One must learn by doing the thing; though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try. - Sophocles
RFE/RL NEWSLINE

RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 212, Part II, 1 November 1999


___________________________________________________________
RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 212, Part II, 1 November 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

* INCUMBENT, COMMUNIST LEADER TO COMPETE IN RUNOFF FOR
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY

* SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AHEAD IN FIRST ROUND OF
MACEDONIAN ELECTIONS

* TWO OPPOSITION PARTIES WITHDRAW FROM ANTI-MILSOEVIC STREET
PROTESTS

End Note: ALBANIA'S PRIME MINISTER CALLS IT QUITS
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EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE

INCUMBENT, COMMUNIST LEADER TO COMPETE IN RUNOFF FOR
UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY. Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and
Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko finished first and
second, respectively, in Ukraine's presidential vote on 31
October and will face each other in a runoff in two weeks, AP
reported on 1 November. With 96 percent of the votes counted,
Kuchma gained 36.36 percent backing and Symonenko 22.32
percent. Oleksandr Moroz, head of Ukraine's Socialist Party,
came third with 11.29 percent of the vote, slightly ahead of
radical leftist Natalya Vitrenko (11.05 percent). Former
Premier Yevhen Marchuk placed fifth with 8.06 percent, the
Central Election Commission reported. Voter turnout was
reported at 70-75 percent, an increase over the 1994 ballot.
Voters in the largely nationalist western half of the country
tended to favor Kuchma, while voters in the east voted for
Symonenko and other leftist candidates. PB

CANDIDATES COMPLAIN OF ELECTION VIOLATIONS. The organizations
of several candidates reported violations of election
regulations and dirty tricks on 31 October, AP reported. The
UNIAN news agency reported that in the eastern coal mining
city of Donetsk, a leaflet was distributed claiming that
Kuchma had died of a heart attack and had been replaced by a
double so that his "criminal entourage" would remain in
power. Although election advertisements and commercials are
banned 24 hours before the vote, the state-run UT-2
television channel on 31 October showed footage of a Kuchma
speech that was followed by a message that read "Vote for
your Future." In the runup to the election, Kuchma is said to
have received more coverage in the electronic media than the
12 other candidates together. PB

LUKASHENKA WARNS OSCE AFTER ORGANIZATION CRITICIZES BELARUS.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka on 30 October
warned the OSCE not to accuse his country of human rights
violations at an official summit in Istanbul in November,
Reuters reported, citing Interfax. Lukashenka was reported to
have told the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's group for
Belarus: "I warn those who try to depict Belarus as an
outcast and prevent it from taking part in the summit. The
response by the Belarusian side will be adequate." He did not
elaborate. Adrian Severin, the head of the OSCE's group for
Belarus, said after a meeting with Lukashenka that he is
"deeply concerned over the marked deterioration of the human
rights situation in Belarus" since the group's last visit in
July. He added that he is disturbed that some of the people
he spoke to during earlier visits "are now in prison..., in
exile or in hiding, or have disappeared." PB

BELARUSIAN POPULAR FRONT ELECTS NEW LEADER. The Belarusian
Popular Front, the country's main opposition party, has
elected Vintsuk Vyachorka as its new leader, AP reported on
30 October. Vyachorka replaces Zyanon Pazynak, who had held
the post for more than a decade. Pazynak fled the country in
1996 and was granted political asylum in the U.S. Vyachorka
said that "Lukashenka is ready to give up our independence,
and we must resist not in theory but in practice."
Vyachorka's election ends a leadership crisis in the party
after a meeting in August resulted in a disputed and
inconclusive vote. PB

BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION DEFIES BAN ON MARCHES. Some 200 members
of Belarusian opposition parties on 31 October ignored a
state ban on processions and marched to a Soviet-era
execution site, AP reported. Several hundred other people
joined the marchers at the Kuropaty mass grave just outside
Minsk. Minsk city officials had banned the march this year.
According to the opposition Belarus Popular Front, 10 people
were arrested before the march began. As many as tens of
thousands of people were killed at Kuropaty in Communist
purges during the 1930s, according to some estimates. PB

