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Newsline - June 4, 1996

Presidential candidates Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Gennadii Zyuganov met on 3 June, NTV reported. Zhirinovsky said that they did not talk about forming a coalition in the first round but held open the possibility of doing so in the second; Zyuganov confirmed this statement. Sources in Zhirinovsky's campaign suggested that Zyuganov is interested in an alliance because he is feeling insecure about his electoral chances. Aleksandr Lebed had earlier rejected Zhirinovsky's idea of a Zyuganov-Zhirinovsky-Lebed coalition, but Zyuganov only expressed doubts about Zhirinovsky's seriousness, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. Zhirinovsky also met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, but the government leader's staff described the event merely as one of a series of meetings with the candidates, and one in which Zhirinovsky did most of the talking, ORT reported. Zhirinovsky claimed in an interview with the British newspaper Evening Standard that he would back Yeltsin in the runoff in exchange for being named foreign minister. -- Robert Orttung

Dmitrii Olshanskii, director of the Center for Strategic Analysis and Prognosis, argued on 3 June that the outcome of the second round of the presidential election will depend on how the losing candidates from the first round behave. He said they may influence their supporters who would be reluctant to vote for either President Yeltsin or Gennadii Zyuganov in the runoff. When it was mentioned that many prominent figures, including Grigorii Yavlinskii, Aleksandr Lebed, and Svyatoslav Fedorov, have already announced that they will endorse neither Yeltsin nor Zyuganov, Olshanskii said such pronouncements should be ignored, since no matter what the candidates say now, they are unlikely to stick to an uncompromising position after the first round. -- Laura Belin in Moscow

The director of the Institute for the Sociology of Parliamentarianism, Nugzar Betaneli, announced that his latest poll shows President Yeltsin catching up to Zyuganov two weeks before the presidential election, Russian TV (RTR) reported. Betaneli's polls are highly respected in Moscow because his 1995 Duma election predictions are considered among the most accurate. His earlier data showing Zyuganov leading were said to be of great concern to Kremlin insiders. Betaneli attributed Yeltsin's success to his recent return "to the needs and hopes of the voters." -- Robert Orttung

Defense Minister Pavel Grachev announced that the sailors who participated in early balloting because they will be at sea on election day "voted unanimously" for the president, AFP reported 3 June, citing Russian Public TV (ORT). However, ORT claimed that Grachev violated the electoral law by revealing the votes early and the sailors' ballots "will inevitably be canceled." -- Robert Orttung

Outgoing St. Petersburg Mayor Anatolii Sobchak has announced that he will continue on in politics despite being defeated in the second round of the city's gubernatorial election on 2 June, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 May. He said that he will not join a coalition government under incoming Governor Vladimir Yakovlev. Instead, Sobchak said he will attempt to consolidate the city's democratic political formations, Our Home Is Russia and Russia's Democratic Choice, which were the only pro-reform regional parties that supported him for re-election. Meanwhile, Yakovlev, who was elected by a 2% margin (see OMRI Daily Digest, 3 June 1996), will take over the governor's office within 10 days. He announced that one of his first steps in the office will be to sign power-sharing agreements with the federal government and Leningrad Oblast. He also called on presidential candidate Grigorii Yavlinskii to form a coalition with President Yeltsin, saying his own election victory was made possible through a coalition agreement. -- Anna Paretskaya

Russian warplanes attacked villages in Vedeno and Nozhai-Yurt raions during the evening of 3 June, NTV reported. However, Lt. Gen. Andrei Ivanov of the Russian General Staff accused Chechen militants of unilaterally violating the 27 May ceasefire agreement, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 June. He added that the Chechen Defense Committee's 2 June decision to insist that all Russian troops be withdrawn from Chechnya within seven days could torpedo the entire peace process. Chuvash President Nikolai Fedorov, who is in Chechnya representing the Council of Europe, met in Grozny with OSCE representative Tim Guldimann, and later expressed concern that acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiev is unable to convince Chechen field commanders to observe the ceasefire, according to Radio Rossii. Russian TV (RTR) quoted Guldimann as expressing doubt that the 16 June election to a new Chechen People's Assembly will be democratic. Russian and Chechen delegations still plan to meet in Nazran on 4 June to discuss the implementation of last week's ceasefire agreement, Russian and Western media reported. -- Liz Fuller

Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov met with his counterparts from the 16 NATO member-states in Berlin on 4 June, for discussions that may lead to negotiations on finding a compromise resolution to the disputed issue of NATO expansion, Russian and Western agencies reported. AFP, citing an anonymous NATO official, said that Primakov told his NATO counterparts that Russia could accept the political expansion of the alliance eastward but considered "unacceptable" the establishment of NATO military installations near Russia's borders. The official added that the NATO ministers, while saying Moscow cannot veto expansion, assured Primakov that any expansion would not involve major military exercises or base construction in areas near Russia. At a subsequent press conference, Primakov termed the session "frank, useful, and constructive," adding that he now hopes the alliance's expansion is not "pre-determined" but will be "discussed in dialogue with Russia." -- Scott Parrish

At a 3 June press conference, Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev said his recent visits to North Korea and Mongolia would boost relations with both countries, which he labeled "strategic partners" of Russia, ITAR-TASS reported. Optimistically, Seleznev said that a recently formed bilateral economic cooperation commission is actively working to "restore the previous links between the two countries." However, this assessment conflicts with earlier reports that the two countries continue to disagree over settlement terms for North Korea's debt to the former Soviet Union, which Russia inherited. After urging the conclusion of a new bilateral friendship treaty, the Communist Duma speaker flatly asserted that "life in North Korea is normal," adding that "there is no food shortage." International aid agencies estimate that North Korea is in a state of "pre-famine." -- Scott Parrish

Russian, Estonian, and Finnish border guards will hold joint exercises in the Russian part of the Gulf of Finland on 4 June, ITAR-TASS reported. Three Russian, two Estonian, and two Finnish ships and two helicopters will practice joint lifesaving operations. A similar exercise was held last year near the Finnish town of Kotka. Swedish, Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian observers will also attend the drill. -- Constantine Dmitriev

Miners and electric power workers held a demonstration outside the offices of the Primorskii Krai administration in Vladivostok on 4 June to protest a four-month delay in the payment of their wages, ITAR-TASS reported. Workers from Primorskugol and Dalenergo are threatening to go on strike on 16 June if payment is not forthcoming. Consumers owe Dalenergo 1.4 trillion rubles ($280 million), which in turn owes the miners about 400 billion rubles. The electric power sector has been hit particularly hard by the payments crisis, in part because of legislation preventing cuts in power supplies to strategically important facilities. Meanwhile, at a conference on 3 June in the Kuzbass, the regional branch of the Independent Miners' Union and local workers committees spoke out against a return to communism despite the problems experienced by the coal industry. -- Penny Morvant

Under legislation being drafted by the Finance Ministry, Russian citizens buying property or vehicles costing more than 1,000 times the minimum monthly wage would have to submit a declaration to the tax authorities affirming that they have paid income tax, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 June. The minimum wage is currently set at 75,900 rubles a month. The draft, "on state monitoring of the conformity of large consumer purchases with the incomes received by physical persons," is directed against high-income tax dodgers. The tax authorities, using information from organizations that record such transactions, would have the right to verify the incomes of people who fail to make a declaration. The draft has been submitted to the government for review. The measure was first proposed by the State Tax Service; an earlier version proposed including purchases of artworks, antiques, jewelry, and securities, Finansovye izvestiya reported. -- Penny Morvant

President Yeltsin on 4 June sent a letter to State Duma Speaker Gennadii Seleznev criticizing the draft law on compensation for deceived investors, passed by the parliament in the first reading on 17 May. Yeltsin argued that the mechanism for compensating investors must be changed, with compensation first coming from the sale of the assets of the financial companies that defrauded investors (such as MMM) and from the commercial organizations that advertised their services--and only then from the federal budget. -- Penny Morvant

President Yeltsin on 3 June sent a telegram to the workers of the Perm Motors joint stock company ordering a set of four engines for the government's Il-96-300 aircraft, ITAR-TASS reported. He told the workers that their PS-90A jet engines are "the best plane engines in the country, and you together with the investors must make them one of the best in the world." Both the engine and the company have had problems of late. The first PS-90A engines failed after only 1,500 hours of use. Last November, the company had to go to a three-day work week and lay off 1,000 employees. -- Doug Clarke

A study of Russia's power generating industry, carried out under the Gore-Chernomyrdin economic commission, projects $3-5 billion worth of investment in the sector per year until the year 2000, and $5-7 billion thereafter. In 1995, investment was 16 trillion rubles ($3.5 billion), and is estimated at 28 trillion rubles for 1996, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 June. The investments are needed to replace old thermal power plants and increase the safety of nuclear power stations. EES Rossii (United Energy System of Russia) plans to build 44 new power plants and 10,000 km of new electrical lines over the next 10 years. -- Natalia Gurushina

