Science and art have that in common that everyday things seem to them new and attractive. - Friedrich Nietzsche
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 224, Part II, 19 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

BELARUSIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 18
November accepted the resignation of Mikhail Chyhir and appointed his
deputy, Syarhei Linh, as acting premier, Reuters reported. Chyhir's
resignation was in protest over Lukashenka's proposed referendum aimed
at increasing the powers of the president. Labor Minister Alyaksandr
Sasnou also resigned the same day, while the parliament collected 75
signatures--five more than necessary--to start impeachment procedures
against the president. In order to oust Lukashenka, the Constitutional
Court will have to approve his impeachment and 132 deputies will have to
vote in favor of his dismissal. Meanwhile, Lukashenka's top aide,
Uladzimir Zametalin, has said the president could prevent his
impeachment even if the Constitutional Court approved it. He did not
rule out the possibility of dissolving the parliament and the
Constitutional Court. -- Sergei Solodovnikov

INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO BELARUSIAN POLITICAL CRISIS. While the Russian
government has not taken a firm position on the crisis, Minister for CIS
Affairs Aman Tuleev, the only opposition cabinet member, insinuated that
Western opposition to Lukashenka's staunch support for integration with
Russia has triggered the crisis, Russian media reported. Georgii
Tikhonov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on CIS Affairs, charged
that the crisis "is being staged from abroad." Kommersant-Daily adopted
a more moderate stance, urging the Russian government to use its
influence to force a negotiated settlement. U.S. State Department
spokesperson Glyn Davies said Lukanshenka's illegal firing of the
Central Electoral Commission chairman had caused the crisis. Members of
the North Atlantic Assembly came out in support of the Belarusian
parliament, with assembly President Karsten Voigt calling Lukashenka's
behavior "illegal, non-democratic, and sometimes even crazy." -- Scott
Parrish and Sergei Solodovnikov

CLASH BETWEEN BELARUSIAN AUTHORITIES, RUSSIAN MEDIA. A statement issued
by the Belarusian Security Council has accused Russian journalists, in
particular correspondents for the network NTV, of "disinformation" in
their coverage of the unsanctioned 17 November demonstration in Minsk
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 November 1996), NTV reported on 18 November.
The network countered by re-broadcasting footage of the demonstration,
and a reporter charged that Belarusian officials loyal to Lukashenka
were themselves perpetrating disinformation by denying anyone was
wounded in the street clashes. On 14 November, Lukashenka had accused
some Russian journalists of carrying out an "information war" against
his government. He also threatened to deport correspondents from NTV and
state-controlled Russian Public TV from Belarus. -- Laura Belin

MOONLIGHTING LAWMAKERS STRIPPED OF PARLIAMENTARY SEATS. A Kyiv city
court has ruled that 38 deputies who still hold posts in the government
cannot retain their parliamentary seats, Ukrainian TV reported on 17
November. Parliamentary Speaker Oleksander Moroz had asked the court to
make a ruling after the deputies--including Environment Minister Yurii
Kostenko and Deputy Foreign Minister Anton Buteyko--refused to choose
between serving in the legislature or keeping their government offices.
It said that they were violating the new constitution. The deputies,
meanwhile, have asked the prosecutor-general to punish Moroz for abusing
his authority, claiming that he alone does not possess the authority to
appeal directly to any court on such matters. They also claim that his
action was politically-motivated and that he is turning a blind eye to
leftist lawmakers who still hold top posts in the private sector. Moroz
says the dispute should be handled by the new Constitutional Court. --
Chrystyna Lapychak

REMAINS OF MISSING UKRAINIAN MIG-29 FOUND. A search team has found
fragments of the MiG-29 that disappeared from radar on 31 October after
taking off from Kirovsk airfield in east-central Crimea, international
agencies reported on 18 November. Some parts of the fighter jet were
found on the coast near Yevpatoria. According to the investigation
commission, the plane is on the bottom of the sea. The cause of the
crash--the third this year in Ukraine involving a Soviet-made MiG-29--is
still unknown. Military officials say the pilot was a top-class
professional. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