ESTONIAN SUPREME COURT RULES ON KALLAS TRIAL. The Estonian
Supreme Court on 29 October ruled that a lower court
reconsider part of its verdict of not guilty handed down to
Finance Minister Siim Kallas back (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16
March 1999). While the Supreme Court upheld nearly all the
points of acquittal, it sent back to the Tallinn City Court
the point "concerning the presentation of false information,"
BNS reported. Previously, Kallas had been acquitted at
various judicial levels of all charges stemming from a $10
million money-laundering scandal. MH

LITHUANIAN PRESIDENT NOMINATES NEW PRIME MINISTER. ELTA
reported on 29 October that Valdas Adamkus has named first
deputy parliamentary speaker, Andrius Kubilius, 42, as prime
minister. Earlier, acting Prime Minister Irena Degutiene had
declined an offer from the president to take over the
premiership. Kubilius was first elected to the parliament in
1992 and became first deputy speaker when the Conservative
Party won the majority of seats in 1996. The parliament is
expected to vote on his nomination on 2 November. AB

LITHUANIA-U.S. OIL DEAL CONCLUDED. The Lithuanian government
and U.S.-based Williams International signed a contract
giving a 33 percent interest in the Mazeikiu Nafta oil
complex to the U.S. company, thereby concluding more than 18
months of controversial negotiations, ELTA reported on 29
October. The Lithuanian government appears to have succeeded
in extracting slightly more favorable terms from Williams
International. The U.S. company has transferred to Mazeikiu
Nafta $150 million, half of which is payment for the shares
and the other half a loan. The Lithuanian government,
meanwhile, has transferred the first $75 million tranche of a
loan to the oil complex to cover its working capital
shortfall. Under the deal, the government will either loan,
refinance, or extend long-term loans to Mazeikiu Nafta
totaling $344 million, including $179 million in earlier
government loans. Together, Williams and the government will
provide $550 million for the reconstruction of the oil
refinery over the next two to three years. Lithuania's share
of that total was put at $118 million. AB

GERMANY SUPPLANTS U.S. AS TOP INVESTOR IN POLAND. German
firms invested some $5.1 million in Poland last year, thereby
becoming the largest foreign investor in that country for the
first time, dpa reported on 31 October. The U.S. was the
largest investor in Poland the previous year. Germany is also
Poland's largest trade partner, with 36.7 percent of all
Polish exports in the first eight months of 1999 going to the
country's Western neighbor. German products accounted for
some 25.5 percent of all imports to Poland during the same
period. Bogdan Wyznikiewicz, an analyst at the Polish
Institute of Market Economy Research, said that the Polish
economy is greatly influenced by trends in the German
economy, and that a 1 percent growth in Germany's gross
national product means an increase of several percentage
points in Polish exports. PB

SLOVAK PRESIDENT DISCUSSES VATICAN TREATY WITH POPE.
Returning from Italy on 30 October, President Rudolf Schuster
told journalists that he discussed with Pope John Paul II the
pending treaty between Slovakia and the Vatican, SITA
reported. Schuster said the treaty could be ready for
ratification within two months. He added that he expects the
parliament to approve the treaty "in a couple of months" and
will not debate it for five years, as was the case in Poland.
Schuster also said he had invited the pope and Italian
President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi to visit Slovakia. MS

SLOVAK FINANCE MINISTER SURVIVES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE. The
parliament on 29 October voted 71 to 47 with one abstention
against a resolution expressing no confidence in Finance
Minister Brigitta Schmognerova, SITA reported. The draft
resolution was submitted by 47 deputies from the opposition
Movement for a Democratic Slovakia who accused Schmognerova
of poor management of the ministry she heads. Also on 29
October, Robert Fico, who has recently left the junior
coalition Party of the Democratic Left, registered his new
political party, Smer (Direction). He told journalists that
Smer will be a "pragmatic" party, characterized by
"professionalism" rather than the prevailing "emotionalism,
politicking, disputing and personal attacks," CTK and SITA
reported. MS

