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RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 193, Part II, 4 October 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 193, Part II, 4 October 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

* UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE INJURED IN GRENADE ATTACK

* DRASKOVIC SAYS HE SURVIVED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT

* CROATIAN COURT CONVICTS SAKIC
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE INJURED IN GRENADE ATTACK...
Two assailants hurled two grenades into a crowd surrounding
presidential candidate Natalya Vitrenko as she was leaving an
electoral rally in Inhuletsk, near the city of Kryvyy Rih,
Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, on 2 October. Vitrenko, her aide
Volodymyr Marchenko, and some 30 people in the crowd were
injured in the blasts, and 18 people had to be hospitalized.
"It was a terrorist attack aimed at eliminating Vitrenko,"
Marchenko commented. Police arrested two suspects from
Rostov, Russia. The next day Interior Minister Yuriy
Kravchenko said police suspect that the head of the Kryvyy
Rih election team of Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz
was involved in the attempt on Vitrenko's life. JM

...PROMPTING KUCHMA TO ORDER IMPROVED PROTECTION FOR ALL
CANDIDATES. One day after the attack on Vitrenko, Ukrainian
President Leonid Kuchma instructed the police to improve
protection for all 14 candidates in the 31 October
presidential elections. "President Kuchma is angered by what
has happened. In this difficult situation, the president
considers ensuring order and calm in the country during the
election campaign a priority," Kuchma's spokesman Oleksandr
Martynenko told Reuters. JM

UKRAINE, GEORGIA PLEDGE CLOSER COOPERATION. During Georgian
President Eduard Shevardnadze's visit to Kyiv on 2 October,
Ukraine and Georgia signed a declaration on increasing mutual
support in all cooperation spheres and several
intergovernmental agreements, Interfax reported. Both
Shevardnadze and Kuchma emphasized the importance of
developing cooperation within GUUAM (Georgia, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Moldova), adding that GUUAM is
primarily an economic alliance, not a political-military
bloc. JM

UKRAINIAN MINERS STOP COAL DELIVERIES IN PROTEST. More than
half of Ukraine's 209 coal mines ceased coal deliveries on 1
October, launching a seven-day protest to demand the payment
of wage arrears and increased state support for the industry,
Interfax reported. Leonid Davydov, a trade union leader, told
Reuters that the miners want state subsidies raised to 4.8
billion hryvni ($1.06 billion) from the 1.8 million hryvni
envisaged in the 2000 budget draft. Other demands include the
payment of some 2 billion hryvni in wage arrears, a ban on
the privatization of coal mines, a pension hike, and jobs for
laid-off miners. JM

SPLIT WITHIN BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT WIDENS. Activists of
the opposition Belarusian Popular Front (BNF) who support BNF
acting chairman Lyavon Barshcheuski convened a session of the
BNF Board on 3 October, Belapan reported. The activists said
the recent creation of the Conservative Christian Party of
the BNF (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 September 1999) was
illegal. They argued that the Conservative Christian Party of
the BNF, which is headed by BNF exiled leader Zyanon Paznyak,
cannot be considered a legal successor to the existing BNF.
The BNF expects to resolve the problem of its leadership at a
30-31 October meeting, which will formally conclude the BNF
congress held this summer (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3
August 1999). JM

LATVIAN AGENCY DROPS CASE OF ALLEGED BRIBES DURING
PRESIDENTIAL VOTE. The Constitutional Protection Bureau has
dropped the case of alleged bribery during Latvia's
presidential election in June (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 21 June
1999). Uldis Dzenitis, the bureau's deputy director, said
there are no grounds to initiate court proceedings, LETA
reported. Immediately after the 18 June presidential
elections, the leader of the Social Democratic Workers Party,
Juris Bojars, told the press that there had been several
attempts of bribery to win the faction's vote in the
parliament for candidates supported by Latvia's Way.
President Vaira Vike-Freiberga won the contest as a
compromise candidate after the first slate of candidates
failed to gain the necessary majority. MH

LATVIAN BUDGET SENT TO PARLIAMENT. The government on 1
October submitted the 2000 budget to the Latvian parliament.
The debate of that bill is scheduled to begin on 21 October,
and the final reading is expected to take place in early
December, LETA reported. The consolidated national budget
totals 1.43 billion lats ($2.47 billion), while income is
projected at 1.36 billion lats, resulting in a deficit of
some 2 percent of GDP. The so-called master state budget
(which excludes municipalities) totals 755.7 million lats,
while income is projected at 733.9 million lats. MH

