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RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 222, Part II, 15 November 1999
___________________________________________________________ RFE/RL NEWSLINE Vol. 3, No. 222, Part II, 15 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 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Headlines, Part II * KUCHMA WINS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE * TRAJKOVSKI LEADING IN MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE * TUDJMAN REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION End Note: CROATIA AFTER TUDJMAN xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx EAST-CENTRAL EUROPE KUCHMA WINS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE... According to unofficial results, incumbent President Leonid Kuchma scored a convincing victory over communist rival Petro Symonenko in the 14 November presidential runoff. With the election tally nearly complete, Kuchma obtained 56.31 percent of the vote and Symonenko 37.76 percent, Reuters reported. According to Interfax, turnout was 74 percent. "This shows we have a huge popular mandate to speed up reform," Kuchma's campaign team head Ivan Kuras commented, adding that the ballot gives Kuchma the green light for parliamentary reform. Symonenko on 15 November conceded defeat but accused Kuchma's team of major election violations and vote rigging. "Everything that happened during the first and second round [of voting] demonstrates that Ukraine has become a police state," AP quoted Symonenko as saying. JM ...PLEDGES TO MAKE 'RESOLUTE' ECONOMIC REFORMS. Talking to journalists after casting his vote in Kyiv on 14 November, Kuchma said he intends to take "resolute steps" to reform the country's economy in the event of his victory, Interfax reported. He added that these steps will "not always be popular." Kuchma did not rule out that the parliament would be dissolved if it failed to form a majority. He added that after the presidential ballot he may "ask the people" what is to be done with the parliament. At the same time, Kuchma pledged that the presidential powers to form a cabinet will "to some extent" be passed to a legislature with a majority. JM UKRAINE'S SUPREME COURT REJECTS ELECTION VIOLATION COMPLAINTS. The Supreme Court on 13 November rejected complaints by presidential candidates Oleksandr Moroz and Yuriy Karmazin of violations in the first presidential election round on 31 October. According to Interfax, the court refused to view the complaints on the grounds that "in accordance with the legislation in force, [they] are not subject to consideration by courts." Ukraine's presidential election law does not provide for the courts to declare a presidential election invalid. JM MINSK POLICE DENY BEATING OF 'FREEDOM MARCH' PARTICIPANTS. The Minsk-based Association for Legal Assistance to the Population has received an official reply to its complaint about the police brutality during the 17 October opposition "freedom march," Belapan reported on 12 November. The association had collected and handed to the police the results of medical examinations of 20 people who were beaten by riot policemen after their arrests on 17 October. "The citizens in question were arrested for violating street demonstration regulations. There is no evidence that [riot police] officers used brutal force," Belapan quoted the Minsk Main Internal Affairs Directorate as saying. JM OSCE MISSION SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN BELARUS UNSATISFACTORY. Hans-Peter Kleiner, deputy head of the OSCE Consultative and Monitoring group in Minsk, said on 12 October that the human rights situation in Belarus is unsatisfactory. Kleiner said that is not only because police beat demonstrators but also because the state-controlled media do not report on human rights violations. Meanwhile, Russia's Commissioner for Human Rights Oleg Mironov, who visited Belarus from 8-11 November, failed to meet with the country's leading human rights organizations such as Spring- 96, Charter-97, and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. Mironov, however, met with Yauhen Novikau, head of the Belarusian National League for Human Rights. Novikau told Belapan on 12 November that the human rights situation in Belarus was worse before President Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power than it is now. JM BALTIC DIPLOMATS ATTEND EU NORTHERN DIMENSION CONFERENCE. The foreign ministers of Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania's deputy foreign minister attended a conference on the EU's Northern Dimension in Helsinki on 12 November. On the meeting's agenda was further regional cooperation, especially in the economic sphere, the Baltic Ring project to connect the power grids of all Baltic Sea countries, and the Nordic Gas Pipeline project to build a gas pipeline system for all countries in the region, ETA and BNS reported. Also discussed were transport links and infrastructure within the