We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers. - Martin Luther King Jr
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 136, Part II, 15 July 1999


________________________________________________________ 
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 136, Part II, 15 July 1999 
 
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 
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Headlines, Part II 
 
* PRICES TO INCREASE IN BELARUS? 
 
* RUGOVA RETURNS TO KOSOVA 
 
* NO PROGRESS IN BELGRADE-PODGORICA TALKS 
 
End Note: MOLDOVA AND THE PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM: LITTLE 
COUNTRY, BIG QUESTION 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
 
EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE 
 
PRICES TO INCREASE IN BELARUS? First Deputy Prime 
Minister Vasil Dalhalyou told Belarusian Television on 
14 July that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has 
instructed him to make profitable "in the near future" 
the production of basic foodstuffs, including meat, 
milk, and bread. Dalhalyou said the government will have 
to make "moves" in its pricing policy to obtain that 
goal. In particular, he suggested that the price of milk 
will be increased. He also said the government is 
considering introducing limits on subsidized electricity 
supplies and raising public transport fares. JM 
 
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT CREATES COUNCIL TO PROMOTE PRIVATE 
BUSINESS. Lukashenka on 13 July signed an edict setting 
up a Council for the Development of Entrepreneurship in 
Belarus, which is to be a consultative body under the 
presidential administration. According to Belarusian 
Television, the council will "render integrated state 
support to the development of non-state-owned economic 
entities as well as to restructuring the economy and 
forming competitive [economic] relations." Lukashenka, 
who formerly called private businessmen "lousy fleas," 
may have been forced to make this concession to private 
entrepreneurship by the urgent need to fill the 
virtually empty state coffers. JM 
 
UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT CONTINUES TO KILL KUCHMA'S BILLS. 
Lawmakers on 13 July turned down President Leonid 
Kuchma's amendments to the law on value-added tax, Info 
Bank reported. Kuchma proposed that VAT rates for resold 
goods and services be determined by the original 
purchase price, not the sale price, arguing that the 
provision would generate more budget revenues. The same 
day, the parliament rejected a presidential bill on tax 
privileges for newly created small businesses. Intelnews 
reported that the parliament also failed to ratify a 
Polish-Ukrainian agreement on a $20 million credit line 
offered by Poland last year. The loan was intended to 
finance joint economic projects, in particular 
manufacturing Polish "Bizon" grain harvesters in Kharkiv 
and Kovel. JM 
 
UKRAINE TO PAY OVERDUE BOND TO ING BARINGS IN FULL. The 
Finance Ministry announced on 14 July that Ukraine will 
pay an overdue $155 million bond to the Dutch-based ING 
Barings bank on 2 August (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 
1999). The sides agreed that Ukraine will make another 
issue of Eurobonds, nominated in German marks, to raise 
the money to meet the debt. The bonds are to be sold to 
a group of investors selected by both the government and 
ING Barings. The cabinet spent more than a month trying 
to persuade ING Barings to allow it to pay off 20 
percent of the bond and convert the rest into three-year 
bonds. The bank did not agree to restructure the debt 
because it had resold the Ukrainian bond to other 
investors and would have had to persuade them to 
reschedule as well, AP reported. JM 
 
FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTER IN BALTIC STATES. Tarja Halonen 
made a whirlwind tour of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania 
on 14 July. After meeting with Estonian Foreign Minister 
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, she hinted that Latvia and 
Lithuania may be invited to EU accession negotiations 
later this year: "One shouldn't be taking rumors 
seriously, but I have heard as preliminary information 
that Latvia and Lithuania have done well," BNS quoted 
her as saying. In Riga, Halonen called on President 
Vaira Vike-Freiberga not to sign the controversial 
language law (see below). And in Vilnius, referring to 
the reported linkage between Lithuania's EU chances and 
the fate of the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, Halonen 
said it is "reasonable to take account of member states' 
viewpoint" since the decision on negotiations must be 
unanimous among all EU states, according to ELTA. 
Finland currently holds the rotating EU presidency. MH 
 
