|The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts|
No. 217, Part II, 8 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 CRIMEA SUSPENDS UKRAINIAN BAN ON PARTIES. The Crimean parliament suspended an order issued by the Ukrainian Justice Ministry's main directorate in Crimea disbanding local parties registered under Crimean law, UNIAR reported on 6 November. The parliament ruled Crimean parties could resume their activities according to the Crimean law on public associations. The head of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry's directorate, Yevhen Skisov, said only Ukraine's Constitutional Court could suspend the decisions of the ministry. Last month, the Crimean parliament declared the Ministry's ban unconstitutional and expressed lack of confidence in Skisov. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev RALLIES THROUGHOUT UKRAINE MARK ANNIVERSARY OF BOLSHEVIK REVOLUTION. Thousands of leftists gathered in several Ukrainian cities to protest government policies they say have impoverished millions on the 79th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution, Ukrainian media reported on 7 November. Nationalists and national democrats held alternative gatherings to commemorate those repressed by the Soviet regime and called for a symbolic trial of the Communist Party. The largest rallies took place in Kyiv and Donetsk, where demonstrators called on President Leonid Kuchma to resign. -- Chrystyna Lapychak BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT, CONSTITUTIONAL COURT THREATENED WITH SUSPENSION. In connection with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's decree declaring that the constitutional referendum results will be binding, first deputy head of the president's administration Mikhail Sazonau said if any state body interfered with the referendum it would be suspended, Reuters reported on 7 November. Belapan reported that Constitutional Court Chief Justice Valeryi Tsikhinya said "moves are afoot in the presidential administration to suspend the activity of the Constitutional Court." He noted that neither the constitution nor Belarusian laws allowed for the suspension of the court. Tsikhinya said the court would inform the UN, the Council of Europe, and the Council of Constitutional Courts of Europe of any actions taken against it. -- Ustina Markus LATVIA INCREASES TERMS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. The Saeima on 6 November passed a number of amendments to the local election law, BNS reported the next day. The most important change extends local governments' term from three to four years. The rules for nominating candidates, submitting party lists, and ballot procedures were also made identical to national elections. The next local elections are scheduled for March. The following day, the Saeima passed by a vote of 66 to 11 with 8 abstentions a law on obligatory armed service that reduced the term of service for draftees from 18 to 12 months. -- Saulius Girnius POLISH LABOR MINISTER DIES. Poland's Labor Minister, Andrzej Baczkowski, died of a heart attack on 7 November at the age of 41, Polish and international media reported. Baczkowski, since February in a government dominated by former communists, was unaffiliated with any political party and was active in the Solidarity movement in the 1980s. He was interned when Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski declared martial law in 1981. Baczkowski was an expert negotiator in labor matters; most recently, he was responsible for Poland's new social security system. He was a specialist in labor law, a Solidarity adviser, and a senior civil servant working in the labor ministry since 1991. -- Jakub Karpinski POLISH FOREIGN MINISTER ON NATO, RUSSIA. Poland's Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati on 7 November said NATO's approach to enlargement divides Poland and Russia, Polish and international media reported. He added that Russia will likely propose a plan for European security as an alternative to NATO enlargement during the December OSCE summit in Lisbon. Rosati said Poland agreed with developing the OSCE but this could not replace NATO. Poland did not oppose the conclusion of a strategic partnership between NATO and Russia, but this should not be a condition of NATO's growth. He also said Poland favors easing trade barriers, but its priority is its association agreement with the EU, and other trade decisions are subject to Poland's EU association agreement. -- Jakub Karpinski SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULES ON PRESIDENTIAL POWERS. Constitutional Court Chairman Milan Cic on 7 November announced that his court upheld one of President Michal Kovac's two objections concerning the appointment of top public servants, Slovak media