region. Lithuanian Deputy Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas commented that Kaliningrad should have a wider role in regional projects. Several important bilateral meetings were held, such as one between Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzins and his Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov. MH ESTONIA BECOMES WTO MEMBER. Estonia on 13 November officially became a member of the World Trade Organization. Estonia, the 135th member of the international trade body, had ratified the accession protocol last month. MH LATVIAN REFERENDUM FAILS. The 13 November referendum on changes to the pensions law failed due to low turnout. The Central Electoral Commission announced that only 25.08 percent of the electorate turned out to vote. Latvian laws state that turnout must exceed 50 percent for a referendum to be valid. However, 94.18 percent (with all votes counted, except those from abroad) voted to annul the government changes, which raised the retirement age and restricted payments to working pensioners (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 6 August 1999). Prime Minister Andris Skele, a primary backer of the changes, had called on citizens not to take part in the referendum, BNS reported. MH POLLS SHOW NEGATIVE LITHUANIAN REACTION TOWARDS OIL DEAL. A survey conducted by Vilmorus from 4-8 November shows that the Lithuanian government's deal with U.S. oil company Williams International (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 1 November 1999) has affected public opinion toward leading politicians, "Lietuvos Rytas" reported on 13 November. The two individuals seen as champions of the deal, President Valdas Adamkus and parliamentary chairman Vytautas Landsbergis, saw their popularity plummet; the president's approval rating dropped to 48.6 percent from 81.6 percent one month ago, while 60.4 percent of respondents gave Landsbergis a negative rating, compared with 46.7 percent last month. Adamkus's role in the deal has also affected public opinion toward the presidency, with confidence in the institution tumbling to 35.9 percent from 70.8 percent in early October. Meanwhile, the ratings of the three ministers who resigned over the deal all increased. MH EU COMMISSIONER PLEDGES SUPPORT TO LITHUANIA. The European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement Issues Guenter Verheugen, during a visit to Lithuania on 12 November, reaffirmed his support for Lithuania's bid to join the EU. Stressing that the European Commission's recommendation for Lithuania to start accession negotiations is based on positive reforms, Verheugen added that the pace of Lithuania's membership process will depend on progress made by that country, ELTA reported. Verheugen also promised 20 million euros ($20.64 million) annually for the program to shut down the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant. He added that more funds will be forthcoming from a donors' conference to be held in the near future. MH POLISH COALITION MEETS DIFFICULTIES IN BID TO PASS TAX REFORM. Parliamentary deputies from the coalition Solidarity Electoral Action and Freedom Union on 12 November voted down a motion by the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) to reject a tax reform bill (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 November 1999). The parliamentary Committee for Public Finances is now drawing up another version of the bill for a second reading scheduled on 16 November. In order to take effect on 1 January 2000, the bill must be approved by both parliamentary chambers and signed by the president by 30 November. Meanwhile, SLD leader Leszek Miller said on 14 November that the opposition will do everything possible to prevent the bill from being passed on time. "The draft tax law is wrong and socially harmful," PAP quoted Miller as saying. JM KLAUS'S SUPER COALITION IDEA REJECTED. Freedom Union chairman Jan Ruml and Christian Democratic leader Jan Kasal on 13 November rejected the idea of forming a "super coalition" of all parties in the Czech parliament, excluding the Communists, Czech media reported. Their comments came after a round-table meeting with Social Democratic (ODS) leader Milos Zeman and Civic Democratic leader Vaclav Klaus. Ruml added that since Klaus refuses to support a no-confidence vote in Zeman's government, the possibility of a separate coalition between the Freedom Union, the Christian Democrats, and the ODS is also "blocked." However, Klaus noted that the four leaders did not discuss the possibility of such a "right-of- center" coalition, leaving the door open for future discussions. Zeman said the four leaders will meet again in two weeks or so to discuss cooperation in the parliament on various laws. VG CZECH ROMANY REPRESENTATIVES SUSPEND PROTEST. A group of Czech Roma who have been camped beside a wall that separates Roma from four ethnic Czech households in Usti nad Labem temporarily suspended their sit-in protest on 12 November after meeting with