Standing, as I do, in the view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone. - Edith Cavell 1865-1915 (Spoken to the chaplain who attended her before her execution by firing squad, 12 Oct. 1915.)
OMRI DAILY DIGEST

No. 243, Part II, 18 December 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 OMRI 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'S PARLIAMENT DELAYS 1997 STATE BUDGET APPROVAL. Parliamentary
Speaker Oleksander Moroz has announced that nearly all factions agree
that the draft of the 1997 state budget should be sent back for
revision, Ukrainian TV reported on 17 December. The two largest centrist
factions, Reform and Constitutional Center, proposed that the budget be
rejected. Parliament recently resumed discussions over the draft budget
after they were suspended on 5 November. The government introduced the
first draft version on 14 September. The second draft version is based
on new tax laws that have yet to be approved by parliament. The
Parliamentary Budget Commission rejected both drafts, claiming they were
based on false macroeconomic figures. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

FOREIGN CREDITS TO UKRAINE. International donors have pledged to send
more than $5 billion in aid to Ukraine over the next five years,
international agencies reported on 17 December. Next year, Ukraine will
receive $3.5 billion in basic financing, bank loans, and trade credits.
The IMF would disperse $1.1 billion of the credits, the World Bank a
further $1 billion, while the rest will come from other financial
institutions or individual donor nations. The same day, the EBRD
announced that it would lend $113 million to Ukraine to finance the
replacement of a coal-fired burner at the Donbasenerho Henco plant, part
of a plan to replace the power lost through the closure of the Chornobyl
nuclear power station. The 210 MW boiler will cost $163 million.
Donbasenerho currently generates 15% of Ukraine's total energy
production. -- Ustina Markus

BUDGET SUBMITTED TO BELARUSIAN PARLIAMENT FOR REVIEW. The House of
Representatives has started to review the state budget for 1997,
Belarusian Radio and ITAR-TASS reported on 17 December. In line with the
social-economic development plan for 1996-2000, 55.8% of budget revenues
are to be spent on increased housing construction, subsidies to the
agricultural sector, and increased exports. The budget also foresees GDP
growth of 5% in 1997 and expects an average monthly inflation rate of
less than 2%. The budget deficit should be around 3.3% of GDP and will
be financed through the issuance of short-term state bonds and credits
from the National Bank of Belarus. The foreign debt is not to go above
$2 billion. Currently, it stands at around $1 billion. The budget also
features lower taxes for businesses and enterprises. -- Ustina Markus

BELARUS THREATENED WITH OIL SHORTAGES. Belarus's two oil refineries may
run out of oil in four or five days due to difficulties in converting
local currency into hard currency, Reuters reported. The vice-president
of the Belarusian state oil concern, Uladzimir Prakapchuk, hopes that
supplies will resume following the Central Bank's decision to convert
$22 million. Russian Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Valerii Garipov
confirmed that crude oil exports will decrease in December as a result
of a government program to channel more oil to domestic refineries. --
Sergei Solodovnikov

LITHUANIA'S 1997 DRAFT BUDGET. The Seimas on 16 December discussed
changes in the 1997 budget that had been proposed by the previous
government of Mindaugas Stankevicius, Radio Lithuania reported. Prime
Minister Gediminas Vagnorius stated that the new government will not
contribute to increases in the state debt but will run a deficit in
order to repay previous debts. Only deputies from the Homeland Union
(Conservatives of Lithuania) voted for the first draft of the budget.
Even deputies in the governing coalition partner, the Christian
Democratic Party, joined the Center Union, Social Democratic, and
Democratic Labor parties in demanding major revisions or a totally new
budget. -- Saulius Girnius

LUSTRATION LAW IN POLISH SEJM COMMISSION. The Polish Sejm commission has
concluded the main part of its work on the lustration law, Polish media
reported. According to the project, state officials, including the
president, prime minister, ministers, judges, and parliament members, as
well as candidates for those posts, will be required to release
statements revealing whether they had worked in the security services or
collaborated with those services in 1944-1990. The Supreme Court's Penal
Chamber will create a Lustration Court consisting of 21 judges who, in
three-person teams, will verify the statements by referring to Interior
and Defense ministry archives. Defendants will have the right to appeal
the verdict. The Lustration Court's ruling will be published in the
Government Gazette and people found to have lied on their statement will
be dismissed from their job. The National Judicature Council has
criticized the idea of using courts as lustration agencies. Prime
Minister Jan Olszewski's attempt to conduct lustration ended in 1992
when his government fell. -- Jakub Karpinski