reported. The court said that Kovac has the right to appoint the armed forces' chief of staff but not the secret service director. As a symptom of the long- running battle between Kovac and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, the parliament removed both powers from Kovac last year, transferring them to the government. Meanwhile, during a Movement for a Democratic Slovakia rally on 7 November, Meciar accused Kovac of spreading rumors about his health problems, TASR reported. "[Kovac] called in five journalists and told them off the record: the prime minister has a brain tumor, he is mentally ill, he is being treated in Switzerland and will soon die. Prepare for a change in the political situation." -- Sharon Fisher SLOVAK OPPOSITION FAILS TO WIN SEATS ON TV BOARD. The parliament decided on 7 November that three of four free positions on the Slovak TV board will be occupied for the next six years by allies of the ruling coalition, Slovak media reported. One is a candidate of the Slovak National Party while the other two are from the patriotic organization Matica slovenska, known for close cooperation with the current ruling government, although technically an apolitical cultural institution. The parliamentary vote on the fourth empty seat and on the three free seats on the Slovak Radio board is scheduled for 4 December, when the next parliamentary session is to begin. The ruling coalition, which gained power over the media councils two years ago, is ignoring its promises to allow the opposition to participate in these institutions. -- Anna Siskova HUNGARIAN WELFARE MINISTER RETHINKS RESIGNATION. Gyorgy Szabo on 7 November announced his decision to delay his resignation for two weeks at Prime Minister Gyula Horn's request, Reuters reported. "Horn and I have agreed we should give each other two weeks to think about it," Szabo said. He added that the cabinet agreed to increase allocations for indebted hospitals. -- Sharon Fisher SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE INDICTED WAR CRIMINAL COMPLAINS TO UN POLICE FOR ARREST ATTEMPT. Bosnian Serb police officer Radovan Stankovic filed a complaint with the International Police Task Force (IPTF) after federal police shot at his car as he sped away to avoid detention. The incident took place on 26 August but has only now come to light amid growing reports that IFOR and the IPTF have a deliberate policy of not arresting war criminals even as they cross through IFOR checkpoints (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 5 November 1996). Stankovic has been indicted by the Hague-based tribunal for crimes against humanity, news agencies noted on 7 November. An IPTF spokesman said the UN police are under no obligation to detain suspected war criminals or report their presence to IFOR. -- Patrick Moore IZETBEGOVIC: NATO SHOULD STAY IN BOSNIA FOR TWO MORE YEARS. Chairman of the Bosnian Presidency Alija Izetbegovic, together with other two presidency members, Momcilo Krajisnik and Kresimir Zubak, met on 7 November with NATO Secretary General Javier Solana in Sarajevo and said an international peacekeeping force should stay in Bosnia for at least two more years, Oslobodjenje reported the next day. Izetbegovic said the follow-on force was needed to ensure conditions for free movement and a return of refugees, assist in the arrest of indicted war criminals, ensure conditions for forthcoming municipal elections and disarmament. Solana said that decision will be made in the next few weeks. -- Daria Sito Sucic FEDERATION COURT REJECTS CROAT APPEAL OVER MOSTAR VOTE. The Bosnian Federation constitutional court has ruled that disputed June elections in Mostar were valid, international agencies reported. The ruling Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) has contested the validity of the Mostar municipal polls over voting irregularities in Bonn, and appealed to the federation court. EU spokesman in Mostar Dragan Gasic said the EU hailed the court's decision, which found the case outside of its jurisdiction and rejected the Croat appeal. Gasic said the decision would help clarify the situation in which Croats were continually threatening to boycott the city council sessions until the court ruled. Meanwhile, the Muslim ruling Party of Democratic Action said it will not hand over to Croats the post of Bosnian Federation prime minister (see OMRI Daily Digest, 7 November 1996), while a compromise might be found for the federation president post , Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic IS SERBIA SHIPPING ARMS TO LIBYA? Serbian state-run arms producers are, according to a 7 November New York Times report, secretly sending arms shipments to Libya, AFP reported that same day. For their part, Serbian officials have flatly denied partaking