and Horn met separately to
discuss bilateral treaty implementation and the Gabcikovo dam
controversy, agreeing on the possibility of an out-of-court settlement.
The case is scheduled for review next year by the International Court of
Justice in The Hague. Meanwhile, Meciar promised Vranitzky that reactors
at the aging Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant will be
decommissioned one year after the first two reactors at Mochovce are
completed. He said a decision has yet to be made on whether to complete
Mochovce's third and fourth reactors. -- Sharon Fisher

MINISTRY REPROVES SLOVAK AMBASSADOR'S PRIVATE VATICAN TRIP. The Slovak
Foreign Ministry "did not recommend" that Ambassador to the Vatican
Anton Neuwirth take part in a private pilgrimage to Rome, Radio Twist
reported on 4 November. Neuwirth was recalled from his post on 19 April
by former Foreign Minister Juraj Schenk for consultations concerning an
internal affair of the ministry. He has since remained in Slovakia,
despite the Vatican's importance to the mostly Catholic Slovakia. Both
former and current foreign ministers failed to react to interpolations
by parliamentary deputies on the matter. -- Anna Siskova

NEW POTENTIAL PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL IN HUNGARY. Mihaly Varga of the
opposition Young Democrats on 4 November presented to the parliament
details of newly discovered political links to privatization, Hungarian
media reported. Varga asked why a consortium--with connections to the
ruling Socialist Party--was allowed to purchase the Diosgyori Gepgyar
machine factory in February for only one-sixth of the 600 million forint
($3.7 million) price. Finance Ministry State Secretary Laszlo Akar said
the ministry will examine the transaction. The Socialists' parliamentary
caucus chairman Imre Szekeres proposed that a committee be established
to oversee privatization. Zsolt Harsanyi, head of the Digep Holding
consortium that purchased Diosgyori Gepgyar, said the 100 million
forints was just the first installment, adding that Digep has five years
to pay the remainder. Meanwhile, the executive presidential board of the
Socialists' parliamentary caucus announced that it will make its assets
public on 30 November and urged party deputies to follow. -- Sharon
Fisher

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

UN POLICE PROTEST FALSE BOSNIAN CROAT REPORT. The Bosnian Croat Habena
news agency reported on 2 November that five Croat returnees were killed
and seven injured as the result of an incident taking place a day
earlier in a part of Serb-controlled northwestern Bosnia. According to
Habena--which reported that its information came from the International
Police Task Force's (IPTF) local information office--Bosnian Serbs
opened fire on 47 displaced Croats returning to their former villages in
an attempt to visit the graves of their relatives, while the IPTF fired
back at Bosnian Serbs. After checking local UN office reports, IPTF
spokesman Patrick Svensson said on 4 November that the story was totally
invented by Habena, AFP and Oslobodjenje reported. IPTF has protested
the report, raising tensions, and asked Habena to make a public apology.
Svensson said that Habena sent a letter of apology to the command of the
IFOR division North, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

BOSNIAN SERBS TO FIRE ACCUSED WAR CRIMINALS FROM POLICE FORCE. Republika
Srpska President Biljana Plavsic told U.S. human rights envoy John
Shattuck that the four indicted war criminals recently identified as
serving with the Bosnian Serb police will be dismissed (see Pursuing
Balkan Peace, 5 November 1996). She refused, however, to turn the men
over to the Hague-based war crimes tribunal. In response, Shattuck
threatened "negative political and economic consequences," Oslobodjenje
reported on 5 November. A major scandal emerged when the accused war
criminals were discovered on the police force, because it appears that
UN police, Carl Bildt's office, and IFOR knew they were there but did
and said nothing until The Boston Globe broke the story last week. --
Patrick Moore

FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA ELECTIONS UPDATE. With over half the votes counted in
federal Yugoslav elections, parties loyal to Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic hold a convincing lead. Beta reported that 48.15% of votes
tallied went to Milosevic's coalition, 23.94% to the opposition Zajedno
or Together coalition, and 18.47% to the ultranationalist Serbian
Radical Party. In terms of representational breakdown for the 138-member
legislature, Reuters reported that Milosevic's coalition so far is
guaranteed 50 seats, while Zajedno has 21 and the SRS 13. Meanwhile,
Montena-fax reported that in Montenegrin republican elections, the
ruling Democratic Socialist Party has, with nearly all ballots counted,
an absolute majority of 45 of 71 seats. Only in local voting did the
opposition manage inroads, and in Belgrade the Democratic Party leader,
and mayoral candidate Zoran Djindjic nearly won a majority, but will
compete in the 17 November run-off. -- Stan Markotich

WIESENTHAL PROTESTS PUBLICATION OF ANTI-SEMITIC BOOK IN CROATIA. Nazi-
hunter Simon Wiesenthal has protested publication in Croatia of the
"Protocol of the Elders of Zion," first published by anti-Semites in
1903 purporting to prove that Jews want to dominate the world, AFP
reported on 4 November. Wiesenthal sent a letter to the Croatian embassy
in Vienna protesting that the Croatian government had agreed to the
publishing and sale of an "extremely anti-Semitic" book in a country
where some 20,000 Jews were killed during World War II, and some 1,000
of those who remained in Croatia were "defenseless" before it. In other
news, thirteen veteran officers who served with Croatian forces allied
with Nazi Germany during World War II were awarded equivalent ranks in
the country's present-day army, Reuters reported that same day. The move
was intended to rehabilitate the men, but it is unknown whether they
were members of the Domobrani, the then-regular Croatian conscript army,
or the Ustasha militia, responsible for war-time atrocities against Jews
and Serbs. -- Daria Sito Sucic

