The only thing one knows about human nature is that it changes. - Oscar Wilde
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 161, Part II, 19 August 1999


________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 161, Part II, 19 August 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

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Headlines, Part II

* BELARUS AGAIN LOSES 'BATTLE FOR HARVEST'

* KEY BOSNIAN TOWN TO REMAIN UNDER JOINT CONTROL

* SERBIAN REGIME TO OFFER EARLY ELECTIONS?

End Note: WHO GETS WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

BELARUS AGAIN LOSES 'BATTLE FOR HARVEST.' Premier
Syarhey Linh on 18 August informed President Alyaksandr
Lukashenka that this year's harvest will be smaller than
last year's because of "unfavorable weather and other
objective reasons," Belarusian Television reported.
Belarus will thus be forced to buy grain abroad. The
report gave no figures. Last year, Belarus harvested
some 5 million tons of grain, down from 6 million tons
in 1997. Linh and Lukashenka noted that the lower grain
yield means that budget expenditures will have to be
reduced in all areas, except the social sphere. JM

MINSK OSCE MISSION HEAD OUTLINES POLITICAL DIALOGUE
GOALS. Hans Georg Wieck, head of the OSCE monitoring and
consultative group in Minsk, published an article in the
18 August "Belorusskaya delovaya gazeta" outlining the
OSCE's expectations of the planned talks between the
authorities and the opposition in Belarus. According to
Wieck, the talks should aim at "seeking sufficient
common grounds for the adoption of a law on holding free
and fair elections, ensuring access of the opposition to
the media, and creating a parliament with significant
functions and powers." JM

UKRAINE, MOLDOVA SIGN BORDER TREATY. Ukrainian President
Leonid Kuchma and his Moldovan counterpart, Petru
Luchinschi, meeting in Kyiv on 18 August, signed a
treaty defining the border between the two countries.
Under a protocol attached to the treaty, Ukraine will
control an 8 kilometer section of the Odesa-Izmail road
as well as the strip of land on which that part of the
road crosses Moldovan territory. In exchange, Moldova
will receive a 100-meter strip of land along the Danube
River, thus obtaining access to the Black Sea and the
possibility of building an oil terminal. The two sides
also signed agreements aimed at boosting trade and
customs cooperation. JM

OFFICIAL CASTS DOUBT ON UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTIONS' VALIDITY. Mykhaylo Ryabets, head of the
Central Electoral Commission, said on 18 August that the
Supreme Court's order to register the six presidential
candidates who were originally rejected by the
commission may threaten the validity of the entire
ballot. The court ruled that the commission had violated
procedures while checking voters' signatures. However,
it did not comment on the validity of signatures
submitted by the six candidates. Since those candidates
did not produce the required number of signatures (at
least 1 million), presidential hopefuls who lose the 31
October vote will be able to appeal the election results
and have the elections invalidated, Ryabets argued. JM

ESTONIAN PARLIAMENT DEBATES WTO MEMBERSHIP. Lawmakers on
18 August gave preliminary approval to legislation
ratifying the country's decision to join the World Trade
Organization, ETA reported. In the fall session, the
parliament will continue work on the bill as well as
other legislation aimed at bringing Estonia into
compliance with WTO rules. According to the news agency,
if Estonia does not become a member of the international
trade body "before October 30, [its] membership may be
postponed for years." MJZ

ESTONIA WILLING TO GRANT RESIDENCY TO JAILED RUSSIAN
ACTIVIST. The Estonian Citizenship and Migration
Department is willing to issue a residence permit to
jailed Russian activist Oleg Morozov, BNS reported on 18
August. The Russian citizen is due to be released from
jail on 19 August after serving a 20-day sentence for
violating the country's aliens law. Morozov refuses an
Estonian residence permit, as required by the aliens
law, on the grounds that he was born and raised in the
country while it was occupied by the Soviet Union. MJZ

LATVIAN COALITION PARTNERS DISAGREE ON STATE LANGUAGE
LAW. The three ruling coalition parties disagree over
when the vetoed state language law should be
reconsidered by the parliament. According to LETA, the
head of the People's Party parliamentary faction,
Gundars Berzins, said on 18 August that the parliament
should adopt an amended law in November because "it is
important [for Latvia] to demonstrate an ability to
act." Fatherland and Freedom and Latvia's Way, on the
other hand, want to see consideration of any new
amendments delayed until early next year. MJZ