Prime Minister Milos Zeman, Czech media reported. Romany activist Ondrej Gina said the protesters want to give the government and the local town council time to resolve the issue. Zeman rejected speculation that the state intends to buy the four houses, saying the government will not allow itself to be "blackmailed." A spokesman for the mayor of Usti nad Labem described Zeman's statement as "irresponsible" and questioned whether any solution to the problem is possible if one side describes the other as a "blackmailer." VG AUSTRIAN MINISTER SAYS REPORT PROVES SLOVAK PLANT UNSAFE. A spokesman for Austrian Consumer Protection Minister Barbara Prammer said a report by the Slovak nuclear safety agency proves that the Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power plant is unsafe, TKE reported. A spokesman for the minister, spokesman Robert Wier, said the minister had received the report from the Institute for Research on Nuclear Risks. He said the report states that Slovakia's Nuclear Supervision Office has refused to give the Bohunice plant operational licenses for longer than one year since 1995. Wier said this confirms that even some Slovaks share Austria's worries about the plant's safety. VG ETHNIC HUNGARIAN PARTY RE-ELECTS CHAIRMAN IN SLOVAKIA. Bela Bugar was re-elected chairman of the Hungarian Coalition Party at a party congress on 14 November, TASR reported. The party is a member of the governing coalition in Slovakia. Deputy Prime Minister Pal Csaky, who had initially run for the post, eventually dropped out of the race. VG SLOVAK PARLIAMENTARY CHAIRMAN SAYS EU EXPANSION WILL TAKE PLACE. Jozef Migas, who was on a state visit to Finland on 12 November, said Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari had assured him that the "de facto decision" on EU enlargement has already been made and that it will take place in 2002 and 2003, TASR reported the same day. VG BULGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS SLOVAKIA. Nadezhda Mikhailova and her Slovak counterpart, Eduard Kukan, met in Bratislava on 12 November and signed an agreement on avoiding double taxation. The two sides also discussed navigation on the River Danube, which was disrupted during the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia earlier this year. They also discussed nuclear energy, which is a key issue for both countries in their efforts to integrate into the EU. Slovak Deputy Prime Minister Pavol Hrusovsky said both countries should cooperate at the governmental and parliamentary levels to achieve their common goal of integration into the EU and NATO, TASR reported. VG SUMMIT OF ETHNIC HUNGARIANS REACHES COMPROMISE. A summit of ethnic Hungarian groups in Budapest on 12 November approved a document recommending that Hungarian law codify the status of ethnic Hungarians living outside the country. The document also states that the Hungarian government firmly supports efforts by the Hungarian minority in the Serbian province of Vojvodina to obtain autonomy. It stops short of demanding that ethnic Hungarians who are citizens of other countries be granted voting rights in Hungary. But Foreign Minister Janos Martonyi said Hungarian citizens living abroad "should be given voting rights, as that is not an ethnic or geographical matter." Ethnic Hungarian leaders from Romania, Slovakia, and Vojvodina supported the document. MSZ SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE TRAJKOVSKI LEADING IN MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. Macedonian Premier Ljubco Georgijevski announced on state television on 15 November that with 96 percent of the votes counted, Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski has won 53 percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for his challenger, Tito Petkovski, AFP reported. Petkovski conceded that Trajkovski's 48,000-vote lead cannot be overcome. Petkovski's spokesman, Nikola Popovski, charged that widespread voter fraud had occurred in the western part of the country, which is inhabited by mostly ethnic Albanians. Trajkovski, candidate of the center-right government, said his election offers a "historic chance" for him and the country. No figures were available on turnout. If it falls below 50 percent, then the election is declared invalid. PB TUDJMAN REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION. An official Croatian medical communique reported on 14 November that President Franjo Tudjman's condition had stabilized after fresh surgery, Reuters reported. The statement said that "difficulties in the digestive system have been removed." Doctors had said on 12 November that the health of the president, aged 77, was deteriorating after surgery two weeks ago was complicated by peritonitis and internal bleeding. Some Croatian dailies report the president's condition as very grave. Some claim he is on a life-support system. Tudjman's youngest son, Stjepan, said after leaving the hospital that his father is in a better condition than is being reported (see "End Note"). PB CROATIA'S OPPOSITION CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES. Drazen Budisa, the leader of Croatia's opposition Social Liberals, called for changes to be made to the country's constitution to reduce President Tudjman's authority, AP reported, citing Hina. Budisa said "the president has not been capable of running the country for 10 days now, and we know how wide his powers are." Parliamentary speaker Vlatko Pavletic of Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) would act as interim head of state if the president were to die or be declared incapacitated. A presidential election would be held within 60 days. The president's health caused the HDZ to withdraw a motion to dissolve the parliament, allowing the lower house to reconvene for emergencies until its mandate expires on 27 November. PB CROATIA TELLS HAGUE COURT IT IS NOT WELCOME. Justice Minister Zvonimir Separovic said in a letter to Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal at The Hague, that UN war crimes investigators are not welcome in Croatia, AFP reported. The tribunal wants to send teams into central Croatia to investigate alleged crimes against ethnic Serbs committed during the 1991-1995 war. Separovic said the tribunal has no jurisdiction over Croatia's military operations against the Serbs. PB UN PLANE CRASH IN KOSOVA KILLS ALL ABOARD. A UN plane carrying officials from the organization's World Food Program and a number of private humanitarian groups crashed into a mountaintop near the Kosovar town of Mitrovica on 12 November, killing all 24 people onboard, Reuters reported. KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt said there is no indication as to the cause of the crash, but he noted that weather conditions were extremely foggy. Most of those killed were Italians. PB ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER WARNS OF FAILURE BY WEST IN KOSOVA. Veton Surroi, the publisher of the independent daily "Koha Ditore," urged the West on 12 November to provide adequate funds to shore up the police force and the judicial system in the Serbian province, Reuters reported. Surroi, in an address to NATO's Parliamentary Assembly in Amsterdam, said the alliance's intervention in Kosova is at risk of failing if certain needs are not met. He said "serious reconstruction" has not begun and, that as a result, too many people are left idle. Surroi, who has come under fire from hard-line ethnic Albanians for his calls for tolerance toward Serbs, urged the rapid creation of a judiciary system and the involvement of Kosovar political parties in the running of the province. He said the term "multiethnic society" is misunderstood by ethnic Albanians as meaning the "forced cohabitation" that was experienced under Serb rule. He said a "tolerant and just society" would bring the same result. PB SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES CLAIM TO BE UNITED AGAINST MILOSEVIC... Serbian opposition politicians pledged on 14 November to unite their efforts to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power, Reuters reported. More than 50 leading opposition activists signed a declaration after a three-day meeting in the Hungarian town of Szentendre that states their main tasks are to form an alliance, oust the current government, and hold free elections. The document also called on the international community to immediately lift sanctions against Serbia. The talks were organized by Yugoslav Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who also announced that he is willing to become king of Yugoslavia under a constitutional monarchy. Alliance for Change leader Zoran Djindjic attended the talks, as did the leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Bishop Artemije. Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic did not attend, claiming he feared for his safety. PB ...AS SERBIAN DIASPORA OFFERS CASH FOR HIS OUSTER. Prominent Serbian expatriates from North America, Europe, and Australia on 13 November offered to give Serbian opposition groups $1 million if they unite and remove President Milosevic from office, AP reported. They also promised to provide access to Western governments and technical advice to the opposition. Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said the money would be best used to support independent media in Serbia. He said that political parties "should renounce this money" so that it could be given to "organizations which find it even harder to survive in a very poor country." PB MONTENEGRO PASSES AMNESTY FOR DRAFT DODGERS. The Montenegrin parliament adopted a law on 12 November that grants amnesty to anyone who defied orders to join the Yugoslav army during the conflict in Kosova, Reuters reported. The measure was passed unanimously after deputies from the Socialist People's Party, which is loyal to Belgrade, walked out of the chamber. The legislation covers the period from June 1998 to June of this year. A Montenegrin deputy said that some 