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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 108 Part II, 8 June 1998


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 2, No. 108 Part II, 8 June 1998

A daily report of developments in Eastern and Southeastern
Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia prepared by
the staff of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

This is Part II, a compilation of news concerning Central,
Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Part I covers Russia,
Transcaucasia and Central Asia and is distributed
simultaneously as a second document. Back issues of RFE/RL
Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest are online at RFE/RL's
Web site: http://www.rferl.org/newsline

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Headlines, Part II

* HUNGARY'S FIDESZ AGREES TO FORM COALITION WITH
SMALLHOLDERS

* EUROPEAN LEADERS CONDEMN SERBIAN MILITARY ACTION

* ANNAN, REFUGEES SPEAK OF ATROCITIES

End Note: PRESIDENTS, PARLIAMENTS, AND POWER
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

LUKASHENKA SLAMS GOVERNMENT FOR FOOD SHORTAGES, PRICE HIKES.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr slammed the government for
food shortages and unregulated price increases in Belarus
during a televised cabinet session on 5 June, Reuters and
ITAR-TASS reported. Lukashenka said he is angry that food
produced in Belarus is being sold in neighboring Russia. He
lambasted the cabinet for its inability to keep the monthly
inflation rate within a 2 percent range. And he also
rejected the government's proposal to bring domestic prices
closer to those in Russia. JM

BELARUSIAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS PLEDGE TO FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY.
At a congress in Minsk on 6 June, the opposition Belarusian
Social Democratic Party (Popular Hramada) pledged to fight
for democracy as well as constitutional law and order in
Belarus, Belapan reported. Party leader Mikola Statkevich
told the congress that the fight will be conducted primarily
by means of mass protest actions. He added that if his party
were take part in presidential or parliamentary elections
under the constitution adopted in the controversial 1996
referendum, the result would be the legalization of
Lukashenka's regime. The Social Democrats want elections to
be held on the basis of the 1994 constitution. JM

TAX CHIEF SAYS UKRAINE HAS 150,000 MILLIONAIRES. Ukrainian
Tax Administration chief Mykola Azarov has said only seven
persons declared incomes exceeding 1 million hryvni
($500,000) in Ukraine last year, Ukrainian Television
reported. According to Azarov, the number of millionaires
who made false declarations totals some 150,000. He also
estimated that some 10-12 billion hryvni is circulating in
Ukraine's shadow economy. Azarov said the tax bodies will be
able to collect some 3.5 billion hryvni from that sector by
the end of this year if the Supreme Council adopts a package
of new tax legislation. JM

LATVIAN PREMIER FEARS MORE RUSSIAN PRESSURE. Speaking at a
seminar organized by RFE/RL in Washington on 5 June, Guntars
Krasts said he expects Russia to press for a further easing
of Latvia's citizenship regulations, despite the
parliament's approval of amendments to that law in the
second reading (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 5 June 1998). But
Krasts added that he hopes those amendments will persuade
Russia to be more accommodating. The Russians adopted an
"exaggerated" response to the issue of citizenship, he
commented, saying the amendments offer the chance to be
"less confrontational." As if to underscore Krasts's fears,
the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement the
following day noting "some progress" on amendments to the
country's citizenship law but only on a "small part" of
Moscow's recommendations. The ministry condemned the fact
that the Latvian parliament did not use emergency procedures
to implement changes to the law. JC

POLISH COALITION LOSES VOTE ON NUMBER OF PROVINCES... The
parliament took 12 hours to pass the administrative reform
bill on 5 June. No fewer than 453 deputies of the 460-seat
parliament were present for the session. The ruling
coalition of the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) and the
Freedom Union (UW) lost the first vote, which was on
reducing the number of provinces from 49 to 12, with 242
deputies voting against it, including 38 AWS and seven UW
deputies. The AWS parliamentary group responded by
dismissing deputies Jan Lopuszanski and Adam Slomka from its
ranks, while six other deputies quit the AWS in protest at
Slomka's expulsion. An AWS spokesman told the 8 June "Gazeta
Wyborcza" that a total of 15 deputies are expected to leave
the AWS but that the ruling coalition will be "even
stronger." JM