LATVIAN LANGUAGE LAW SENT BACK TO PARLIAMENT. President 
Vaira Vike-Freiberga sent back the controversial 
language law to the parliament late on 14 July. LETA 
reported that the president objected to seven points, 
which she said must be legally precise. She noted that 
the decision to send back the bill was "difficult." LETA 
commented that a parliamentary committee must review the 
objections made by Vike-Freiberga, but if the parliament 
rejects those objections, she must promulgate the law. 
The law, which governs language usage, has received 
negative assessments from the OSCE, the Council of 
Europe, the European Commission, and others for 
provisions on the private sector and public gatherings 
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 7 July 1999). The law originally 
passed overwhelmingly last week by a 73 to 16 vote. MH 
 
LITHUANIAN SOCIAL SECURITY FUND BORROWS AGAIN. The 
Lithuanian social insurance fund SODRA has received yet 
another guarantee from the government of additional 
borrowing. The fund, which is mired in financial 
difficulties, currently owes 184 million litas ($46 
million) to commercial banks, ELTA reported. The 
government order will help the fund obtain a 20 million 
litas loan to be used for pensions and other payments. 
It is estimated that the fund's deficit will reach 350 
million litas by year's end. MH 
 
POLISH GENERAL STAFF REORGANIZED. Defense Minister 
Janusz Onyszkiewicz on 14 July signed new Defense 
Ministry regulations to introduce "far-reaching changes" 
in the General Staff so that it can better cooperate 
with NATO, PAP reported. According to those regulations, 
the General Staff is a planning rather than command 
body, and the number of the staff's generals dropped 
from 47 to 28. "Rzeczpospolita" commented on 15 July 
that the new regulations do not affect the General Staff 
chief, who, according to the law on the Defense 
Ministry, commands the armed forces on behalf of the 
defense minister. JM 
 
CZECH PREMIER CONSIDERING CABINET RESHUFFLE. Milos Zeman 
on 14 July said after meeting with President Vaclav 
Havel that he is considering a reshuffle of the cabinet 
and has briefed the president on his ideas, Reuters 
reported. Zeman said the changes could be announced 
around 22 July, on the first anniversary of his minority 
Social Democrat (CSSD) government. After meeting with 
Zeman, Havel received Finance Minister Ivo Svoboda, who 
has often been at odds with other cabinet members. CTK, 
citing anonymous sources, said that apart from Svoboda, 
cabinet members who may be replaced are Industry and 
Trade Minister Miroslav Gregr, Health Minister Ivan 
David, and Transportation and Communication Minister 
Antonin Peltram. MS 
 
CZECH PRESIDENT OBJECTS TO PLANS TO CURTAIL 
PREROGATIVES. Havel told journalists on 14 July that he 
has "reservations" about the plan by a joint commission 
of the CSSD and the opposition Civic Democratic Party to 
curtail presidential prerogatives. Havel said that 
reducing the right of the president to grant judicial 
pardons amounted to "systematic nonsense." He also said 
that introducing the constitutional duty of the head of 
state to appoint the leader of the largest parliamentary 
group to form a new government after elections would 
signal "mistrust in the president's common sense." He 
spoke after Zeman briefed him on the planned changes. MS 
 
SLOVAK HUNGARIAN ETHNIC PARTY WANTS SCHUSTER TO RETURN 
LAW TO PARLIAMENT. Leaders of the Hungarian Coalition 
Party (SMK) on 14 July called on President Rudolf 
Schuster not to promulgate the minority language law 
passed by the legislature last week but to return it to 
the parliament. Schuster, who met with the SMK leaders 
within the framework of meetings with all parliamentary 
party groups, pledged to set up a team of experts and 
decide on the issue after receiving their advice, CTK 
reported. MS 
 
HUNGARY TO MAKE MORE ARMED FORCES CUTS. Prime Minister 
Viktor Orban told Hungarian Radio on 14 July that a 
resolution recently approved by the government and kept 
secret till now stipulates that the military must 
undergo further change. "Due to expenditures that 
occurred during the Kosova crisis, the armed forces have 
reached the limit of their spending," he said, adding 
that "development projects promised upon accession to 
NATO have been halted." "Nepszabadsag" reported that the 
government intends to reduce the armed forces to 35,000- 
40,000 from the present 55,000. In other news, the 
Defense Ministry has banned the staff of its Strategic 
and Defense Research Institute from publishing, after 
some analysts released articles critical of NATO's air 
strikes in Yugoslavia, "Vilaggazdasag" reported on 15 
July. MSZ/MS 
 