14,000 people in Montenegro will gain amnesty from the legislation. In other news, Montenegrin Justice Minister Dragan Soc confirmed that Veselin Vlahovic, wanted for war crimes in Bosnia, is in jail in Montenegro. The war crimes tribunal at The Hague has given Bosnia the right to put him on trial in Sarajevo. Bosnian officials said they will request Vlahovic's extradition. PB OFFICIALS AGREE TO FIGHT CORRUPTION, STEP UP SEARCHES IN BOSNIA. U.S. and Bosnian officials agreed on 14 November to form a commission that will monitor corruption in Bosnia- Herzegovina, AP reported. The agreement was reached after two days of talks in Dayton, Ohio. Bosnian officials also agreed to allow more vigorous searches by NATO peacekeepers for indicted war criminals hiding in Bosnia. PB ALBANIAN, MACEDONIAN PREMIERS HAIL 'NEW BALKANS.' Ilir Meta and his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubco Georgievski, held talks in the southeastern Albanian town of Korce on 12 November, dpa reported. Meta said the two agreed they must "work together for the creation of a new Balkans." Meta added that the two countries are eager to make the stability pact for southeastern Europe "a reality." Georgievski said the two countries are working on a bilateral trade agreement and on integrating infrastructure and communications systems. PB ROMANIAN SOCCER OFFICIALS TO MONITOR ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS. Romanian Soccer Federation officials on 12 November decided to monitor publications owned by the federation's vice president, Dumitru Dragomir, to prevent him from printing anti-Semitic remarks, AP reported. The federation was reacting to a request from FIFA, the international soccer association, which is contemplating a ban on all Romanian soccer squads if Dumitru permits his publications to run any more anti-Semitic or racist remarks. Dumitru's publications have published such remarks in the past. For instance, one article referred to government officials as "dirty Jews" and "Gypsies." VG ROMANIAN STEEL WORKERS PROTEST PRIVATIZATION. More than 1,500 employees of the Petrotrub steel pipe manufacturer blocked a major road in northeastern Romania on 12 November to protest the privatization of their company. The previous day, the Gibraltar-based Tubman International Ltd. signed a deal with the Romanian government to purchase a 70 percent stake in Petrotrub for $42.6 million. The deal calls for Tubman to pay off Petrotrub's debts of about $39 million and lay off about 1,500 of the company's 3,000 employees. VG RUSSIA RESUMES WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA. Russia on 13 November resumed withdrawing its troops from the breakaway Transdniester region of Moldova, dpa reported. Russian officials gave no indication as to how many troops or how much military hardware will be moved out of the region. Lieutenant-General Valerii Yevnevich told ITAR-TASS on 13 November that the military is loading the "first three of a total of 13 convoys" on 13 November. He said the weapons that are being moved could arm "a medium-sized army in Europe." Russian newspapers noted that Moscow transferred anti-tank rockets from Moldova to Chechnya during the last war there in 1995. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the OSCE is monitoring the troop and weapon withdrawal from Moldova (see also Part 1). VG MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW PREMIER. Petru Lucinschi on 12 November appointed Moldovan Ambassador to Russia Valeriu Bobutac as prime minister. Bobutac replaces Ion Sturza, whose government fell in a no-confidence vote on 9 November (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November 1999). The new government, which is to be formed by the Popular Front Christian Democratic and the Communists, is to be named this week. Lucinschi picked Bobutac because he was acceptable to both parties. Bobutac served as trade minister from 1986 to 1988, when Moldova was part of the former Soviet Union. He was economic minister from 1992 to 1994 and again in 1997. The president said the new prime minister should "fight corruption and resume good relations with international organizations." VG END NOTE CROATIA AFTER TUDJMAN by Patrick Moore The critical state of President Franjo Tudjman's health suggests Croatia will soon begin a new era. The tasks facing the new leadership will include instituting political change, promoting Euro-Atlantic integration, and raising the standard of living. Tudjman is apparently losing his battle with cancer, which has lasted at least three years. He would be the first of the major figures in the dramatic events in the former Yugoslavia this past decade to die in office. It is ironic that the first of this small group likely to pass on is Tudjman, a life-long athlete and non-smoker. Tudjman's legacy is likely to remain the subject of controversy for a long time to come. To his supporters, he has his place in history as the father of independence and the man who "made Croatia." They argue