in any arms trading, but the report notes that Western embassies have concluded that arms have been sent by air to Malta, and from there to Libya, which is under a UN- imposed weapons ban. Among the first concrete evidence to surface linking Serbia appeared in August, when a Russian plane crashed at Belgrade's airport, killing 12 people aboard (see OMRI Daily Digest, 19 August 1996). That plane is believed to have been carrying an arms shipment to a transit point in Malta. -- Stan Markotich MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT REMARKS ON MILOSEVIC'S FUTURE. Momir Bulatovic stated he would support Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in his bid to become president of federal Yugoslavia, Nasa Borba reported on 8 November. Milosevic's term as Serbian President ends in late 1997, and while he is constitutionally barred from seeking a third term, analysts have already speculated he may continue to hold power in Belgrade by having parliament elect him to the federal presidency. Nevertheless, Bulatovic also alleged that his and presumably his Democratic Socialist Party's support for Milosevic will not be unconditional. Bulatovic said his support would be contingent on Milosevic's understanding that the federal presidency is a "ceremonial" post, and on his willingness as president to protect Montenegro's rights and existing status within the current federation. -- Stan Markotich CROATIAN RULING PARTY RELIEVES OFFICIALS OF DUTIES. Seven leading members of the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), together with 26 junior members, were relieved from their party duties on 7 November over allegations of corruption, Vecernji List reported the next day. Among the those relieved are the head of the Zagreb-based bank, Privredna banka, the head of the Split district, and Marina Matulovic-Dropulic, Franjo Tudjman's appointed candidate to run Zagreb. No party officials have commented on the decision yet, but the move may be a concession to popular anger over widespread corruption and alleged nepotism in Croatia's state-run privatization process, according to international sources. -- Daria Sito Sucic CROATIA REJECTS BALKAN LINKS. President Franjo Tudjman and Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa stressed again that Croatia is historically and culturally part of Central Europe and slammed any attempts to link Croatia to the Balkans. Tudjman argued that the country's ties to the eastern Orthodox republics of the former Yugoslavia were short-lived and have no future because Central Europe and the Balkans represent civilizations alien to each other. Any attempts to force Croatia into a new regional association with other former Yugoslav republics’--as the EU seems to favor--would again lead to "tragedy," Vecernji list reported on 7 November. Matesa told Croatia's Western partners that "Balkan" is associated with high inflation and a failure to honor agreements or pay back debts. Croatia, he countered, keeps its word and repays what it owes, Slobodna Dalmacija reported on 8 November. -- Patrick Moore IMF APPROVES $80 MILLION LOAN TO MACEDONIA. The IMF on 7 November approved a $80 million loan to Macedonia, Nova Makedonija reported. The loan is aimed at stabilizing the country's economy over the next three years and will be used to help increase GDP, keep inflation down, stabilize the Macedonian denar, and decrease the trade deficit. After a 5 1/2-year grace period, Macedonia will have 15 years to repay the loan. The interest rate is 0.5%.The agreement is expected to be confirmed by the IMF board of directors in January. -- Stefan Krause FINAL RESULTS IN ROMANIAN ELECTIONS RELEASED. Romania's Central Electoral Bureau on 7 November released the final results of the first round of presidential elections, Radio Bucharest and Reuters reported. Incumbent President Ion Iliescu ranks first with 32.25%, followed by Emil Constantinescu from the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) with 28.21%, and Petre Roman from the Social Democratic Union (USD) with 20.54%. In parliamentary elections, only six parties succeeded in passing the 3% hurdle. The following are the winners with their respective percentages for the Senate and Chamber of Deputies: the CDR: 30.70%, 30.17%; the Party of Social Democracy in Romania: 23.08%, 21.52%; the USD: 13.16%, 12.93%; the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania: 6.81%, 6.64%; the Greater Romania Party, 4.54%, 4.46%; and the Party of Romanian National Unity, 4.22%, 4.36%. -- Dan Ionescu ROMANIAN OPPOSITION SIGNS COALITION PACT . . . The Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR), winner in the parliamentary elections, and the Social Democratic Union (USD) on 7 November signed a coalition pact, Romanian and international