POLISH PREMIER APPOINTS NEW INTERIOR MINISTER. Jerzy Buzek on
4 October appointed Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS)
parliamentary deputy Marek Biernacki as interior minister,
PAP reported. Biernacki replaces Janusz Tomaszewski, who lost
his job last month over allegations of collaboration with the
communist-era secret services. Buzek had promised to make
personnel and structural changes to the cabinet last week but
failed to do so. The Freedom Union, the AWS's partner in the
ruling coalition, voted on 3 October to give Buzek one more
week to restructure his cabinet. It also authorized party
Leszek Balcerowicz to conduct talks with AWS leader Marian
Krzaklewski over a "radical change" in the government lineup.
JM

CZECH PRESIDENT AGAIN CRITICIZES PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL
AMENDMENTS... Vaclav Havel said on Prima television on 3
October that the proposed constitutional amendments curbing
the presidential powers are "dangerous" and would abolish
"the autonomous role of the president at a time when
governments alternate [and] parliaments alternate." He added
that the proposals also undermine "the fundamental reason for
the president's existence in a parliamentary democracy," CTK
reported. Havel explained that the amendments oblige the
president to name a representative of the largest
parliamentary group to form a new government. If that
representative refuses, the president must appoint a
representative of the second-largest parliamentary group; and
if that person refuses the undertaking, he must appoint a
candidate proposed by the parliament's chairman. But since
the legislature is dissolved after elections, the formation
of a new government can take a very long time, Havel added.
MS

...SAYS CZECH REPUBLIC UNABLE TO COME TO TERMS WITH PAST.
Havel also said that Czech Republic has proven unable to come
to terms with its communist past and lacks a vision for the
future. He said that coming to terms with the past does not
mean "self-flagellation" or a "witch hunt" but that crimes
must be punished "for the sake of historical hygiene." At the
same time, he said that he does not support the idea that
those sentenced should serve their prison terms. MS

SLOVAKS NATIONALISTS ELECT WOMAN AS LEADER. A 2 October
congress of the opposition Slovak National Party (SNS)
elected Anna Malikova as party leader, SITA and CTK reported.
Malikova received the backing of 251 delegates, while former
Defense Minister Jan Sitek garnered 52 votes and honorary SNS
chairman Vitazoslav Moric 31. Former chairman Jan Slota had
interrupted the congress on 25 September by switching off
lights after he was voted out of office (see "RFE/RL
Newsline, 28 September 1999). He went on vacation to Croatia
saying he does not want to "bother with the idiots in the
parliament" who recently dismissed him as head of the
parliamentary committee overseeing the Slovak Intelligence
Service. Before his departure, Slota vowed to respect the
decision of the SNS Supervisory Committee, which later ruled
that his 25 September dismissal was in line with party
statutes. MS

SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN CRITICIZED FOR STATEMENT ON
CHECHNYA. Frantisek Sebej, chairman of the parliament's
Integration Committee, said on 1 October that parliamentary
chairman Jozef Migas's statement in support of the Russian
bombing of Chechnya was a "serious error" that infringed on
the "political philosophy of a democratic state," CTK
reported. During a visit to Moscow on 30 September, Migas had
said that "force must be met by force" and that the military
conflict there was the result of "bandit and mafia-like
structures" that want to provoke the conflict in order to
engage in money laundering. Sebej said the bombing of
Chechnya cannot be compared with the airstrikes in Kosova
because "in Chechnya violence is unjustified." MS

BUDAPEST MAYOR TO SUE EXTREMIST LEADER. Gabor Demszky, a
member of the opposition Free Democrats (SZDSZ), will file
suit against Istvan Csurka, chairman of the extreme-right
Hungarian Justice and Life Party (MIEP), Hungarian media
reported on 4 October. In a newspaper article last week,
Csurka accused Demszky of having been an informer for the
communist secret services. Demszky denied that allegation and
reminded reporters that he has been screened and deemed to
have a clean past. SZDSZ National Council chairman Balint
Magyar said "the affair is not simply about Csurka," as the
major coalition party FIDESZ "gets MIEP to do their dirty
work." MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