that he alone had the organizational skills, the contacts to wealthy Croats in the diaspora, and the personal reputation as a nationalist leader to perform three vital tasks: ousting the Communists in the 1990 elections, winning independence the following year, and defeating the ethnic Serb rebels in 1995. To his detractors, Tudjman will remain a tyrant who should have left office long ago, at the very latest following his defeat of the Serbs. A stiff man comfortable only with his trusted inner circle, his military and communist experiences made him authoritarian and intolerant of differing views. His ego and obsession with the trappings of power often made him the butt of jokes. Tudjman may have been the right man to win independence, his detractors would say, but he was not the one to build a democratic, prosperous country integrated into Euro- Atlantic institutions. In fact, post-Tudjman Croatia faces a wide array of problems. The first question is the future of Tudjman's governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), which has dominated politics for nearly a decade. It is the last of the East European mass movements that emerged in the 1980s to bring about the fall of communism. All the others-- including Solidarity in Poland and the Civic Forum in the former Czechoslovakia--have broken up into ideologically- based successor organizations. Many observers argue that the time for the HDZ to do likewise is long overdue. They may not have long to wait. At least since Tudjman first underwent cancer surgery in 1996, several prominent subordinates have been jockeying for top positions. These individuals might soon find themselves heads of new political parties that would emerge from the main factions of the HDZ. For example, Foreign Minister Mate Granic might head a moderate party, while the deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament, Vladimir Seks, might lead a stringently nationalist organization. Tudjman's aide Ivic Pasalic might become head of a grouping of his fellow Herzegovinians, who form a very powerful interest group in the HDZ. A second issue involves the future of the opposition and its impact on the broader political scene. One reason why the HDZ and Tudjman have held power for nearly 10 years is the ineptitude of the fractious opposition. The two leading opposition parties have formed a coalition, and the four smaller ones have made a pact of their own to fight the elections for the lower house on 22 December. The question is whether they will be able to maintain unity of purpose in a post-Tudjman world. Some observers suggest that the impending fragmentation of the HDZ will lead to a totally new political landscape in which individual factions of the HDZ will combine with what are now opposition parties. Others fear that Tudjman's departure will remove the common enemy to all opposition parties and leave them fighting once again among themselves. In such a scenario, the HDZ would continue to hold on to power as before. This leads to a third issue stemming from the Tudjman era, namely the democratization of political life. Washington and Brussels have made it clear time and again that electoral, minority, and media legislation will have to be brought up to Western standards if Croatia is to become integrated in Euro-Atlantic institutions. Furthermore, Zagreb will have to respect all of its obligations regarding the sovereignty and integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the 1995 Dayton peace accord. Croatia, moreover, has a long way to go to raise its standing in the West's estimation. In 1991, Croatia and Slovenia both emerged as independent states. At present, Slovenia seems well on the way to membership in the EU and NATO, while Croatia has fallen behind even such poor Balkan countries as Albania and Macedonia. This state of affairs is unacceptable to the center and left portions of the political spectrum. One may expect any government that they may eventually form to make serious efforts to accommodate Croatia's Western friends on democratization. A closely related issue is privatization. To the extent that it has been carried out at all, it has chiefly benefited people with close ties to the HDZ. There have been loud calls from many sections of society for a thorough investigation into this and other forms of corruption. Furthermore, most Croats have to struggle to make ends meet with monthly incomes of about $450 but with prices on a German level. As far as the majority of the population is concerned, the first priority of a post- Tudjman leadership should be to raise the standard of living, particularly for people with low or fixed incomes. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc. All rights reserved. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word subscribe as the subject of the message. HOW TO UNSUBSCRIBE Send an email to email@example.com with the word unsubscribe as the subject of the message. 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