...BUT PREVAILS BY PASSING BILL ON ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM.
After several votes on amendments introducing larger numbers
of provinces had failed, the parliamentary speaker ordered a
vote on the entire administrative reform bill, including the
12-province option. This time, the bill passed by a vote of
246 to 202. However, both the AWS and the UW want the upper
house to increase the number of provinces to 15, thereby
taking into account protests by some localities over losing
the status of provincial center. JM

CZECH SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC LEADER OUTLINES PRIORITIES. In an
interview with Reuters on 5 June, Social Democratic Party
(CSSD) leader Milos Zeman said that if his party wins the
elections scheduled for later this month, it will begin its
term by launching an "Italian-style clean hands campaign."
Zeman said the country is ruled by an "economy of Mafiosi"
and this is why the "Czech economic transformation has been
unsuccessful." Zeman said he hopes to win 35 percent, rather
than 25 percent, of the vote, as estimated by pollsters. He
also said he would prefer to form a coalition with the
Christian Democrats and the Pensioners' Party but would not
hesitate to form a minority government supported by both the
Communists and the Republican Party. MS

SLOVAK PSYCHIATRISTS ASK MECIAR TO QUIT POLITICS. A
conference of Slovak psychiatrists on 7 June addressed a
letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar asking him to
resign and leave politics this month, CTK reported. The
letter, endorsed by 183 out of the 222 participants in the
conference, said Meciar must withdraw "in his own interest
and in the interest of Slovaks who want to live freely and
without fear." It also said Meciar "should not transfer his
own conflicts, desires, and view of the world to the rest of
population." Meciar accused the psychiatrists of "abusing
science [for use] against dissidents." He said former
Russian dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn were both accused by psychiatrists "of being
fools." MS

SLOVAK OPPOSITIONIST STEPS DOWN OVER BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS.
One day after resigning as election manager of the
opposition Slovak Democratic Coalition (SDK), Josef Paczelt
told journalists in Bratislava that he is assuming
responsibility for a bribery scandal that emerged late last
month. The weekly "Domino Forum" on 28 May wrote that the
SDK has offered "hefty sums" to three journalists to report
favorably on the party. At the time, SDK spokesman Martin
Lengyel rejected the allegations and threatened to sue the
journalist who made them. Later, however, another SDK
official confirmed that the incident had occurred,
describing it as "absolute stupidity." MS

HUNGARY'S FIDESZ AGREES TO FORM COALITION WITH SMALLHOLDERS.
With 393 votes in favor and two abstentions, the congress of
the Federation of Young Democrats-Hungarian Civic Party
(FIDESZ-MPP) on 6 June formally authorized the party's
leadership to start coalition talks with the Independent
Smallholders' Party (FKGP). FIDESZ-MPP chairman Viktor Orban
said his party planned to form a coalition only with the
Hungarian Democratic Forum and the Christian Democratic
Federation but the election results force FIDESZ-MPP to
enter into a coalition with the FKGP. Former Free Democrat
leader Peter Tolgyessy, now a member of FIDESZ-MPP,
commented that "it is practically impossible to govern with
the FKGP." A coalition with Smallholders means that FIDESZ-
MPP must "continuously prepare for early elections," he
added. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

EUROPEAN LEADERS CONDEMN SERBIAN MILITARY ACTION. British
Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on 8 June said Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic's "heavy-handed" actions
against Kosovar Albanians makes the possibility of foreign
military intervention more likely. Cook made his comments
before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. He
added that military intervention would require a mandate
from the UN Security Council, which Russia has insisted on.
Austrian Foreign Minister Wolfgang Schuessel, who met with
Milosevic in Belgrade and Kosovar shadow state President
Ibrahim Rugova in Prishtina on 6 June, said the situation is
"drifting apart" and that "this powder keg" can be defused
only by the deployment of NATO or UN troops. On 7 June,
British Premier Tony Blair discussed the crisis on the
telephone with U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian
President Boris Yeltsin. A conference of Central European
foreign ministers meeting in Brioni, Croatia, condemned the
Serbian military action as "ethnic cleansing." PB