LATVIA'S RESIDENTS GENERALLY SATISFIED WITH INTERETHNIC
RELATIONS. BNS reported on 17 August that 56.5 percent
of Latvia's residents believe that relations among
Latvia's various ethnic groups are good or very good,
while just under 12 percent think they are bad or very
bad. According to a Latvijas Fakti opinion poll,
slightly more than 50 percent of those questioned said
that fears about losing ethnic identity as a result of
social integration are unfounded and that such
integration is necessary for Latvia to develop a unified
civil society. Ethnic Latvians were much more positive
concerning interethnic relations than non-Latvians: 17
percent of non-Latvians thought those relations were bad
or very bad, while only 7.5 percent of ethnic Latvians
concurred with that assessment. MJZ

POLISH FARMERS THREATEN TO DESTROY IMPORTED GRAIN...
Marian Zagorny, head of the Farmers Solidarity national
protest committee, has presented Prime Minister Jerzy
Buzek with an ultimatum, Polish Radio reported on 18
August. The committee threatens that unless the prime
minister halts grain imports and explains the principles
of his grain importing policy to farmers, it will
destroy shipments of imported grain at rail and road
border crossings. JM

...WHILE POLICE DEMAND WAGE HIKES. Police trade union
activists on 18 August demanded wage hikes and punctual
wage payments, PAP reported. "This is not an actual
threat, but we will ask our unions to start protests if
our demands are not met," police union leader Andrzej
Szary commented. JM

INVESTIGATION OF CZECH EX-FINANCE MINISTER TO 'TAKE
MONTHS.' Police investigator Vaclav Kutilek told CTK on
18 August that the investigation of former Finance
Minister Ivo Svoboda and his adviser Barbara Snopkova
will "take several more months, owing to the complexity
of the investigation." Svoboda, Snopkova, and her son,
Stanislav Kratochvil, are suspected of causing losses to
creditors of the Liberta company, which manufactures
baby-strollers. Snopkova is also being investigated for
"breach of duties." Svoboda and Snopkova are alleged to
have ordered all money belonging to the loss-making
company to be sent to a bank account before all claims
of Liberta's creditors were met. Before opening
bankruptcy procedures, they allegedly split the company
into two parts--a profit-making company owned by Svoboda
and Snopkova, which was later sold to Kratochvil, and a
loss-making one, which was then liquidated. MS

ROMA LEAVING CZECH REPUBLIC. Some 50 families from
Plzen left the Czech Republic this year because of
their economic situation and racial discrimination,
Jan Puska from the Plzen branch of the Romany Civic
Initiative told CTK on 17 August. He said another two
families are about to leave the town and others are
making preparations to do so. Puska said their
destination is the U.K. or Canada, where "they gain in
six months more than what they would earn in the Czech
Republic in a lifetime." He warned that all Roma might
leave the country unless the government takes steps to
secure their existence. MS

SLOVAKIA LAUDS FINNISH DECISION ON ROMA ASYLUM-
SEEKERS. A spokesman for Pal Csaky, deputy premier in
charge of minority issues, said on 18 August that
Bratislava "welcomes" Finland's decision to return
unsuccessful Roma asylum-seekers from Slovakia to
those countries from which they flew to Helsinki, CTK
reported, citing a Czech Foreign Ministry official.
TASR reported the same day that asylum-seekers who
flew from Prague will be returned to the Czech
Republic. But Czech police sources said that it would
be "logical" for the Finnish authorities to send the
Roma directly to Slovakia. The sources said that if
the Roma are flown to Prague, they will not be allowed
to leave the airport's transit area and will be sent
on to Bratislava. If they ask for refugee status in
the Czech Republic, they will be placed in refugee
camps until their request is processed. MS

SLOVAK CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REJECTS LEXA APPEAL. The
Constitutional Court on 18 August rejected an appeal
by Ivan Lexa, former head of the Slovak Counter-
Intelligence Service, against his prosecution for
participating in the abduction of former President
Michal Kovac's son and other crimes, CTK reported.
Lexa's appeal follows a court ruling that Premier
Mikulas Dzurinda's annulment of the amnesty granted by
his predecessor, Vladimir Meciar, to Lexa and others
was unconstitutional. The prosecuting authorities has
said that court's ruling has no "retroactive
validity." MS