media reported. The pact, signed by the leaders of the two political alliances, Emil Constantinescu and Petre Roman, gives key support to Constantinescu in the run-off presidential elections on 17 November. The accord also outlines a power-sharing formula, with the CDR getting the prime minister's office, while USD will name the foreign minister and the head of the Senate. Constantinescu called the signing of the pact a "historic moment" and said the alliance heralded an era of "truly democratic government." Roman, third in the first round of the presidential race, with 21% of the votes, said he would back Constantinescu in order to "put an end to the Iliescu regime." -- Zsolt Mato . . . WHILE ROMANIAN RULING PARTY LAUNCHES LAST-DITCH ATTACK. Miron Mitrea, secretary general of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania, on 7 November sharply criticized the opposition's efforts to set up a ruling coalition, Radio Bucharest reported. Mitrea warned that a possible alliance between the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) and the Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania would pose a threat to Romania's national security. He accused the CDR of aspiring to take full control at any price, including concessions to the Hungarian minority in Romania. Meanwhile, President Ion Iliescu, while campaigning in Ialomita and Braila counties, appealed to the electorate to "vote for a president able to defend the many against the offensive of the Right in Romania." He added that his opponent "does not deserve the electorate's confidence" because of his "frequent [political] stammering." -- Dan Ionescu and Zsolt Mato BULGARIAN OPPOSITION WANTS EARLY ELECTIONS. Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) Chairman Ivan Kostov on 7 November said the SDS will start working toward early parliamentary elections, Reuters reported. Kostov said the fact that Petar Stoyanov won almost 60% in the presidential election proves that the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov has lost the confidence of the electorate. Videnov in Duma on 8 November responded to his critics within the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), admitting differences over which economic policy the government should pursue, but calling most problems the result of the "fatal inertia" in politics during the past seven years. Meanwhile, Standart cited an "excellently informed source" as saying that all ministers handed in their resignations after a secret cabinet meeting on 5 November. Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski reportedly suggested the move in order to force the BSP Supreme Council and parliamentary faction to state whether they still support Videnov. -- Stefan Krause AZEM HAJDARI STAGES COUP IN ALBANIAN INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS . . . Azem Hajdari, a Democratic Party legislator, was elected president of the Union of the Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH) at a dubious emergency conference in Durres on 5 November, Dita Informacion reported. Fatmir Musaku, a former deputy leader of the BSPSH who left the organization in 1995, was elected general secretary. Hajdari, who is also the head of the parliamentary control commission for the post-communist secret service, charged BSPSH leader Valer Xheka of spying for the communist- era secret service and of corruption, saying he would investigate the trade union's budget, Republika reported on 7 November. A minor brawl developed between trade unionists and Hajdari supporters on 7 November when the latter tried to take over the chair at the BSPSH headquarters. One was injured before police moved in and Hajdari withdrew. -- Fabian Schmidt . . . WHICH MAY BE HIS POLITICAL SUICIDE. The BSPSH steering council, meanwhile, called Hajdari's election illegal and said the Durres conference had no mandate. BSPSH chairmen came only from Llezha, Lushnja, Skrapari and Mati, ATSH reported. Opposition politicians called the Durres conference a "game to weaken the role of the trade unions" and called Hajdari a "Trojan Horse," Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 7 November. President Sali Berisha the same day met with Valer Xheka and other BSPSH leaders, assuring them of his support and praising their work as "constructive." Koha Jone said on 8 November that Berisha seems to have abandoned Hajdari, who was his close ally in the anti-communist student movement in 1990 and the first Democratic Party leader. An overall trade union congress will take place on 9 November. -- Fabian Schmidt [As of 12:00 CET] Compiled by Valentina Huber ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 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. 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