ESTONIAN REFORM PARTY GIVES ULTIMATUM TO COALITION PARTY. The Reform
Party on 17 November issued an ultimatum to the Coalition Party to
revoke its cooperation agreement with the Center Party by 2 p.m. local
time on 20 November, BNS reported. It added that if the Coalition party
fails to do so, it will propose quitting the ruling coalition. Coalition
Party Chairman Tiit Vahi responded by saying his party will not give up
its agreement with the Center Party. But he expressed the hope that the
Reform Party will remain in the government since its ministers' work is
not yet over. Center Party Chairman Edgar Savisaar described the
ultimatum as "posturing," adding that he does not believe the Reform
Party will actually quit the government. -- Saulius Girnius

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT, PARTY LEADERS CONFER ABOUT NEW GOVERNMENT.
Algirdas Brazauskas on 18 November met with the leaders of the five
leading political parties to discuss the formation of a new government,
Radio Lithuania reported. The current parliament meets for the last time
today, while the newly elected one will convene on 25 November.
Brazauskas rejected the proposal by Conservative leader Vytautas
Landsbergis that the nominee for prime minister be announced at the new
parliament's first session. Landsbergis complained that the current
government had made insufficient preparations for the winter and was
provoking Gazprom to reduce or cut off gas supplies by failing to pay
long overdue debts. -- Saulius Girnius

POLISH OFFICIAL TO CLAMP DOWN ON SECT. The governor of Lublin province
has set up a team of experts to ensure that members of the Niebo
(Heaven) sect abide by the law, Polish media reported on 19 November. A
spokesman said that sect members do not send their children to schools,
refuse to perform military service, and have only recently begun using
identification documents. The sect has been based near Lublin since the
mid 1970s. For the last six years, it has been under strict leadership.
In another development, the Gdansk University rector has canceled a
series of cultural programs planned jointly by the Academic Cultural
Center and an association with links to the Unification Church,
established by Sun Myung Moon of South Korea. The Church was registered
in Poland in 1990. -- Beata Pasek

SLOVAK TV LOSES CASE AGAINST PRESIDENT'S SON. A Bratislava court on 18
November ordered Slovak TV to apologize and pay 250,000 crowns ($8,000)
to Michal Kovac Jr. and his business partner Martin Syc-Mily for
broadcasting false information late last year, Praca reported. STV had
aired two interviews with Peter Krylov--who has been serving a jail
sentence in Munich since 1993 in connection with a $2.3 million fraud
surrounding the Slovak firm Technopol--in which Krylov accused Kovac Jr.
and Syc-Mily of involvement in the affair. Three weeks ago, the state-
run TV station lost a similar case against another of Kovac Jr.'s
business partners, Marian Kocner. Also on 18 November, the pro-
government Slovenska Republika lost a two-year-old case against
Christian Democratic Movement Chairman Jan Carnogursky over a letter
published by the daily, Pravda reported. Meanwhile, Ivo Nittmann, who
was recently appointed chief editor of Narodna obroda, told Sme that he
handed in his resignation on 18 November. -- Sharon Fisher

RICHEST MAN IN SLOVAKIA FEARS "PHYSICAL LIQUIDATION." Jozef Majsky,
president of the firm Sipox Holding and reportedly the richest man in
Slovakia, told Radio Twist on 18 November that he has information about
plans for his "physical liquidation," TASR reported. Majsky said he
knows about those plans from two sources--one official, the other
unofficial. He added that the reasons for killing him could not be
linked to his business affairs, noting that it is more likely he is
being targeted because he is "politically suspicious." A former
supporter of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar, Majsky is now allied with
the opposition. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN PREMIER REJECTS PROPOSAL TO STEP UP CONSULTATION WITH
COALITION PARTY . . . Gyula Horn on 18 November rejected a proposal by
the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) that he consult with the junior
coalition party before making major political decisions, Nepszabadsag
reported. Horn described the proposal as an attempt to curtail his
powers. The SZDSZ had suggested that both the Socialists and the Free
Democrats make proposals in personnel issues and consult with each other
before publicizing any important government-related decision. On several
occasions, the SZDSZ has complained that Horn is not adhering to the
spirit of the 1994 coalition pact. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