SLOVAK COMMUNISTS CRITICIZE JUSTICE MINISTER. The
Slovak Communist Party (KSS) on 16 August criticized
Justice Minister Jan Carnogursky for his intention to
set up a Bureau for the Crimes of Communism.
Carnogursky said the bureau will be established
through a law passed by the parliament or through a
Justice Ministry order. The KSS said that a lawyer of
Carnogursky's reputation should know that communism
was never established in Czechoslovakia, which had
"only reached the stage of building socialism." The
KSS added that at a time when crime is thriving in the
country, Carnogursky wants to "feed parasites...to
examine the so-called crimes of communism," SITA
reported. MS

HUNGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SAYS KOSOVA CRISIS PROVES
NEED FOR ARMY REFORM. Janos Szabo told MTI on 18
August that the Kosova crisis "highlighted the fact
that the [Hungarian] army does not have the necessary
capabilities to handle the country's present and
future challenges." He said that a "strategic re-
examination" of the army's needs and capabilities is
now under way and will reflect the "radically altered
circumstances arising from Hungary's NATO membership
and the lessons drawn from how the Kosova crisis was
handled." Szabo said that the purpose of the
examination is to "create an army that can be financed
in the long-term and that reflects the demands of the
times." MS

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

KEY BOSNIAN TOWN TO REMAIN UNDER JOINT CONTROL.
International mediators have decided that Brcko will
remain permanently under the joint administration of the
Republika Srpska and the mainly Muslim and Croatian
federation, AP reported on 19 August. The decision makes
permanent an interim ruling in March. The Serbs want to
keep control of the town, which is a key transportation
link between the eastern and western halves of the
Republika Srpska. The Muslims and Croats also want
access to Brcko's rail and river port facilities. The
Muslims and Croats stress that they constituted the
majority in the town before the 1992-1995 war and that
to assign it to the Serbs would make permanent the
results of wartime ethnic cleansing. Brcko was the one
territorial issue so thorny that negotiators could not
resolve it at the 1995 Dayton peace conference. PM

HIGH TURNOUT AT SERBIAN OPPOSITION RALLY. Some 25,000
people attended a protest meeting in Nis against
Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic on 18 August,
Reuters reported. This was the largest turnout at any of
the recent opposition rallies in Serbia. Zoran Zivkovic,
who is the mayor of that city, told the crowd: "We
cannot keep suffering any longer." Social Democratic
leader Vuk Obradovic said unidentified persons tried to
force his car off the road while he was en route to Nis.
Democratic Party leader Zoran Djindjic appealed to those
present to attend the major opposition rally slated for
19 August in Belgrade. He added that Kosovar Serb
leaders Momcilo Trajkovic and Bishop Artemije will be
there. The news agency reported that cheap gasoline and
basic foodstuffs have "suddenly reappeared" in Nis after
months of shortages. PM

U.S. CALLS ON SERBIAN OPPOSITION TO UNITE. State
Department spokesman James Rubin said in Washington on
18 August that "the more unified [the Serbian
opposition] acts, the quicker the chances are that
Milosevic will leave the scene, and the quicker
therefore the chances are that the people of Yugoslavia
and Serbia will be able to live the life they deserve
to.... We are under the impression that the vast
majority of the Serbian people believe that President
Milosevic must go and that the time has come for him to
go," Rubin added. Observers note that the Serbian
opposition is highly fractious and that one of the key
problems is personal rivalries between prominent
leaders. PM

WARNINGS OF 'PROVOCATIONS' AT SERBIAN OPPOSITION RALLY.
Nebojsa Covic, who heads the Democratic Alternative
party, said in Belgrade on 18 August that the regime is
preparing to stage "provocations and incidents" at the
rally slated for the following day, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. Elsewhere, a spokesman for
Belgrade police said that police arrested an
unidentified man "with a highly explosive device." The
spokesman warned of possible bomb attacks at unspecified
"mass public gatherings," AP reported. PM