HUNGARY'S SOCIALISTS SUBMIT BILL ON PRESIDENTIAL 
ELECTIONS. The opposition Hungarian Socialist Party 
(MSZP) submitted to the parliament on 14 July a motion 
to amend the constitution to allow direct presidential 
elections. Other parliamentary parties had indicated 
earlier that they will not support the motion. MSZ 
 
SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE 
 
RUGOVA RETURNS TO KOSOVA. Kosovar shadow-state President 
Ibrahim Rugova returned to Kosova from Italy via 
Macedonia on 15 July, an RFE/RL correspondent reported 
from the scene. Several thousand onlookers cheered and 
chanted "Rugova, Rugova" when he crossed into Kosova in 
a convoy of four diplomatic vehicles. He told his well- 
wishers that he is very happy to be entering a "free 
Kosova" with an international presence. He said he will 
work to rebuild Kosova's democratic and economic life 
and to obtain independence for the province. The 
previous day, Rugova's adviser, Alush Gashi, told 
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service that Rugova's "first 
meeting will be with UN Special Representative Sergio 
Vieira de Mello. Afterward, [he will meet his] 
Democratic League of Kosova's [LDK] leaders in Prishtina 
[and] give a press conference." Gashi stressed that 
"Rugova, as the founder of the LDK and the first 
president of the Republic of Kosova...is the most 
beloved and honored citizen of the republic.... I 
believe that his reception will...help Kosova move 
ahead." FS 
 
ARBOUR CONFIDENT MILOSEVIC WILL END UP IN THE HAGUE. 
Louise Arbour, who is the International Criminal 
Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia's chief prosecutor, 
said in Prishtina on 13 July that "we have launched a 
process that is irreversible. There is now an 
indictment issued by an international body that has 
the force of law," an RFE/RL South Slavic Service 
correspondent reported. She added: "I can assure you 
that...while Mr. Milosevic thought that he could keep 
me out of Kosova [in January], he will not be able to 
keep himself out of The Hague." Arbour met with KFOR 
commander General Sir Mike Jackson, Vieira de Mello, 
and international war crimes investigators to discuss 
cooperation between the tribunal, KFOR, and local 
courts. On 14 July, she visited a massacre site in 
Celina, where British forensic specialists recently 
discovered the bodies of 21 people, including 11 
children and seven women, shot dead at close range. FS 
 
ALBANIA, GREECE, MACEDONIA COORDINATE STABILITY PACT 
PROJECTS. Foreign Ministers Georgios Papandreou 
(Greece), Paskal Milo (Albania), and Aleksandar 
Dimitrov (Macedonia) met on the island of Agios 
Ahilios, Lake Prespa, on 14 July and agreed to present 
several joint projects at the Balkan stability pact 
summit in Sarajevo on 29 and 30 July. The projects 
include a pilot program allowing local residents 
easier cross-border travel in a 20 kilometer-wide 
border area within each country. Papandreou said that 
the program aims at allowing residents "more ability 
to travel...while making sure we are strict on border 
crime and illegal immigration," AP reported. The 
ministers also pledged to launch annual joint meetings 
of the three countries' prime ministers. Milo told an 
RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent in Tirana 
after the meeting that other projects on the agenda 
involve the development of road and rail transport, 
telecommunications, and energy supplies. FS 
 
ALBANIAN HIJACKS GREEK BUS AFTER POLICE ALLEGEDLY 
DESTROY HIS DOCUMENTS. An Albanian immigrant armed 
with hand grenades hijacked a bus carrying 50 
passengers near Thessaloniki on 14 July. He released 
all but eight people and forced the driver to drive 
close to the Albanian border near Florina. A stand-off 
with police continued there on 15 July. The man told 
Greek television by mobile telephone: "I have been in 
the country for nine years without doing anything bad, 
but recently [the police] picked me up to deport me. 
They beat me." He added that he no longer has access 
to his bank account because the police destroyed his 
documents. The man demands safe passage to Albania, 
$780,000 in ransom, and two automatic weapons. Police 
stepped up checks on Albanian immigrants after a 
similar hijacking in May (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 31 
May 1999). FS 
 