CZECH DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS. Civic Democratic Alliance (ODA)
Chairman Jan Kalvoda, a deputy prime minister and the minister of
justice, resigned on 17 December from his government posts and gave up
his parliament deputy mandate. Kalvoda told journalists that he was
doing so in response to the fact that he had for years used the degree
of Doctor of Law (JUDr.), despite the fact that he never earned the
degree. He graduated from Charles University's Law School with a lesser
degree. Another four deputies of the Czech parliament have admitted to
using JUDr. degrees without having earned them. One of them, a deputy
representing the Christian Democratic Union-Czechoslovak People's Party,
gave up her deputy mandate on 17 December but the other three (two from
Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party and one from the
opposition Social Democrats) have so far refused to resign. -- Jiri Pehe

OPPOSITION PROTESTS SLOVAK PENAL CODE AMENDMENT. Opposition and trade
union representatives on 17 December strongly protested the parliament's
approval that same day of the Penal Code amendment on the protection of
the republic, Slovak media reported. The new version was more moderate
than that passed in March, which provided for the imprisonment of
individuals who organize public rallies "with the intention of
subverting the country's constitutional system, territorial integrity,
or defense capability" and who "spread false information" that could
damage Slovakia's interests. The new proposal replaces the phrase
"organize public rallies" with a "call for mass riots" and omits the
clause about spreading false information. Still, the opposition fears
that civic freedoms are threatened. Slovak National Party chairman Jan
Slota said he is "very happy" with the law's approval, adding that "the
integrity of the young Slovakia is jeopardized by some representatives
of the Hungarian coalition and opposition." -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAK OPPOSITION DRAFTS LAW ON DIRECT ELECTION OF PRESIDENT. The
Democratic Union on 17 December submitted a proposal, signed by 31
opposition deputies, calling for a special parliamentary session to
discuss a law on the president's direct election, press agencies
reported. Slovak Parliamentary Chairman Ivan Gasparovic must call the
session within seven days. The opposition parties proposed two issues
for the agenda--a constitutional amendment on the president's direct
election and a referendum on the same issue. President Michal Kovac's
term ends in March 1998, and a new president is unlikely to be elected
since the constitution requires the head of state to win the support of
90 parliamentary deputies. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES 1997 BUDGET . . . Parliament on 17
December approved the 1997 state budget, Hungarian media reported. The
budget was passed by a vote of 257-80 with two abstentions. It projects
a deficit of 309.7 billion forints ($1.93 billion), 8 billion forints
more than originally planned. Total revenues are set at 2,2251.896
billion forints and total expenditure at 2,561.607 billion forints.
According to Magyar Hirlap, the state will have to issue 30 billion-40
billion forints worth of state securities every month to finance the
deficit. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

. . . AND A CONCEPT FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION. Parliament also passed the
long-debated concept for the new constitution, Hungarian media reported.
Two opposition parties--the Young Democrats and the Democratic People's
Party--sided with the ruling coalition in approving the concept, which
was prepared by the parliament's constitutional committee after the
Socialist party leadership boycotted the passage of the original concept
in June. The reworked concept contains all the elements suggested by the
Socialists--including references to the "social state"--but some
observers fear it could block future stabilization plans. If the
government's draft text for the basic law is passed by parliament next
spring, a referendum will be held on the new constitution in fall 1997.
-- Zsofia Szilagyi

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SERBIAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH STUDENTS . . . As mass demonstrations
continued across Serbia and the independent trade union Nezavisnost led
another huge rally in Belgrade, President Slobodan Milosevic met with
students on 17 December. A student delegation which had marched to
Belgrade from Serbia's second largest city, Nis, delivered Milosevic a
protest letter and samples of spoiled ballots. The opposition Zajedno
coalition has accused of vote-rigging in the 17 November municipal
elections, costing it victories in a dozen municipalities. Milosevic
pledged to investigate allegations of electoral improprieties and a
state TV broadcast quoted him as saying, "Mistakes are always possible
... I assure you that this state will not protect someone who has broken
the law, whether that someone is a citizen or an official." -- Stan
Markotich