HUNGARY WOULD CONSIDER DEPLOYMENT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN
EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is
currently on a visit to Canada, said that in an "emergency
situation" he would consider allowing NATO nuclear weapons to
be deployed on Hungarian territory, "Nepszabadsag" reported
on 30 October, citing Canada's "The Globe and Mail." Orban
said there is no doubt that the alliance needs such weapons
"because of the uncertainties around the future of Russia."
Laszlo Kovacs, chairman of the opposition Socialist Party,
said Hungary had received assurances that joining NATO would
not require the stationing of nuclear weapons on its soil.
"If Orban wanted to alarm Hungarian citizens and provoke
Russia, then he has succeeded," Kovacs added. The deployment
of nuclear weapons would require a two-thirds majority vote
in the parliament. MSZ

SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AHEAD IN FIRST ROUND OF
MACEDONIAN ELECTIONS. Early results from the 31 October
Macedonian presidential elections show that Social Democratic
candidate Tito Petkovski and Deputy Foreign Minister Boris
Trajkovski will advance to the second round, Reuters reported
on 1 November. With neither of the two leading candidates
likely to win 50 percent of the vote, a second round of
voting will probably be held on 14 November. Early returns
showed Petkovski with 340,000 votes, Trajkovski with 214,000
votes, and a third candidate, Vasil Tupurkovski, with 158,000
votes. Voter turnout was reported to be relatively high.
Trajkovski ran on the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary
Organization's (VMRO) ticket, while Tupurkovski was the
Democratic Alternative's candidate. Both parties are members
of the governing coalition. VG

VIOLENT INCIDENTS REPORTED DURING MACEDONIAN VOTING. At least
three incidents of violence were reported during Macedonia's
31 October presidential election. A representative of the
Social Democrats said one of the party's activists was shot
in the leg in the town of Kumanovo during a fight with a
representative of the governing coalition. Other violent
incidents were reported in the villages of Morane and
Velesta. Meanwhile, various parties have accused one another
of violating electoral rules that forbid campaigning on
election day. VG

TWO OPPOSITION PARTIES WITHDRAW FROM ANTI-MILOSEVIC STREET
PROTESTS. Opposition leaders Mile Isakov and Nenad Canak on
29 October announced their intention to withdraw from daily
street protests against Yugoslav President Slobodan
Milosevic, Reuters reported. Isakov said the daily protests
are wasting energy without providing a "plan." Canak added
that the opposition should search for other ways of opposing
Milosevic. "The point is not to hold rallies but to
participate in the toppling of Milosevic's regime," he said.
VG

SOME 10,000 ATTEND ANTI-MILOSEVIC DEMONSTRATION IN CACAK.
About 10,000 people protested against Milosevic in the town
of Cacak on 29 October. Cacak is considered to be an
opposition stronghold and the turnout was regarded as
relatively high amid dwindling attendance at opposition
rallies in other cities. Some key opposition leaders,
including Zoran Djindjic, addressed the rally. VG

YUGOSLAV OPPOSITION REPRESENTATIVES FLY TO U.S. A group of
Yugoslav opposition leaders flew to Washington, D.C., in a
bid to convince Bill Clinton's administration to ease
economic sanctions against the country. Slobodan Vuksanovic,
the deputy head of the opposition Democratic Party, said the
U.S. should "establish a distinction between Milosevic's
regime and the citizens," AP reported. VG

NATO COMMANDER CONDEMNS ATTACK ON SERBIAN CONVOY. NATO's
commander in Kosova, General Klaus Reinhardt, said on 30
October he is "furious" at a recent attack by some 1,500
ethnic Albanians on a convoy of 155 Serbs (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 29 October 1999). Reinhardt said he believes the
attack was spontaneous and noted that measures are being
taken to increase the security of ethnic Serbs in Kosova. VG