NO PROGRESS IN BELGRADE-PODGORICA TALKS. The first day 
of talks between Serbian and Montenegrin political 
leaders on the future of the Yugoslav federation ended 
without result, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported 
from Belgrade on 14 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 
1999). Spokesmen for the governing Socialist Party of 
Serbia (SPS) of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic 
and the United Yugoslav Left (JUL) of his wife, Mira 
Markovic, said the Montenegrin delegation did not 
present any new or concrete proposals for discussion. PM 
 
DJUKANOVIC: MONTENEGRO WILL BE EQUAL TO SERBIA OR 
INDEPENDENT. Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said 
in Ringelia, Norway, on 14 July that "what we have 
proposed to the Serbs is a platform for a redefinition 
of our relations on a new, democratic basis. We hope 
they will responsibly consider the proposal and give a 
reply." Djukanovic stressed that he hopes Montenegro 
will become a complete equal of Serbia in a "democratic 
Yugoslavia." He added, however, that "the issue of 
independence for Montenegro will be...an inevitable 
alternative" if the Serbs do not agree to democracy and 
equality. The population of Serbia is more than 10 times 
that of Montenegro. PM 
 
TENSIONS CONTINUE BETWEEN PODGORICA, ARMY. Djukanovic 
said that any leading Yugoslav army officers who 
committed war crimes should be "legally held 
accountable," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported 
from Podgorica on 14 July. Elsewhere, the Montenegrin 
cabinet said in a statement that unnamed army commanders 
stationed in Montenegro recently violated the principle 
of civilian control over the military by publicly 
criticizing several policies of the Montenegrin 
government. The statement added that the army acted 
illegally when, "on Belgrade's orders," it recently 
confiscated deliveries of humanitarian aid to Montenegro 
from abroad. PM 
 
DEMONSTRATION IN SUBOTICA. Some 5,000 people attended a 
rally in the Vojvodina town of Subotica on 14 July to 
call for Milosevic's resignation. In Valjevo, a local 
court sentenced two participants in a recent scuffle 
with police to five and 10 days in jail, respectively. 
In Leskovac, a local court continued proceedings against 
nine anti-Milosevic protesters for allegedly damaging 
the home of the pro-Milosevic mayor in a recent 
demonstration, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. 
In Cacak, police confiscated the tape of a RFE/RL 
correspondent who was covering opposition activities in 
that town, the independent daily "Danas" reported. 
Elsewhere, General Nebojsa Pavkovic, who commands the 
troops in southern Serbia, said that the army remains 
loyal to Milosevic, who is its commander-in-chief, the 
BBC's Serbian Service reported. PM 
 
IS MILOSEVIC PLANNING TO CHANGE THE ELECTION LAW? Vuk 
Draskovic, who is the mercurial leader of the Serbian 
Renewal Movement, said in Belgrade that Milosevic will 
soon try to change the electoral system from that of 
proportional representation to one based on the 
principle of first-past-the-post, "The Daily Telegraph" 
reported on 15 July. The changes would enable him to 
rout the divided opposition in local elections by 
combining the votes of the SPS, JUL, and Vojislav 
Seselj's Radicals. Draskovic charged that the proposed 
changes indicate that Milosevic will "fight" to remain 
in power and that the result could be "civil war." PM 
 
DID ARKAN SEEK TO PLEA-BARGAIN? Indicted war criminal 
Zeljko Raznatovic "Arkan" recently contacted Belgian 
police through his lawyer to see if the Hague-based war 
crimes tribunal would reduce the charges against him if 
he agreed to testify against Milosevic, the "Berliner 
Zeitung" reported on 14 July (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 
July 1999). Belgian officials confirmed that Arkan had 
contacted them, but they provided no details. The 
officials said that they told Arkan that the war crimes 
tribunal does not engage in plea-bargaining and that 
they have not heard from him since. Arkan told 
journalists by telephone that the story is "crazy," 
Reuters reported. London's "The Independent" wrote on 15 
July that the story suggests that "senior figures in the 
Milosevic regime are thinking hard about life after the 
fall of their president and protector." PM 
 