DRASKOVIC SAYS HE SURVIVED ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT. Serbian
opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said that a road accident
that he survived on 3 October was "an obvious assassination
attempt," the Serbian dailies "Glas" and "Blic" reported.
Draskovic said it was a "pure miracle" that he sustained only
slight injuries in that accident, in which a truck from the
oncoming traffic suddenly swerved into Draskovic's car.
Draskovic's aide and brother-in-law, Veselin Boskovic, was
killed. A second car carrying two of Draskovic's bodyguards
and his security adviser, Zvonko Osmajlic, drove under the
truck and exploded into flames. A third car carrying
Draskovic's wife managed to avoid the accident. The incident
took place about 40 kilometers southwest of Belgrade, near
the village of Petka. The driver of the truck reportedly fled
the scene, and witnesses said the truck did not brake.
Draskovic is the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement and
served in the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic earlier this year. He has refused to take part in
opposition rallies, saying they are ineffective, and instead
has called for early elections. PB

OPPOSITION PROTESTS IN BELGRADE, OTHER CITIES CONTINUE.
Opposition protests organized by the Alliance for Change
(SZP) continued, with some 15,000 people marching in Belgrade
on 3 October, Reuters reported. Similar-sized marches were
held the previous two days--all without any clashes with riot
police, who blocked and altered the march routes on all those
days. Zoran Djindjic, a leader of the SZP, said the
government will provoke violence using its own agents in
order to have a pretext to crack down on demonstrators. He
said such "troublemakers" have been spotted marching with the
protesters. Large rallies of up to 10,000 people were held in
Nis and Novi Sad on 1-3 October. Various other protests took
place in more than a dozen smaller towns, although a march in
Canak was called off on 2 October owing to a strong police
presence, the Belgrade-based Beta news agency reported.
Nikola Djurickovic, an opposition leader who was arrested
last week, was released from prison on 2 October. PB

SERBIAN ACADEMICIANS CALL FOR NEW GOVERNMENT. Forty-five
members of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences signed a
letter on 2 October demanding the resignation of the Serbian
and Yugoslav governments, Radio B2-92 reported. Ljubomir
Simovic said that the letter calls for new governments to
lead the "people and the country...out of this abyss and
embark on the road of recovery and return to the modern
world." In other news, Radio B2-92 reported that the Belgrade
daily "Glas javnosti," which was shut down last week, will
resume publishing again on 4 October after Serbian
authorities unsealed the newspaper's offices. PB

THACI: BELGRADE WILL NEVER HAVE A SAY IN KOSOVA. Kosovar
Albanian leader Hashim Thaci said on 3 October that "Belgrade
will never again make decisions about Kosova," AP reported.
Thaci, speaking to some 2,000 ethnic Albanians in the town of
Gjilan, said "we will never again allow anyone outside of
Kosova to decide about Kosova." Hydajet Hyseni, a former
Kosova Liberation Army (UCK) officer, told the crowd that
Kosova will be a "part of Europe...and with a defense force
like everywhere else in Europe." Thaci said earlier that day
that a military academy will be set up in Kosova to train
officers for a future army of Kosova. He added that that the
former UCK has agreed to set up a political party with the
Party of Democratic Unity. The name of that party will be
made public soon, he added. PB

CLARK SAYS NATO HAS NO DATE FOR WITHDRAWING FROM BOSNIA,
KOSOVA. NATO's Supreme Commander in Europe General Wesley
Clark said on 1 October that the alliance has not set a date
for withdrawing from either Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosova, AP
reported. Clark said NATO has a "strategy for success" in the
Balkans and will continue to work to bring stability and
peace to the region. Clark said he is satisfied with the
UCK's compliance in demilitarizing. NATO has some 30,000
peacekeeping troops in Bosnia and nearly 50,000 in Kosova. PB

TOWN IN KOSOVA UNDER BLOCKADE. NATO peacekeeping troops in
Kosova (KFOR) continue to maintain a "total blockade" on the
mainly Serbian town of Kosova Polje and the surrounding area,
Beta reported on 3 October. Large groups of Serbs and ethnic
Albanians are maintaining barricades on a road leading to the
town and are only a few hundred meters away from each other.
A grenade attack on an outdoor market in Kosova Polje killed
two and left dozens injured (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29
September 1999). KFOR troops are not allowing anyone to leave
or enter the area except for journalists. Ethnic Albanians
briefly set up a roadblock on the railroad line leading into
the town. Around Kosova, three Serbs were reported killed: an
elderly couple shot dead in their home near Prizren and a man
attacked near his cornfield in the town of Vitina. PB

HIGH COMMISSIONER REJECTS VICE PRESIDENT FOR TOP POST IN
SRPSKA. Bosnian High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch
rejected an application for the vacant presidential post of
the Republika Srpska, AP reported on 1 October. Mirko
Sarovic, who had served as deposed President Nikola
Poplasen's vice president, will not be allowed to take the
post, which has been open since Poplasen was sacked in March.
Poplasen has refused to recognize his dismissal. Both
Poplasen and Sarovic are leading members of the Serbian
Democratic Party of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. PB