. . . BUT REMAINS DEFIANT. Milosevic also told the students he would not
tolerate their alleged promotion of foreign meddling in Serbia's
"domestic" affairs. "We must be completely clear, however much your
leaders go to embassies and send envoys and travel to world capitals, a
foreign hand shall not rule Serbia," Reuters quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, the OSCE confirmed on 17 December that it would send a
delegation, headed by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, to
Belgrade to investigate circumstances surrounding the disputed 17
November election results. -- Stan Markotich

MONTENEGRIN LEADERS LAUNCH COURT ACTION. President Momir Bulatovic,
Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic, and parliamentary Speaker Svetozar
Marovic have filed lawsuits against several leading opposition figures,
alleging that they committed slander during the 3 November election
campaign, Montena-fax reported on 17 December. The legal action was
undertaken just one day after the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists
proposed that several terms, including "murderer," "maniac," "fool," and
"traitor" be banned from legislative debates. Novak Kilibarda, one of
the leading opposition figures named in the slander suit, said the
filing of the charges was little more than a ploy by the government to
divert public attention away from serious issues such as the
"catastrophic" state of the economy. -- Stan Markotich

BOSNIAN SERB LEADERSHIP WELCOMES SFOR. NATO gave final approval on 17
December to SFOR, which will formally succeed IFOR on 20 December. It
will be a 31,000-strong contingent with an 18-month mandate, with the
largest individual contributions being 8,500 Americans, 5,000 Britons,
3,000 Germans, and 2,500 French, AFP reported. The Serbian
representative on the Bosnian state presidency, Momcilo Krajisnik, said
that IFOR had done well and that the Pale leadership had worked hard to
persuade the Bosnian Serb public to accept it. IFOR was "a force that
protected peace and not one or the other entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina,"
he concluded, adding that there were few serious incidents during its
mandate and that its record was better than that of its predecessor,
UNPROFOR. Krajisnik stated that all three sides agreed that SFOR's
mandate will be the same as IFOR's. -- Patrick Moore

BOSNIAN WAR CRIMES UPDATE. The Pale leadership has also rolled out the
welcome mat to Judge Louise Arbour, who heads the Hague-based
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Prime
Minister Gojko Klickovic has invited her to visit the Republika Srpska,
AFP reported on 17 December. Most of the war criminals indicted in The
Hague are Serbs, but three Muslims and a Croat will go on trial on 28
January for crimes against Serbs at the Celebici camp in 1992. For their
part, the Serbs on 24 December will begin trying Bosnian Muslim leader
Alija Izetbegovic in absentia in Banja Luka for war crimes, a move that
the Muslims have strongly condemned as a propaganda ploy. -- Patrick
Moore

RAIL WORKERS END STRIKE, TEACHERS DEMONSTRATE . . . Croatian rail
workers on 17 December ended a three-week strike after the High Court
rejected their appeal against an earlier ruling which branded the action
illegal, Vecernji List reported the next day. The High Court ruled that
the unions had failed to respect the Transport Ministry's demands that
they maintain a minimum traffic flow, AFP reported. Croatian railway
unions called the strike to demand higher wages and the payment of an
estimated $40 million in wage arrears. Meanwhile, about 1,000 to 2,000
teachers and research workers demonstrated the same day in Zagreb to
demand a 15% raise, Novi List reported the next day. The government had
only promised them a 5% pay hike. The average monthly wage in education
is about $350, or $50 less than the national average. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