SERBIAN RADIO BROADCASTS RFE/RL PROGRAMS 'BY MISTAKE.' 
Radio Majdanpek, which is part of the network of state- 
run Radio-Television Serbia (RTS), rebroadcast programs 
of RFE/RL and the VOA on 13 July, the private Beta news 
agency reported from Belgrade the following day. A 
spokesman for Radio Majdanpek told Beta that the 
rebroadcasting was done "by mistake" and that the 
transmission began "automatically" when Radio Majdanpek 
finished its own program. He did not elaborate. Beta 
added that the station's officials do not expect the 
authorities to punish them for the rebroadcasting, which 
is illegal under a 1998 Serbian law. Beta noted, 
however, that Radio Majdanpek will henceforth broadcast 
only programs of RTS once it has finished transmitting 
its own material. Majdanpek is located east of Belgrade 
near the Romanian frontier. PM 
 
CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER CANCELS TRIP TO SLOVENIA. Prime 
Minister Zlatko Matesa cancelled a trip to Slovenia 
scheduled for 14 July, the state-run news agency Hina 
reported. The reason was that Croatian and Slovenian 
officials have still not reached an agreement on the use 
of power produced by the two countries' joint nuclear 
power plant in Krsko, Slovenia. The funding, management, 
and use of Krsko is one of the questions that have 
bedeviled Croatian-Slovenian relations since 1991, when 
the two countries became independent. PM 
 
ROMANIA SAYS LOSSES FROM YUGOSLAV EMBARGO TO TOTAL 
NEARLY $1 BILLION. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Simona 
Miculescu told journalists on 14 July that the losses 
suffered by the Romanian economy as a result of the NATO 
campaign against Yugoslavia now total $245 million and 
will total $915 million by year's end, RFE/RL's 
Bucharest bureau reported. The same day, Prime Minister 
Radu Vasile said Romania "fully implements" the EU oil 
embargo against Yugoslavia. He noted that Romania has 
"demonstrated her solidarity" with NATO and that the 
time has come for the alliance to "demonstrate in turn 
its solidarity" with the countries of the region that 
suffered losses owing to the campaign," Mediafax 
reported. MS 
 
ROMANIAN PRESIDENT EXPLAINS CRITICISM OF NATO, EU. Emil 
Constantinescu on 14 July said his criticism of NATO and 
the EU one day earlier (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 14 July 
1999) is credible precisely because it comes from 
"someone who has clearly made public his pro-Western 
partisanship." Constantinescu was responding to remarks 
by his predecessor, Ion Iliescu, who had said earlier 
the same day that the presidents 13 July remarks were 
"pertinent, but tardy," Mediafax reported. 
Constantinescu's criticism of Western "double-standard" 
policies discriminating against his country has met with 
virtually unanimous approval among Romania's 
politicians. MS 
 
MOLDOVAN OPPOSITION TO RECEIVE DEPUTY PARLIAMENT CHAIR? 
Parliamentary chairman Dumitru Diacov on 14 July said he 
"does not rule out" that the post of deputy chairman 
that has been vacant since the recent dismissal of Party 
of Democratic Forces (PFD) leader Valeriu Matei may be 
filled by a member of the Party of Moldovan Communists. 
Diacov said there would be "nothing unusual" about such 
a scenario, as in many countries the opposition is 
granted a parliamentary deputy chairmanship. He added 
that the Alliance for Democracy and Reform has "ceased 
to exist" owing to the behavior of Christian Democratic 
Popular Front leader Iurie Rosca (who last week 
denounced Diacov's "Mafioso activities") and that his 
own For a Democratic and Prosperous Moldova Bloc is 
debating Rosca's dismissal from the other deputy 
parliamentary chairmanship. MS 
 