ETHNIC CROATS EVACUATED FROM KOSOVA. Almost 300 ethnic Croats
have been evacuated from Kosova to Zagreb, AP reported on 31
October. The ethnic Croats say they had suffered harassment
in Kosova. VG

MONTENEGRO TO START USING GERMAN MARK. Montenegrin Deputy
Prime Minister Novak Kilibarda on 1 November confirmed
reports that Montenegro would introduce the German mark as
its second currency on 2 November. "Vjesti" had reported that
Montenegrins would start receiving their salaries and
pensions on that day. The change is viewed as a first step
toward the introduction of a separate Montenegrin currency
(see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 October 1999). The decision must
still be formally approved by the Montenegrin parliament.
Yugoslav officials on 29 October had dismissed Montenegro's
stated aim to introduce its own currency. VG

BOSNIAN CROAT WAR CRIMES SUSPECT REFUSING TREATMENT. Mladen
Naletilic is rejecting any further treatment at a Zagreb
hospital following recent heart surgery, AP reported. Doctors
at the hospital say Naletilic's heart surgery was a success
but added that another operation is urgently needed.
Naletilic has been indicted on 17 counts of war crimes during
the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Doctors have
assigned him to a psychological team, hoping that it will
persuade him to undergo more surgery. The war crimes tribunal
in The Hague on 28 October accused the Croatian government of
stalling in handing over Naletilic as well as documents to be
used as evidence in the case. The international community
view the Naletilic case as a litmus test of Croatia's
willingness to cooperate with the tribunal. VG

INVESTIGATION CONTINUES INTO CAR BOMB ATTACK ON BOSNIAN SERB
JOURNALIST. Bosnian Serb journalist and publisher Zeljko
Kopanja has had both his legs amputated after being seriously
injured in a car bomb explosion on 22 October (see "RFE/RL
Newsline," 22 October 1999), AP reported on 29 October.
Experts from the UN international police force in Bosnia-
Herzegovina have reportedly recommended that the wrecked car
be investigated by Scotland Yard. Kopanja's newspaper
"Nezavisne Novine" recently ran a series of articles on war
criminals. Several newspapers and magazines from the Serbian
as well as Muslim and Croatian parts of the country have run
front-page headlines demanding an investigation into the
assassination attempt. VG

GERMAN CHANCELLOR PRAISES LEADERSHIP OF JOINT PRESIDENCY IN
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA. Gerhard Schroeder on 29 October said he
is pleased to find "common views" among the visiting members
of the joint presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, dpa reported.
He said the three leaders, Ante Jelavic, Alija Izetbegovic,
and Zivko Radisic, expressed a strong desire for their
country to be admitted to the Council of Europe. The German
leader noted that Bosnia will have to undertake reforms
before being admitted to the organization. VG

NUMBER OF U.S. TROOPS IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA TO BE REDUCED.
NATO officials announced on 30 October that the number of
U.S. troops taking part in the NATO-led peacekeeping force in
Bosnia-Herzegovina will be reduced by 30 percent by next
April. Major General James Campbell, commander of
Multinational Division North, said the cut is part of an
overall NATO plan to reduce the number of troops in the
country, resulting from an improvement in local security
conditions. VG

CROATIAN LAWMAKERS PASS ELECTION LAW. The lower house of the
Croatian legislature on 29 October passed a controversial new
election law, Reuters reported. The law, which was proposed
by the governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ),
guarantees representation to the diaspora in December's
parliamentary elections (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 27 October
1999). Croats living abroad tend to be pro-HDZ. The EU has
criticized the law, saying it "calls into question the
government's commitment to free and fair elections." VG