SERBIAN REGIME TO OFFER EARLY ELECTIONS? Ivica Dacic,
who is a spokesman for Milosevic's Socialist Party of
Serbia, said in Belgrade on 18 August that the
government is willing to hold early elections "if that's
what the opposition wants." Serbian Deputy Prime
Minister Vojislav Seselj added: "Whenever [the
opposition] want, we can discuss the terms and the date"
of the vote. It is unclear what offices would be voted
on in the elections. A recent poll suggests that Vuk
Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) would get 18
percent of the vote and the opposition umbrella group
Alliance for Change 15 percent. Milosevic's backers
would take 14 percent and Seselj's party 8 percent,
RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. PM

WHAT IS DRASKOVIC'S ROLE? A spokesman for Draskovic told
the BBC on 19 August that a report by the private Beta
news agency that Draskovic recently met with Milosevic
to plan early elections is "a joke." Observers note that
early elections would benefit Draskovic's party more
than most other opposition groups, many of which are
smaller and less well organized than the SPO. Early
elections would also give Milosevic an opportunity to
divide the opposition by playing the parties off against
each other. And they would benefit the regime by
distracting attention from opposition calls for
Milosevic to resign. Most opposition parties insist that
Milosevic must go before new elections can be held. The
opposition also wants a new election law, fair access to
the media for all parties, and a large-scale presence of
foreign election monitors. PM

ANTI-MILOSEVIC CHANTS AT KEY SOCCER MATCH. Electric
flood lights went out for 45 minutes at a Belgrade
stadium on 18 August during the Yugoslavia-Croatia match
of the Euro 2000 qualifiers. Crowds began to chant
"Slobo go" and "you sold out" Kosova. They also voiced
anti-Croatian slogans, including "kill Ustashe," which
is a Serbian pejorative for Croats. The BBC reported
that the players were aware of the potentially
politically explosive nature of the match between the
sportsmen from the two rival countries "and played to an
uninspired 0-0 draw." PM

VALJEVO PROTEST LEADER BADLY BEATEN. Serbia's Helsinki
Committee for Human Rights said in a statement on 18
August that it is "deeply concerned" over the recent
arrest and beating of Bogoljub Arsenijevic by Belgrade
police (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 1999).
Arsenijevic is in a prison hospital in Valjevo with a
broken jaw and shoulder. PM

PESIC FLEES TO MONTENEGRO. Veteran Serbian opposition
leader Vesna Pesic, who arrived in Podgorica on 18
August, said she wants to "remove [herself] from what is
happening in Serbia." Pesic denied recent charges by
several prominent Milosevic supporters and the Pancevo
public prosecutor's office that she has called for the
violent overthrow of the regime (see "RFE/RL Newsline,"
17 August 1999). She added that she has largely
withdrawn from active participation in politics in
recent months. In Pancevo, a spokesman for the
prosecutor's office said that he is not sure if that
office will press charges against Pesic, RFE/RL's South
Slavic Service reported. If convicted, she could face up
to 20 years in prison, AP noted. PM

NGOS SAY MILOSEVIC REGIME BLOCKS AID TO SERBIAN
REFUGEES. Officials of Yugoslav Action, which includes
the confederation of independent trade unions and some
50 NGOs, said in Belgrade on 19 August that the
authorities are preventing aid collected abroad from
reaching Serbian refugees from Kosova. One spokeswoman
said that the regime does this to force the refugees to
go home. She noted that the authorities followed a
similar policy in regard to Serbian refugees from
Croatia. PM

UNHCR ESTIMATES THAT 180,000 SERBS HAVE LEFT KOSOVA.
UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told Reuters in Prishtina on
18 August that so far around 180,000 Serbs have fled
Kosova. He added that attacks on those who remain are
still commonplace. And he estimated that fewer than
50,000 Serbs have stayed in the province. "We have no
intention of conducting any large-scale evacuations.
Sometimes, however, we have little or no choice but to
take some vulnerable individuals to safety and we will
continue to do so when necessary," he said (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 17 August 1999). FS

ITALIAN PEACEKEEPERS WOUNDED WHILE GUARDING CHURCH.
Unidentified attackers shot and wounded two Italian
soldiers guarding a Serbian Orthodox church building in
Gjakova, a KFOR official told AP on 19 August. The
previous day, KFOR soldiers seized 50 rifles and
ammunition in two separate raids in Gjakova and Prizren.
FS