. . . AND REFUTES CLAIMS THAT CABINET RESHUFFLE IS IMMINENT. Horn also
denied media reports that he was planning a cabinet reshuffle early next
year. Magyar Hirlap quotes him as saying that his only concern is the
resignation earlier this month of Welfare Minister Gyorgy Szabo. Magda
Kovacs Kosa, executive vice president of the Socialist party, denied
that a "conspiracy" to bring about personnel changes is afoot. Senior
party officials, meeting informally last week, had concluded that there
was a need for a cabinet reshuffle. Among them were parliamentary
Speaker Zoltan Gal, Foreign Minister Laszlo Kovacs, Finance Minister
Peter Medgyessy, and former trade union head Sandor Nagy. -- Zsofia
Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

ROW OVER PLAVSIC MEETING WITH MLADIC BACKERS. Republika Srpska President
Biljana Plavsic on 18 November met with a general staff delegation for
the first time since she cashiered the officers' former commander, Gen.
Ratko Mladic. She was joined by Mladic's successor, Gen. Pero Colic, AFP
reported. The group consisted of Gens. Manojlo Milovanovic, Zdravko
Tolimir, Zivomir Ninkovic, Momir Talic, and Novica Simic. Plavsic had
named Talic to command Banja Luka's First Corps and Simic to head the
Third Corps in Brcko, but the other three men are Mladic loyalists. Her
office later announced that the outcome of the meeting was that Mladic
would go, but on 19 November his staff issued an angry denial saying all
that was agreed on was that Plavsic would meet with Mladic on 20
November. -- Patrick Moore

NATO AGREES TO SET UP SUCCESSOR TO IFOR. NATO ambassadors on 18 November
voted to set up a Stabilization Force (SFOR) to replace IFOR when its
mandate runs out on 20 December, the BBC reported. SFOR will have 31,000
members, which is just under half of what IFOR had at its peak. The
ambassadors called for detailed contingency planning to provide for the
new force, but they were unable to agree on the length of its mandate.
The question of a clear and robust mandate is the key issue. The next
step in establishing SFOR lies with the UN Security Council. Meanwhile
in Sarajevo, Bosnian Defense Minister Vladimir Soljic, an ethnic Croat,
resigned as part of an apparent face-saving maneuver to enable his
Muslim deputy, Hasan Cengic, also to leave office, Oslobodjenje reported
on 19 November. The U.S. insists that Cengic, who has close Iranian
links, leave before Washington resumes its military aid program. --
Patrick Moore

SECRECY SURROUNDS TUDJMAN ILLNESS. The Croatian authorities have aroused
deep suspicions among the public as to how ill President Franjo Tudjman
is by ignoring or playing down news of his hospitalization in
Washington. Officials on 16 November blocked the publication of the
weekly Nacional because the latest issue was devoted to Tudjman's
health, Novi List reported on 18 November. The government also refused
to provide any information to another independent weekly, Globus, when
it sought to cover the story. The authorities first tried to deny that
Tudjman was ill and then sought to depict his problems as routine (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 18 November 1996). State-run dailies suggest today
that Tudjman has already resumed work and are giving prominent coverage
to the story of the anniversary of the fall of Vukovar. Opposition
parties and independent media charged the state-controlled media and the
authorities with behaving like their communist predecessors, Reuters
noted. -- Patrick Moore

OPPOSITION VICTORIES IN FEDERAL YUGOSLAV LOCAL ELECTIONS. Opposition
parties have claimed victory in the local elections in Serbia's 12
largest cities, Nasa Borba reported on 19 November. Voters went to the
polls on 17 November in a run-off ballot. Opposition parties won
convincingly in Belgrade as well as in industrial centers such as Nis,
Kragujevac, Kraljevo, Cacak, and Novi Sad, the capital of Vojvodina.
Preliminary results show the opposition winning some 70 out of 110 seats
in Belgrade. Ivica Dacic, speaking on behalf of the ruling Socialist
Party of Serbia, said the leftist coalition dominated by the SPS won 134
of the 174 municipalities in Serbia, but Reuters added that "none of the
big towns were on his list." -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRO'S NEW LEGISLATURE CONVENES. At its first session since the 3
November elections, the Montenegrin parliament re-elected Svetozar
Marovic, a member of the ruling Democratic Socialist Party, as
parliamentary speaker, AFP reported. The governing party has an absolute
majority of 45 of the 71 seats in the legislature. -- Stan Markotich