NEW ALBANIAN CABINET SWORN IN. Key figures from the previous
government have retained their posts in the cabinet of newly
appointed Prime Minister Ilir Meta, which was sworn into
office on 29 October. The defense, interior, foreign affairs,
and finance ministers of the previous cabinet have all
retained their posts. The newcomers include Deputy Prime
Minister Makbule Ceco, Kastriot Islami as minister of
economic cooperation, Bashkim Fino as minister of local
government, and State Minister Prec Zogaj, AP reported. Meta
said his government will focus on restoring public order,
fighting illegal drug trafficking, and economic development
(see also "End Note"). VG

EU COMMISSIONER PROPOSES MONITORING OF ROMANIA'S ECONOMIC
PERFORMANCE. Guenter Verheugen, EU commissioner in charge of
enlargement, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Radu Vasile
proposing that the IMF, the World Bank and the EU draft a
medium-term strategy for economic development and set up a
body to monitor the plan's implementation, Romanian media
reported on 31 October. Vasile has not responded to the
proposal, but Deputy Premier Vasile Stoica rejected it,
saying that the monitoring of Romania's economic performance
would make sense only after the IMF approves the disbursement
of the second tranche of the $547 million stand-by loan
approved in August. IMF official Thomas Dowson was quoted by
Romanian Radio as refusing to confirm reports that the fund
is ready to agree that Romania borrow $100 million on the
international financial market to cover its budget deficit.
Earlier, it had insisted that the country borrow $470 million
for that purpose. MS

ANOTHER ANTONESCU STATUE TO BE ERECTED IN ROMANIA. The Cluj
local council has approved Mayor Gheorghe Funar's proposal
that a statue to Romania's wartime leader and convicted war
criminal, Marshal Ion Antonescu be erected, "Romania libera"
reported on 1 November. On 11 previous occasions, the council
has rejected such a proposal. Its change of mind comes after
Funar presented a "political compromise" whereby statues of
National Liberal Party leader Ion C. Bratianu, National
Peasant Party leader Iuliu Maniu, and King Ferdinand will
also be erected. The compromise proposal was backed by
representatives of two parties on the local council and
opposed only by the Hungarian Democratic Federation of
Romania and the Alliance for Romania. On 30 October, Greater
Romania Party leader Corneliu Vadim Tudor laid a wreath at
Antonescu's statue in Slobozia. MS

GAZPROM CUTS ENERGY SUPPLIES TO MOLDOVA. As of 1 November,
Gazprom will cut its energy supplies to Moldova by 40
percent, Infotag reported on 29 October. The same day,
Gazprom Deputy Chairmen Aleksander Pushkin and Vasilii Fadeev
handed over to Moldovan government representatives a letter
from Gazprom Chairman Rem Vyakhirev saying that Moldova has
failed to pay on time for current gas deliveries and reduce
its outstanding debt. Fadeev said that negotiations are under
way on restructuring the Moldovan debt, which Moldovan
officials say now totals $489 million. Of that sum, $310
million is owed by Tiraspol. An additional $277 million is
due in fines for overdue payments. Flux reported that energy
supplies from Romania and Ukraine will be diverted to
Chisinau to avoid plunging the capital into darkness but that
this will cause serious problems in the countryside. MS

BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT APPROVES DRAFT BUDGET. The government on
28 October approved a draft 2000 budget providing for 4
percent GDP growth, a deficit equal to 2.3 percent of GDP,
and an annual inflation rate of 2.8 percent, BTA reported.
Finance Minister Muravei Radev said that 15,000 people
employed in the government administration will be laid off in
2000 to reduce budget expenditures. Wages in the public
sector are to increase by 5 percent, while the minimum wage
will increase by 8 percent and pensions by 13 percent. MS

BULGARIAN TURKISH PARTY BOYCOTTS MAYORAL INAUGURATION. The
Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) on 29 October
boycotted the opening session of the newly elected local
council in Kurdzhali, BTA and AP reported. The DPS claims
3,000 ballots were incorrectly declared invalid by the
electoral commission. It has appealed to the local court to
order a recount. The DPS lost its majority on the local
council and also lost the town's mayoralty to a candidate
representing the ruling Union of Democratic Forces. On 29
October, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov denied in the parliament
that he called the DPS "a curse for Bulgaria." MS