ANNAN, REFUGEES SPEAK OF ATROCITIES. UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan said on 5 June that he is "disturbed" by Serbian
military actions in Kosova and condemned "atrocities"
committed there, Reuters reported. He said Serbian forces
cannot be allowed to repeat the "ethnic cleansing" that
occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina. U.S. Senate majority leader
Trent Lott said on 7 June that the U.S. cannot allow "this
slaughter to occur." The Belgrade-based independent news
agency Beta quoted Kosovar refugees in Albania as saying
they saw a mass grave near the village of Decan filled with
the bodies of ethnic Albanian men killed by Serbian forces.
Other refugees have spoken of corpses lying in the streets
of their villages. PB

NATO TEAM VISITS ALBANIAN-KOSOVA BORDER... Two NATO
officials on 7 June observed the situation in northeastern
Albania, accompanied by Albanian Defense Ministry officials,
Reuters reported. The officials also viewed the situation of
refugees there and met with OSCE and UN humanitarian aid
officials. They officials returned to Brindisi, Italy,
following their eight-hour visit. PB

...AS FIGHTING CONTINUES. Albanian Television reported on 7
June that Serbian forces are shelling two Kosovar villages
visible from the border, Reuters reported. According to the
agency, some 50 heavily armed Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)
soldiers crossed the Albanian border into Kosova. The
Serbian police headquarters in Ratkoc was reported blown up
by the UCK amid fierce fighting and then abandoned by
Serbian police. The Serbian Interior Ministry on 7 June said
that three policeman died and five were injured in recent
fighting but that the police had "annihilated strong
terrorist gangs." In Prishtina, Serbian police used clubs on
7 June to break up a peaceful demonstration by several
thousand ethnic Albanians. Three people were reported
seriously injured. PB

KOSOVA REFUGEE INFLUX CONTINUES. More than 7,500 refugees
had registered with the Albanian authorities by 7 June,
"Koha Jone" reported. Another several thousand have arrived
in Albania in recent days but have not yet registered.
Several thousand have also fled to Montenegro. Foreign
Minister Paskal Milo told state television that the
government expects up to 20,000 to register. Elsewhere in
Tirana, the right-of-center Union for Democracy coalition
organized a rally in Tirana on 6 June. The meeting was
attended by some 5,000 people, many of whom held posters
expressing support for the UCK or calling for armed
resistance against Serbia. FS

YUGOSLAV OFFICIAL BLAMES TERRORISTS FOR REFUGEE FLIGHT.
Dragomir Vucicevic, a high-ranking Yugoslav Foreign Ministry
official, accused "Albanian terrorists" of causing Kosovars
to flee their homes, dpa reported. Vucicevic told a group of
foreign diplomats in Prishtina that the idea to have
refugees was "invented by the terrorists and certain media
in order to secure NATO intervention." He said the
"terrorists" have destroyed houses and whole villages in
Kosova in an effort to punish ethnic Albanians who are loyal
to the Yugoslav government, Tanjug reported. PB

BERISHA PRAISES UCK. Former Albanian President and current
Democratic Party leader Sali Berisha, speaking at a Tirana
press conference on 5 June, "conveyed special greetings to
the Kosova Liberation Army," the pro-Berisha daily "Albania"
reported. Berisha called the UCK's struggle "holy" and
described the Serbian forces as "barbarians." Berisha called
on all Kosova Albanian men to return and defend their homes.
The UCK, meanwhile, published a declaration in "Koha Ditore"
on 7 June calling on all able bodied men aged 18 to 55 to
remain in or return to Kosova and join the UCK. The BBC
reported from Prishtina that many observers regard the
statement warning men who fled Kosova in recent days to
return and fight or face retribution. FS