MOLDOVAN PARTY SEES PARLIAMENTARY GROUP SHRINK. The 
parliamentary group of the PFD became the smallest in 
the legislature on 14 July, after deputies Gheorghe 
Straisteanu and Anatol Dubrovschi announced that they 
have left the party because they can "no longer tolerate 
[its] dictatorial methods." Before that announcement, 
PFD deputy chairman Vasile Soimaru said the two were 
expelled from the PFD at a meeting of the party's 
Council on 11 July. The PFD now has only nine deputies, 
but one of the members of its parliamentary group, Ilie 
Ilascu, has been elected while being detained in 
Tiraspol. MS 
 
BULGARIA BOWING TO ARAB LEAGUE BOYCOTT? The private 
Bulgarian airline Via Air began regular flights from 
Varna to Sofia on 14 July, after receiving assurances 
from the Bulgarian authorities that it is 100 percent 
Bulgarian," AP reported. Lebanon has canceled landing 
rights for the Bulgarian national airline Balkan Air 
after an Israeli consortium bought a 75 percent stake in 
the airline. On 13 July, BTA reported that Deputy 
Transport Minister Apik Garabedian and Liudmil Spasov, 
head of the Foreign Ministry's Middle East department, 
conducted talks in Beirut on the revoking of those 
landing rights. The agency said one of the possibilities 
examined by the Lebanese authorities was allowing a 
different Bulgarian carrier to take over the landing 
rights. Garabedian is also to conduct talks with the 
Syrian authorities following Damascus's decision to 
revoke Balkan Air's landing rights. MS 
 
END NOTE 
 
MOLDOVA AND THE PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEM: LITTLE COUNTRY, BIG 
QUESTION 
 
By Michael Shafir 
 
	Moldovan President Petru Lucinschi seems determined 
to change the country's constitutional makeup and 
introduce a full-fledged presidential system. Under the 
current basic law, the Moldovan system is half-way 
between a parliamentary system and a semi-presidential 
one. In his quest, Lucinschi is encountering the 
resistance of the legislature. It may be too early to 
predict the outcome of the confrontation. But whatever 
that outcome, the issue is one that needs to be 
evaluated from a considerably broader perspective than 
that offered by the specific Moldovan case. 
	The question is which system, the presidential or 
the parliamentary, better serves democracy. In a speech 
delivered to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council 
of Europe on 25 June, Lucinschi explained that in the 
last eight years, Moldova has had seven governments. As 
a result of this political instability, he said, 
economic reforms have been stalled or only partly 
implemented, demonstrating the governments' 
inefficiency. But if presidential systems were a 
guarantee for efficiency, Latin American countries would 
surely head the list of states with efficient 
governments. Furthermore, an efficient government is not 
necessarily a democratic one, as many authoritarian 
systems proved. 
	The governments' inefficiency, according to 
Lucinschi, reflected the divisions within coalition 
governments that had to reflect the parliament's makeup 
as well as "destructive divisions" between the 
legislature and the successive cabinets. That argument 
is false for two reasons. First, a "unified" government 
is no guarantee that economic reform will be 
implemented. To do so, it must also be "reform-minded." 
In the previous legislature, the Agrarian Democratic 
Party had an absolute majority but that state of affairs 
did not advance reforms. Second, and more important, 
attacks on "destructive divisions" are part and parcel 
of the political discourse of those who consider 
democracy itself to be "divisive." 
	Without necessarily attributing such beliefs to the 
Moldovan president, it may be appropriate to recall a 
former "transitional" president's statement that "the 
presidential system is a kind of lottery and to a great 
extent depends on the personal characteristics of the 
man elected." The statement was made in 1993 by Poland's 
former president, General Wojciech Jaruzelski. If that 
statement is correct, is not the switch to a 
presidential system too dangerous to contemplate? 
Needless to say, Jaruzelski can hardly be taken as a 
yardstick, since there are too many examples of systems 
that developed precisely in the opposite direction to 
that which Polish society enforced on its former 
president. 
	Western political leaders would be well advised to 
refrain from answering such questions. For them, much is 
at stake, which may explain why the West supported the 
constitutional referendum in Russia in 1993. But how 
many politicians took into account that Yeltsin's 
successor may be called Gennadii Zyuganov? 
	If the question were addressed to political 
scientists, on the other hand, the answer would likely 
be substantially different as well as particularly 
pertinent for "transitional democracies." According to 
political scientists Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan, 
democratic consolidation is advanced by parliamentarism, 
rather than by a presidential system. Available data 
show that of the 41 countries in the world that 
experienced a democratic system for 10 consecutive years 
between 1981 and 1990, 30 were parliamentary systems, 
seven had a semi-presidential system, and only four were 
presidential systems of the U.S. type. 
	But as two British political scientists, Karen 
Henderson and Neil Robinson note, in the post-communist 
context, the tendency toward presidentialism increases 
as one moves eastward, from the Czech Republic, Hungary, 
Slovakia, and Slovenia, to Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania 
and further to the former Yugoslavia. The tendency then 
"takes off" in what is now the CIS, to which Moldova 
belongs. Lucinschi's drive thus fits into this pattern. 
	This leads to the question of "under what 
circumstances." Historical legacies cannot be easily 
wiped out and, as Henderson and Robinson show, the 
stronger the tendency toward presidentialism, the weaker 
the civil society and the weaker the civil society, the 
stronger the urge for a so-called "delegative 
democracy," where checks on those holding power function 
during (but not between) elections and in which the 
electorate tends to pin its hopes on some kind of 
"savior figure." 
	Little Moldova is indeed confronted with a big 
question, but not one that cannot be answered. If 
"historical circumstances" make the presidential system 
efficient and functional on the other side of the 
Atlantic, one would be well advised to remember that the 
U.S. is more of an exception than the rule. 
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
	       Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. 
		     All rights reserved. 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
 