END NOTE

ALBANIA'S PRIME MINISTER CALLS IT QUITS

by Fabian Schmidt

	Prime Minister Pandeli Majko announced his resignation
on 26 October. His successor, Ilir Meta, is likely to
continue his reformist policies but will be in a more
vulnerable position, facing interference by influential
Socialist Party leader and former Prime Minister Fatos Nano.
	In resigning, Majko drew the consequences of his defeat
in the vote for Socialist Party leader at a congress in early
October. His rival, Nano, beat him by a small margin in that
ballot. Majko's resignation nonetheless came as a surprise,
since he initially had pledged to continue as premier,
despite his defeat in the party leadership vote. He had
argued that he still enjoys considerable support from within
the party and especially among Socialist legislators.
	But during the days that followed, Nano increased
pressure on Majko, whom he had harshly attacked in the past
for his conciliatory political approach. Nano, along with
Democratic leader Sali Berisha, carries the most
responsibility for the polarization of political life between
the Socialists and Democrats. Not surprisingly, he is
considerably less willing than Majko to cooperate with the
Democrats and has repeatedly criticized Majko for maintaining
contacts with opposition politicians. Majko's approach,
however, appealed to many voters who are sick of the
polarization that has dominated Albanian politics throughout
most of the 1990s.
	After the congress, Nano challenged the election of 36
members of the 116-strong Steering Committee, most of them
Majko supporters, because they received less than 50 percent
of the vote. Under party statutes, all members of the
Steering Committee must be elected with more than 50 percent
of the vote. Nonetheless, many Albanian political observers
and journalists regarded Nano's initiative as an attempt to
remove Majko's supporters from the committee and to
strengthen his position vis-a-vis the government. Some
observers pointed out that Nano did not call run-off votes at
party congresses in 1992 and 1996, when he was firmly in
charge and the candidates were all loyal to him
	Subsequently, Majko and another 66 members of the
Steering Committee boycotted the ballot on 22 October in
Tirana, arguing that Nano was aiming to change the balance of
power in the committee. In the end, 73 percent of the
deputies to the congress took part in the run-off vote,
indicating that Nano remains able to mobilize large parts of
the party's rank-and-file. The "Albanian Daily News" noted
that "the session showed the undisputed authority of Nano in
the party." By the same token, the session showed that the
position of the 31-year-old former prime minister remains
precarious among his fellow Socialists.
	Nano failed, however, to get his loyalists elected at
the expense of Majko's. The delegates approved the
controversial election of the 36 in a vote that appears to
have been a compromise between Majko's backers and Nano's
supporters. Delegates seemed to have realized that the two
rival wings need each other. While Nano's supporters within
the party are more numerous than Majko's, the latter's appeal
to the public is stronger than that of the combative Nano.
Majko, nonetheless, realized that his ability to make policy
beyond the reach of the powerful Nano had been considerably
limited as a result of the congress and therefore opted to
resign.
	Majko's resignation, however, does not mean that the
conservative wing of the Socialist Party has taken over the
government. "Koha Ditore" on 27 October noted that new
Premier Meta is clearly from Majko's reformist wing within
the party. Meta was deputy prime minister under Majko and is
also the head of the Socialist Youth Forum, known as the
Eurosocialists. But he will have a more difficult task ahead
of him than did Majko before the party congress. Nano is now
clearly the most powerful party leader and is likely to
repeatedly challenge the government on general policy
questions.
	The resignation of Majko marks the third major
government reshuffle since the Socialists came to power in
1997. The opposition is likely to revive its calls for new
elections, but the Socialists are unlikely to agree to an
early vote, fearing this would severely hamper the
government's reform plans shortly after the Kosova war and
possibly reduce their two-thirds majority in the parliament.
Meta will now have to prove that he can continue the work of
the government without becoming involved in politically
motivated disruptions.

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