DODIK PLEDGES COOPERATION WITH TRIBUNAL. Bosnian Serb Premier
Milorad Dodik said upon returning from a visit to the U.S. on
3 October that the Republika Srpska will start cooperating
with the UN war crimes tribunal at The Hague, AP reported.
Dodik said "there will be no secret indictments if the
Republika Srpska establishes cooperation with the tribunal."
Bosnian Serbs have thus far refused to detain or hand over
indicted war-crimes suspects, thereby limiting international
aid to that portion of Bosnia. PB

SLOVENIAN POLITICIAN FOUND DEAD. Janez Gajsek, a Slovenian
parliamentary deputy and prominent member of the Christian
Democratic Party, was found dead on 1 October about 500
meters from where his car was parked, Croatian Radio
reported. Reports say a suicide note was found with the body.
Gajsek was reported missing a week or so ago. PB

CROATIAN COURT CONVICTS SAKIC. Dinko Sakic, the last known
living commander of a World War II concentration camp, was
found guilty in Zagreb on 4 October of crimes against
humanity and sentenced to the maximum sentence of 20 years,
AP reported. Chief Judge Drazen Tripalo said the seven-member
panel found Sakic guilty of all charges, saying he
"maltreated, tortured, and killed inmates and did nothing to
prevent his subordinates from doing the same." He was also
found guilty of personally killing four inmates. Sakic can
appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court. PB

BERISHA RE-ELECTED PARTY HEAD. Former Albanian President Sali
Berisha was re-elected chairman of the opposition Democratic
Party on 1 October, Reuters reported. The vote followed a
purge of moderate leaders in the party (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 1 October 1999). Berisha received 594 out of 693
votes. Berisha called for Genc Pollo, who withdrew his
challenge to Berisha, to remain a member of the party. In
other news, Albanian Premier Pandeli Majko, upon returning
from an official visit to the U.S., dismissed Berisha's calls
for early elections, saying the 2001 ballot will take place
as scheduled. Majko said his trip to the U.S. was "very
successful." He met with IMF and World Bank officials as well
as with many U.S. politicians. PB

ROMANIAN OPPOSITION PROTESTS AGAINST 'RECONCILIATION PARK.'
The Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) and the
Greater Romania Party on 1 October criticized the
government's intention to create together with the Hungarian
government a "park of historic reconciliation" in Arad (see
"RFE/RL Newsline," 27 September 1999), RFE/RL's Bucharest
bureau reported. The PDSR said that a monument to displayed
in the park commemorating the 13 Hungarian generals executed
by the Austrians in 1848 has "a profound anti-national and
anti-Romanian character." PDSR First Deputy Chairman Adrian
Nastase said the ruling coalition is an "accomplice in
serving the interests of Hungarian revisionism." On 4
October, the Vatra romaneasca cultural organization is to
protest the planned monument, which it called "a symbol of
the Hungarian state." MS

FORMER BULGARIAN KING TO TAKE POSSESSION OF RESTORED
PROPERTIES. Exiled King Simeon II arrived in Bulgaria on 1
October for a 10-day visit during which he will take
possession of the properties that were returned to him under
a Constitutional Court ruling last year, BTA reported. The
former monarch said on arriving that he has not yet decided
what to do with the restored properties, which include
palaces near Sofia and in Tsarska Bistrica, as well as
hunting lodges, a farm, and a village house. During a visit
in 1998, Simeon said he might consider having the properties
run "for the public benefit," AP reported. MS

SOCIALIST MAYOR CANDIDATE MURDERED IN BULGARIA. The Socialist
Party candidate for mayor of the village of Starevetsi in the
Pleven district, northern Bulgaria, was found murdered on 2
October, BTA reported, citing Bulgarian police. Police said
Yanko Kozhoukarov was injured "with a sharp object in the
region of the heart." Meanwhile, the campaign for the 16
October local elections is heating up. Socialist Party leader
Georgi Parvanov said in the parliament on 3 October that the
opposition is subjected to "intimidation," while Movement for
Rights and Freedoms leader Ahmed Dogan remarked at a meeting
with voters that the government's campaign is "imprudent."
Interior Minister Bogumil Bonev dismissed as "absurd" claims
by Dogan's party that mosques will be demolished if his
party's candidates are not elected in Turkish villages. MS

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