SLOVENIA'S LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PULL AHEAD OF THE PACK. The latest public
opinion polling in advance of Slovenia's 10 November general elections
has the largest parliamentary party, Premier Janez Drnovsek's Liberal
Democratic Party (LDS), gaining in public support, Reuters reported on 4
November. According to a Delo poll, backing for the LDS has risen to
15.3% of decided voters, up from 11.6% recorded about a week ago. But
according to the daily Dnevnik, decided voters' support for the LDS has
jumped from 15.3% to 21.8%. Trailing in second place is the rightist
Slovenian People's Party, which according to several polls, is hovering
around the 9% mark of decided voters' support. In 1992 general
elections, the LDS took about a third of the votes, and won 30 of 90
legislative seats. -- Stan Markotich

PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN ROMANIAN ELECTIONS. Data released on 5 November
confirm the opposition's victory in the 3 November parliamentary
elections, Romanian media reported. They also show incumbent President
Ion Iliescu slightly ahead of his main rival, Emil Constantinescu from
the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). With 95% of the votes
counted, the CDR leads by 30.19% for the Senate and 29.61% for the
Chamber of Deputies. Trailing the CDR are the ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania with 23.26% and 21.73%; the Social Democratic Union
with 13.17% and 12.97%; and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania, with 7.01% and 6.84%, respectively. The extremist Greater
Romania Party and the Party of Romanian National Unity also passed the
3% electoral hurdle. In the presidential race, Iliescu leads by 32.45%,
followed by Constantinescu with 27.70% and Petre Roman with 20.61%. --
Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato

POST-ELECTORAL BARGAINING BEGINS IN ROMANIA. With final results in the 3
November general and presidential elections still pending, post-
electoral bargaining has already begun in Romania, Reuters reported.
Although the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) appears to rank
first in parliament's two chambers, it has clearly failed to gain a
majority. This makes future coalitions and alliances unavoidable. Petre
Roman and his Social Democratic Union (USD) are generally seen as the
key factor in any attempt to form a viable government. The CDR, however,
expects Roman to back Emil Constantinescu in the run-off for presidency
as the price for allowing the USD into government. CDR's options are
limited as it has rejected any cooperation with Iliescu's Party of
Social Democracy in Romania. The CDR might also rely on the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania, which already showed its interest in
participating in a future government. -- Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ATTACKS RIVALS BEFORE ELECTIONS. Mircea Snegur on 4
November launched a sharp verbal attack against Premier Andrei Sangheli
and Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi, his two main rivals in the 17
November presidential election, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Snegur
was quoted as saying that, if he was re-elected president, he would
dismiss the current government and dissolve the parliament. He further
threatened to ask for a referendum to be conducted in case the
parliament opposed his decision to change the government, dominated by
the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of Moldova. Snegur ruled out any
reconciliation with either Sangheli or Lucinschi. -- Dan Ionescu

LEADING BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS DEMAND PREMIER'S RESIGNATION. Nineteen
leading socialists on 4 November demanded Premier Zhan Videnov's
resignation. The 19 have criticized the government for the past six
months, primarily over the catastrophic state of the economy, and made
their resignation call in an official letter to the High Council of the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). Duma, citing the letter, remarked the
BSP now has one last chance to initiate changes which could enable it to
hold onto its parliamentary mandate until 1998. But the Socialists
demanding Videnov's resignation failed to offer an alternative to
Videnov's leadership, and this could lead to a further "cementing" of
his behavior, Trud commented. Videnov has already decided to call an
extraordinary party congress in January 1997, banking that the interval
will not allow any challengers enough time to engineer his ouster. --
Maria Koinova

WILD SPECULATIONS SURROUND IMF MISSION TO BULGARIA. The IMF is
apparently encouraging Bulgaria to consider adopting a currency board
(as employed in Estonia and Lithuania), which would fix the exchange
rate and only allow changes in the money supply in response to flows of
foreign currency. Trud reported that the fund insists on tough anti-
corruption measures and that the government is preparing to arrest the
bosses of a number of business groupings and the heads of six or seven
large banks. Standard reported that the IMF wants to appoint Bulgaria's
"chief accountant" and the head of the national bank's bank supervision
department. It asserts that the standby agreement approved in July had
fallen apart by August and that the country can now count only on short-
term financing for emergencies. No matter which government rules the
country, wrote Kontinent, the IMF will determine not just policy
directions but the details as well. -- Michael Wyzan

ALBANIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS DEMAND NEW ELECTIONS. Social Democratic Party
leader Skender Gjinushi said that 20 October's local elections were not
fair, because the ruling Democratic Party could spend much more on the
electoral campaign than the opposition, Koha Jone reported on 5
November. He also said that most foreign observers did not participate
in the vote-counting process, and claimed that major irregularities
occurred. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court rejected a suit by the Socialist
Party, which claimed the elections were fraudulent. -- Fabian Schmidt

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Valentina Huber

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