YUGOSLAV OPPOSITION LEADER SUPPORTS DJUKANOVIC. Serbian
Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic on 6 June said that he
supports the platform of Montenegrin President Milo
Djukanovic, Beta reported. Draskovic said the victory of the
For a Better Life coalition in Montenegro parliamentary
elections must be honored by Belgrade. Draskovic said his
party and Djukanovic's could be political partners working
for the "mutual benefit of Montenegro and Serbia." PB

TRUCK DRIVERS DEMAND NEW BOSNIAN LICENSE PLATES. Bosnian
Croat truck drivers in the Herzegovinian town of Mostar have
demanded that they be given the internationally recognized
car documents and license plates that Bosnian Croat
officials have rejected. All the new documents use both the
Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, and the joint license plates
make it impossible to distinguish from which region the
vehicle comes. The new documents and plates were imposed by
Bosnia's high representative, Carlos Westendorp, after
Muslims, Croats, and Serbs refused to introduce them.
Vehicles without the joint documents are unable to travel
across state or country borders. The drivers said they will
impose road blocks if their demands are not met. PB

TUDJMAN PRESSURES BOSNIAN CROATS TO REMAIN UNITED. Bosnian
Croat officials met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman
in Zagreb on 5 June to discuss the split within the main
Bosnian Croat party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HZD-BH),
Hina reported. The Croatian member of the Bosnian
presidency, Kresimir Zubak, has announced his intention to
form a more moderate splinter party. Zubak, a moderate, told
the daily "Vjesnik" that he believes the HZD-BH's leadership
still wants to annex southwestern Bosnia. The OSCE has
approved the formation of the new party and will allow it to
participate in the September parliamentary elections. A
statement released after the meeting with Tudjman urged the
HZD-BH to remain united during the Bosnian parliamentary
elections. PB

ALBANIAN DEPUTY THREATENS PREMIER. Democratic Party
legislator Azem Hajdari said Fatos Nano "should watch out
for himself because his travel outside Tirana is no longer
safe," "Gazeta Shqiptare" reported. Hajdari added that "Nano
[may try] to flee the country but we will [bring him back]
very soon." The daily wrote that this statement is a direct
threat against Nano. Hajdari has accused Nano of being
behind the 3 June assassination attempt against himself (see
"RFE/RL Newsline" 5 June 1998). FS

ROMANIAN RULING PARTY DIVIDED. At a seminar on the future of
the National Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD) on
6-7 June, former Premier Victor Ciorbea strongly attacked
the Democratic Party for having engineered the fall of his
cabinet earlier this year. He also criticized "groups"
within the PNTCD that failed to defend his government and
said the main coalition party must return to its "moral
values" and call early elections. PNTCD leader Ion
Diaconescu distanced himself from the call for early
elections but said he agrees that the PNTCD must form the
next government alone. Prime Minister Radu Vasile, who was
criticized by Ciorbea, said it is "unlikely" that the PNTCD
will be able to form the government by itself. He called on
the party to accommodate itself to the "realities of
coalition rule," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. MS

COALITION ALLIES RESPOND TO CIORBEA. The Democratic Party
said in a press release on 7 June that it does not wish to
"enter into public polemics" either with the former premier
or with the "group in the PNTCD that supports him". Valeriu
Stoica, deputy chairman of the National Liberal Party (PNL),
told a party forum in Alba Iulia that the PNL is "fed up"
with playing the "role of mediator" in the coalition and
must show "more intransigence" toward its partners. Stoica
also said the PNL must "forge its own identity within the
Democratic Convention of Romania and become again "the
representative of the national idea" that has been
traditionally associated with the party throughout its
history. MS