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE 
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with 
the word subscribe as the subject of the message. 
 
HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE 
Send an email to newsline-request@list.rferl.org with 
the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message. 
 
For subscription problems or inquiries, please email 
hermanoval@rferl.org 
________________________________________________ 
CURRENT AND BACK ISSUES ON THE WEB 
Back issues of RFE/RL Newsline and the OMRI Daily Digest 
are online at: http://www.rferl.org/newsline/search/ 
_________________________________________________ 
LISTEN TO NEWS FOR 25 COUNTRIES 
RFE/RL programs are online daily at RFE/RL's 24-Hour 
LIVE Broadcast Studio. 
http://www.rferl.org/realaudio/index.html 
_________________________________________________ 
REPRINT POLICY 
To receive reprint permission, please contact Paul Goble 
via email at GobleP@rferl.org or fax at 202-457-6992 
_________________________________________________ 
RFE/RL NEWSLINE STAFF 
* Paul Goble, Publisher, GobleP@rferl.org 
* Liz Fuller, Editor-in-Chief, CarlsonE@rferl.org 
* Patrick Moore, Team Leader, MooreP@rferl.org 
* Jan Cleave, CleaveJ@rferl.org 
* Julie A. Corwin, CorwinJ@rferl.org 
* Jan Maksymiuk, MaksymiukJ@rferl.org 
* Fabian Schmidt, SchmidtF@rferl.org 
* Michael Shafir, ShafirM@rferl.org 
 
FREE-LANCE AND OCCASIONAL CONTRIBUTORS 
* Pete Baumgartner, Jeremy Branston, Victor Gomez, Mel 
Huang, Dan Ionescu, Zsolt-Istvan Mato, Jolyon Naegele, 
Matyas Szabo, Anthony Wesolowsky 
 
RFE/RL Newsline Fax: (420-2) 2112-3630 
_________________________________________________ 
RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY, PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC 

[English] [Russian TRANS | KOI8 | ALT | WIN | MAC | ISO5]

F&P Home ° Comments ° Guestbook


1996 Friends and Partners
Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
Please visit the Russian and American mirror sites of Friends and Partners.
Updated: 1998-11-

Please write to us with your comments and suggestions.

F&P Quick Search
Main Sections
Home
Bulletin Board
Chat Room
F&P Listserver

RFE/RL
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
Search

News
News From Russia/NIS
News About Russia/NIS
Newspapers & Magazines
Global News
Weather

©1996 Friends and Partners
Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole