The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. - Eden Phillpotts
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

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

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