UNMIK, KFOR URGE ALBANIANS TO COOPERATE. UN Special
Representative Bernard Kouchner and KFOR commander
General Sir Mike Jackson issued a joint statement
on 18 August in Prishtina calling on ethnic
Albanians to cooperate with the peacekeepers and
the civilian UN Mission in Kosova (UNMIK). The
statement condemned "the illegal and threatening
activities that have been taking place," referring
to crimes committed by ethnic Albanian thugs
against ethnic minorities. It stressed that "we
will...only succeed in generating a secure
environment with the full cooperation of the local
population." Jackson and Kouchner expressed
understanding for the fear of many Kosovar Serbs
and Roma. The two men stressed: "We are dealing
with the situation.... We are providing extensive
protection for Serb and other minority communities
and individuals." FS

ALBANIA, CROATIA PLEDGE TO INCREASE COOPERATION.
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic and his Albanian
counterpart, Paskal Milo, agreed in Tirana on 18 August
to increase bilateral cooperation in the fields of
agriculture, transport, telecommunications, tourism, and
education, an RFE/RL South Slavic Service correspondent
reported. Albanian Prime Minister Pandeli Majko also met
with Granic and proposed a meeting between the two
countries' leaders and those of Montenegro to draw up
joint projects within the framework of the Balkan
stability pact. FS

BELGRADE RECRUITING 'FEDERAL POLICE' IN MONTENEGRO.
Unidentified people sought to recruit Montenegrins in
Bijelo Polje for an unspecified Yugoslav "federal police
force," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 18
August. The new recruits are almost all supporters of
Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic, who is
Milosevic's chief backer in Montenegro. Observers note
that police functions are a republican and not a federal
prerogative. The Montenegrin police are generally loyal
to President Milo Djukanovic, who is Bulatovic's arch-
rival. PM

ROMANIA, RUSSIA AGREE ON DEBT SETTLEMENT. Returning
from Moscow on 18 August, Finance Ministry State
Secretary Gheorghe Banu said he and his Russian
counterpart, Alexei Kutrin, have signed an agreement
on settling Russia's $21.7 million debt to Romania,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Under the
agreement, Russia will deliver machinery by 31
December 2000. Banu noted, however, that no agreement
has been reached on the dispute concerning Romanian
investments in Ukraine's Kryvyy Rih mineral extraction
complex. Bucharest says it invested some 93.4 million
transferable rubles before the breakup of the former
Soviet Union. The Russian side insists on tripartite
negotiations involving Ukraine. According to Banu, a
trilateral meeting might take place by the end of next
month. MS

ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY TO SUE PRESIDENT. Party of
Romanian National Unity (PUNR) chairman Valeriu Tabara
said on 18 August that his formation will sue
President Emil Constantinescu for calumny, Mediafax
reported. Tabara was responding to Constantinescu's
interview with CNN earlier this month, in which he
said "extremist parties" such as the PUNR are unlikely
to pass the electoral hurdle in the parliamentary
elections scheduled for 2000. Tabara said he expects
the PUNR to win at least 10 percent in those
elections. He also announced he accepts his party's
nomination as its presidential candidate in the 2000
ballot. MS

MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT APPEALS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT.
President Petru Lucinschi has asked the Constitutional
Court to rule that the parliament's 2 July decision to
amend the election law was unconstitutional, Infotag
reported on 18 August. Under the amendment, the
president's right to call a referendum was curtailed
to three times during his four-year mandate. Lucinschi
is also challenging the provision that the parliament
must approve holding a plebiscite and that the Central
Electoral commission must declare a plebiscite invalid
if less than three-fifths of registered voters
participate. MS

GERMANY EXTRADITES BULGARIAN AIRLINE OFFICIAL.
Vesselin Kalaydzhiev, manager of the Balkan Airlines
Berlin office, has been extradited from Germany at the
request of the Bulgarian Prosecutor-General's office,
BTA reported on 17 August. Kalaydzhiev has been
charged with embezzlement and use of falsified
documents. MS