ROMANIAN TRIBUNAL REJECTS REGISTRATION OF NEW PARTY. The
Bucharest Municipal Tribunal on 5 June accepted the
objections raised by PNTCD deputy chairman Ion Ratiu against
the registration of the Romanian National Party (PNR).
Ratiu, a descendant of one of the founding fathers of the
19th-century PNL, said the party is "an insult" to the
memory of the PNR founders. The formation was established in
March by the Democratic Agrarian Party and the New Romania
Party; its secretary-general is former Romanian Intelligence
Service director Virgil Magureanu. In other news, a congress
of the Socialist Labor Party (PSM) on 6 June elected former
Ceausescu court poet Adrian Paunescu PSM executive chairman
and called for the PSM's reunification with the Socialist
Party. The latter split from the former in late 1994. MS

END NOTE

PRESIDENTS, PARLIAMENTS, AND POWER

by Paul Goble

	The transition from Communism in the post-Soviet
states currently finds some countries with a strong
president, others with a strong parliament, and a growing
number in which real power lies outside the government
itself.
	Examples of each have been very much in evidence
recently. In Azerbaijan, where the executive is clearly in
charge, President Heidar Aliev has dominated the discussions
at a Baku meeting of Western oil companies interested in
gaining access to the petroleum of the Caspian basin.
	In Ukraine, where the parliament is predominant, the
failure of the parliament to elect a new speaker has sent
shock waves through the political system and prompted
predictions that Kyiv will remain unable to address the
country's numerous economic problems.
	And in Russia, the country's economic crisis has
highlighted just how much power has passed from the
government to institutions beyond its reach. Instead of
calling in bankers, journalists, and others and giving them
directions, as would have been true only a few years ago,
Russian officials from President Boris Yeltsin down have
been consulting with them and requesting their assistance.
	Such variations are entirely natural and up to a point
welcome. There is no one model for how democratic political
regimes should organize themselves, nor for what should be
the balance of power between the executive, the legislative,
and society as a whole. The devolution of power from the
executive, always the most powerful--in fact, if not on
paper--in the Soviet era, is a necessary part of the
transition from the communist past.
	But if this pattern is both natural and welcome, it
also presents some real problems for the countries
themselves, for their interactions with one another, and for
other countries that seek to deal with them.
	For each of the countries of the region, this pattern
has created two very different problems. On the one hand,
most people living in these states began their post-
communist existence with a belief that only a strong
legislature could guarantee democracy. But experience has
taught many of them that legislatures may, in fact, block
further change and that only a strong executive can help
them institutionalize the arrangements that make democracy
possible.
	On the other hand, everyone in this region recognized
that the all-embracing Soviet state was too strong. But ever
more countries confront a situation in which the state is so
weak that it cannot defend the interests of the population
against uncontrolled private power or outside interference.
	For the region as a whole, such variations make it
increasingly difficult for these countries to cooperate.
Most immediately, it makes it difficult to decide who should
meet with whom--sometimes the president in one country is
the appropriate representative and sometimes the prime
minister or speaker of the parliament. And perhaps more
important, it means that even when the appropriate officials
are brought together--which does not always happen--they
lack the power to implement any of the commitments they
make.
	For outsiders who want to work with the governments of
this region, this incredible variety also creates some
serious problems. Not only does it introduce a certain
confusion over whether ambassadors focus on presidents,
prime ministers, or someone else but it also means that
outside governments may create problems by the choice they
make in this regard.
	Some Western governments have promoted a
"presidentialization of politics" in these countries, both
for simplicity and out of a sense that it is easier to deal
with one person rather than a group. While understandable,
that approach carries with it some real dangers. Not only
may it restrict the transition to democracy by consolidating
executive power at the expense of the legislative; it also
tends to ignore the real devolution of authority away from
the governments to other centers of power in the society.
	Democracy, as any number of analysts have pointed out,
is often a very messy form of government. But as the
experience of the post-Soviet states shows, it can be even
messier if those involved with it fail to understand just
how many forms that messy system can take.

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