. . . BUT IMF WARNS CROATIA TO BE "CAREFUL" WITH WAGE POLICY. An IMF
delegation on 17 December gave preliminary approval to the Croatian
government's economic program up to the year 1999, which could free up
to $500 million in loans, international and local media reported. Robert
Feldman, the head of the IMF mission, said the loans were contingent on
meeting the agreed targets set out in the program, such as real economic
growth of 5% and low inflation, AFP reported. The program calls for
maintaining macroeconomic stabilization, including a "careful" wage
policy with wage increases linked to increases in productivity. Feldman
also said the country would have to show significant progress on
privatization and restructuring, which would probably lead to more
unemployment. But he said that investment in infrastructure should
create jobs, as would the creation of new businesses. -- Daria Sito
Sucic

ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DELAYS IMPLEMENTING ELECTORAL PROMISES. Ulm
Spineanu, the minister in charge of economic reform, said on 17 December
that the government will have to delay the implementation of its
electoral promises concerning "social measures" aimed at improving
living standards, Romanian TV reported on 17 December. One day earlier,
the daily Libertatea quoted Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea as saying that
as a resul of talks with Paul Thompsen, the chief IMF negotiator for
Romania last week, the measures would be postponed until mid-January,
when new parleys on an IMF stand-by loan are scheduled. The IMF is
opposed to increasing allowances for children and minimum pensions for
peasants to 50,000 lei (about $13) and recommends immediate energy price
increases, instead of the gradual increasing envisaged by the
government. -- Michael Shafir

TRANSDNIESTRIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE. Vladimir Malakhov, the
only candidate running against President Igor Smirnov in the 22 December
Transdniester breakaway region's presidential election, has threatened
to withdraw from the race, Infotag reported on 17 December. Malakhov
said "equal rights conditions" were not respected and the Transdniester
media were covering only Smirnov's campaign. He also denied accusations
that he would work with Moldova's president-elect, Petru Lucinschi, for
the unification of the region with Moldova. Malakhov said he envisaged a
federation "in which both our republics would enjoy equal status."
Meanwhile, Lucinschi said the Transdniestrian elections will change
nothing, because the international community recognizes only the
Moldovan state. He reiterated the position that Transdniester should be
granted a "special status" that would include separate representative
and executive bodies "for an efficient administration of the region." --
Michael Shafir

FORMER BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER DIES. Communist-era Prime Minister
Stanko Todorov died on 17 December at age 76, Duma reported. He joined
the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1943 and became a Politburo member in
1961. After holding several government posts, he was prime minister from
1971-1981, the longest-serving prime minister in modern Bulgarian
history. Todorov was parliament chairman from 1981-1990 and among the
Communist party leaders who in November 1989 ousted long-time Communist
dictator Todor Zhivkov. -- Stefan Krause

SOLUTION TO THE BULGARIAN-MACEDONIAN LANGUAGE CONTROVERSY? The Bulgarian
Foreign Ministry has drawn up five possible ways of avoiding language
arguments between Bulgaria and Macedonia, Trud and Kontinent reported on
18 December. A day earlier, the projects were discussed by the
Consultative Council for National Security, which was convened by
outgoing President Zhelyu Zhelev after his meeting with Macedonian
President Kiro Gligorov at the OSCE summit in Lisbon. Bulgaria refuses
to recognize the existence of a separate Macedonian language. Since
1992, the controversy has postponed the signing of an inter-state treaty
and 12 other bilateral accords. Bulgaria will allegedly no longer insist
on its proposal to draw up documents in English or another official UN
language, which Macedonia had rejected as unacceptable. Gligorov
proposed that the new contracts be signed along the lines of the 1994
economic agreement, which was drawn up in Bulgarian and Macedonian
without explicitly stating which languages were being used. -- Maria
Koinova in Sofia

BULGARIAN CURRENCY IN SHORT SUPPLY? Bulgaria's exchange bureaus are
running out of leva, 24 chasa reported on 18 December. The previous day,
the Bulgarian currency gained against the dollar, rising from about 500
leva/$1 to about 470 leva/$1 on 17 December. Currency dealers said many
people are selling hard currency to buy Christmas presents, while
companies are buying leva to pay taxes and outstanding bills. In other
news, the government announced it will sell controlling stakes in two
major state-owned pharmaceutical companies, Troyapharm and Pharmacia.
The sales are part of a program aimed at raising $1 billion for the
state budget by selling 18 major state-owned firms. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Victor Gomez

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