END NOTE

WHO GETS WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW

By Michael Shafir

	When voters in a Prague electoral district go to
the polls later this month to elect a replacement for
the late Vaclav Benda, a lot more will be at stake than
just another by-election.
	Benda represented the Civic Democratic Party (ODS)
in the upper house. Should the mandate go to one of the
minor parties represented in the house, the ODS and the
Social Democratic Party (CSSD) may be unable to secure
the constitutional changes they agreed to pursue when
they concluded the so-called "opposition pact," whereby
the minority cabinet of the CSSD rules in exchange for
the ODS's control over the chairmanships of the two
parliamentary houses. To ensure passage of the
constitutional amendments, a three-fifths majority is
required in each house. The combined CSSD-ODS forces
command that majority in the Chamber of Deputies (137
out of 200 deputies), but should Benda's mandate be lost
to any formation outside the "opposition pact," the
CSSD-ODS will not have the 49 (out of 81) senatorial
votes necessary to implement those changes.
	Safeguarding Benda's seat, however, is only the
first hurdle that the two political rivals-turned-
partners have to overcome. A considerably higher hurdle
is agreeing on the scope of those constitutional
changes. The first objective is to limit the
presidential prerogatives, making it impossible for
Vaclav Havel or any of his successors to repeat the 1997
appointment of a non-party figure as premier. Rather,
the president would be obliged to appoint as premier the
head of the strongest party that can garner a
parliamentary majority. But while Prime Minister Milos
Zeman and ODS chairman Vaclav Klaus still see eye to eye
on this goal--as well as on curtailing other
presidential prerogatives--they have disagreed over the
second objective, namely reducing the parliamentary
representation of smaller political formations. A joint
commission of the two parties set up after the 1998
elections has been unable to come up with a formula
satisfying both sides, and a new commission embarked
upon that task earlier this month.
	The ODS and the CSSD are determined to change the
existing Hagen-Bischoff system of the proportional
distribution of seats, which is one of the systems more
friendly toward small parties, though not the
friendliest. The ODS wanted to introduce a majority
system, but in the face of CSSD opposition, it agreed to
maintain the proportional system. To reduce the
parliamentary weight of minor parties, the CSSD and the
ODS agreed to implement what political scientists call
"reducing district magnitude"--in other words,
increasing the number of electoral districts while
cutting the number of representatives elected from each
of these districts. That change would obviously put
larger parties at an advantage. While it has been agreed
that 35-36 districts are to replace the existing eight,
disagreement emerged over the system to replace the
Hagen-Bischoff one, as well as over when the change
would go into effect.
	The ODS wants the Hagen-Bischoff formula replaced
by the "Imperial system." The latter is rarely
encountered in post-World War II democracies--for a very
good reason: the system gives a kind of bonus to the
large parties, producing parliamentary majorities where
they do not exist in the electorate. Of all systems, the
Imperial most resembles what Douglas W. Rae termed the
"manufactured majority."
	Moreover, the system encourages political
corruption, as the case of pre-1938 Romania
demonstrates. In that country, as one observer put it,
it was not electorates that changed governments, but
governments that changed electorates. Why the ODS would
prefer that system is obvious: while enjoying around 30
percent of support at present, the ODS would benefit
under an Imperial system in that it would not only be
the strongest party in the parliament but, given the
bonus, would be sufficiently strong to form a government
by itself.
	Precisely for this reason, the CSSD--aware that its
popularity is at low ebb and that its chances of
emerging as the strongest formation in the next
elections are slim--would prefer to replace the Hagen-
Bischoff system with the d'Hondt system of proportional
distribution. Considerably more widespread than the
Imperial, the d'Hondt favors larger parties but distorts
electoral support less than does the Imperial and
provides for the reduced representation of small
parties.
	Czech political scientist Rudolf Kucera calculated
that under the d'Hondt system, the CSSD last year would
have gained 90 (instead of 74) mandates in the Chamber
of Deputies and the ODS 74 (instead of 63). The small
Christian Democratic Party and the Freedom Union would
have had 10 (instead of 20) and five (instead of 19)
mandates, respectively. In other words, even if the CSSD
does not emerge as the strongest party in 2002, it could
still hope to form a coalition with one of the minor
parties.
	The disagreement over the timing of implementing
the change of system again reflects opposing
calculations. The ODS wants the new election law, which
necessitates amending the constitution, to go into
effect one year after its approval. The CSSD, on the
other hand, fears that this would terminate the
"opposition agreement" and the ODS would opt for early
elections. It therefore wants the changed electoral law
to become effective only as of 1 January 2002. That is
hardly surprising, particularly when one bears in mind
Harold Laswell's definition of politics as "who gets
what, when, and how."

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