KOSOVO'S PRIME MINISTER IN EXILE CRITICIZES PRESIDENT. In an interview
published in Koha on 6 November, shadow-state Prime Minister Bujar
Bukoshi sharply criticized President Ibrahim Rugova. He said Rugova's
office could function only as long as the Serbian authorities tolerated
it. Bukoshi claimed that the president was sidelining the shadow-state
government, noting that Rugova had not consulted the shadow-state
education minister during negotiations over an education agreement with
Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. -- Fabian Schmidt

MACEDONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS UPDATE. Preliminary results of the 17
November local elections indicate that the ruling Social Democratic
Union of Macedonia (SDSM) remains the strongest party, despite a strong
showing by the opposition, Nova Makedonija and Western agencies
reported. Of the municipal council seats allocated so far, the SDSM has
503, the nationalist Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization--
Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO--DPMNE) 339, the
Socialist Party (the SDSM's coalition partner) 147, the Democratic Party
104, the Liberal Party 102, the ethnic Albanian Party of Democratic
Prosperity (PPD) 92, and the Party of Democratic Prosperity of the
Albanians (PPDSH) 80. Of the 40 mayoralties decided in the first round,
the SDSM won 13, the coalition of VMRO--DPMNE, the Democrats, and the
Movement for All-Macedonian Action--Conservative Party 11, the PPD 9,
the Socialists 4, and the PPDSH 1. Run-off elections for unfilled seats
will take place on 1 December. -- Stefan Krause

WHO WILL BE ROMANIA'S NEW PRIME MINISTER? Romanian media report that the
National Peasant Party-Christian Democratic (PNT-CD) will decide today
who will be Romania's new premier. The main candidates are Mayor of
Bucharest Victor Ciorbea and Senators Radu Vasile and Ulm Spineanu, both
of whom were elected to Romania's upper house on the PNT-CD ticket
earlier this month. Meanwhile, the opinion poll institute IRSOP says
that only about half of those who backed Petre Roman in the first round
of the 17 November presidential elections followed his advice to vote
for Emil Constantinescu in the second round. Supporters of the Hungarian
Democratic Federation of Romania, however, appear to have rallied behind
Constantinescu, while 3% of the Party of Social Democracy of Romania's
backers also voted for him. Final results of the 17 November ballot are
due today. -- Michael Shafir

FINAL RESULTS OF FIRST ROUND OF MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
According to the Central Electoral Commission on 18 November, incumbent
President Mircea Snegur won 38.71% in the first round of the
presidential elections the previous day. He was followed by
parliamentary Chairman Petru Lucinshci with 27.69%, Chairman of the
Communists' Party Vladimir Voronin (10.26%), Premier Andrei Sangheli
(9.5%), and Valeriu Matei, leader of the pro-Western Party of Democratic
Forces (8.88%). Four other candidates received between 0.43% and 2.13%
of the vote. Snegur and Lucinschi will now take part in a run-off,
scheduled for 1 December. -- Zsolt Mato

BULGARIAN POLITICIANS DISCUSS CURRENCY BOARD. Outgoing President Zhelyu
Zhelev on 18 November met representatives of all caucuses to discuss the
possible introduction of a currency board, Duma reported. Bulgarian
Socialist Party (BSP) representatives took part in the discussion,
despite an earlier statement by Prime Minister Zhan Videnov saying they
would not. Stefan Savov, joint leader of the People's Union, said his
party would support a BSP draft law under certain circumstances that
would "more or less amount to the resignation of this government." He
added that the current opposition will take over only after early
parliamentary elections. Ahmed Dogan, chairman of the mainly ethnic
Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedom, supported this position. Union
of Democratic Forces politicians said they are still consulting with
foreign experts and have not yet made a final decision on their stance.
-- Stefan Krause

RUN ON BULGARIAN STATE SAVINGS BANK. Bulgarians on 18 November formed
long lines outside the State Savings Bank (DSK) offices throughout the
country, national media reported. Fearing hyperinflation and the
unforeseen consequences of the possible introduction of the currency
board, people withdrew their savings to convert them into hard currency.
DSK Director Bistra Dimitrova told the parliament that the bank's
reserves are sufficient to meet its obligations only until next March.
The DSK had retained until recently its reputation as trustworthy.
Finance Minister Dimitar Kostov told Pari that the lack of confidence in
the DSK was "unfounded." -- Maria Koinova

[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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