Meeting in the North Caucasus town of Kislovodsk on 3 June, the presidents of Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan signed a declaration of support for territorial integrity, the non-violability of borders, and for the rights of ethnic minorities, Russian and Western agencies reported. The declaration also abjures terrorism, religious extremism, and aggressive separatism. In a clear reference to Turkey, whose Anatolia news agency on 26 May questioned the rationale for the meeting, President Yeltsin warned against "any attempt to drive a wedge between the Caucasus and Russia," according to ITAR-TASS. Yeltsin also affirmed his determination to enforce last week's Chechen peace agreement. The summit was also attended by the heads of the North Caucasus republics including pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev. At the meeting, Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev expressed support for Yeltsin's re-election. -- Liz Fuller

Azerbaijan insisted during the Vienna CFE review conference that its territory be excluded from any regional agreement with Russia on reallocating national CFE quotas, RFE/RL reported on 3 June. With strong support from Turkey, Azerbaijan was said to have forced the negotiations to continue until 3:30 a.m. on 1 June until it obtained a special concession that specifically excludes it from any temporary deployments of Russian troops or reallocation of quotas. Georgia has already "lent" Russia some of its "flanks" quotas, and the Iprinda news agency on 1 June reported that negotiators in Vienna had agreed that Russia could use part of the Georgian and Armenian quotas providing those countries "relinquished [them] voluntarily and their sovereignty was respected." -- Doug Clarke

In an open letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton obtained by OMRI, representatives of the exiled Uzbek opposition parties Birlik (Unity) and Erk (Freedom/Will) objected to Uzbek President Islam Karimov's upcoming visit to the U.S. The letter alleges that many Western countries are ignoring human rights violations in Uzbekistan in order to pursue economic interests in the country. The letter lists people who the opposition groups say went missing or were jailed or killed for political reasons. The letter also notes a critical Human Rights Watch report on the Uzbek government. -- Bruce Pannier

Judges of the Supreme Court and lower courts in Kazakhstan are now required to take exams attesting to their professional qualifications, ITAR-TASS reported on 3 June. A special committee consisting of well-known scholars, lawyers, and parliamentary deputies will review the exams. Justice Minister Konstantin Kolpakov said that the certification of judges is a part of the ongoing judicial reform process in the country. Kazakhstan has already abolished the Soviet-era practice of people's courts under which judges were simply nominated by higher authorities. -- Bhavna Dave

The scheduled release of 26 government soldiers held captive by Tajik opposition forces was aborted due to heavy fighting in the Pamir mountains near the city of Komsomolabad between opposition and government forces, ITAR-TASS reported on 31 May. The Red Cross/Red Crescent team that was heading into opposition territory to pick up the captive soldiers was forced to turn back because of the renewed fighting. The mission's executive chairman, Nicholas Borsinger, said the team had received no guarantees of personal safety. Upon returning to Dushanbe, the mission resumed talks with government and opposition representatives in an attempt to at least secure permission to visit the prisoners. -- Bruce Pannier

NATO foreign ministers meeting in Berlin approved plans to create a European Security and Defense Identity under which the European members of NATO gain additional flexibility to carry out independent military operations, Western agencies reported on 3 June. The ministers endorsed the concept of Combined Joint Task Forces (CJTFs) that would combine troops from NATO and non-NATO states to respond rapidly to crisis situations, like the Yugoslav conflict. Breaking with NATO tradition, CJTFs would not always include U.S. forces and could sometimes come under the military and political command of the 10-member Western European Union, of which Washington is not a member, rather than that of NATO. French officials pushing for a stronger European identity within NATO hailed the agreement, while U.S. spokesmen downplayed it, saying that the U.S. will remain heavily engaged in crisis management on the continent. -- Scott Parrish

Ukrainian Defense Minister Valerii Shmarov, Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev, and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry attended NATO exercises in Ukraine on 3 June, international agencies reported. The exercises, called Peace Shield `96, are organized within the framework of the Partnership for Peace Program. They are being held at the Yavorsky testing range in Western Ukraine and will bring together for 10 days 1,300 troops from Ukraine, Russia, the U.S., Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia. Perry said NATO no longer threatens any former Warsaw Pact country and enhances European stability. Grachev commented that such exercises help familiarize relations between Partnership for Peace countries, but he was more reserved when asked about NATO expansion and Russia's attitude toward Ukraine's inclusion in the organization. -- Ustina Markus

The police on 31 May arrested Tiit Madisson, the head of the Central Union of Nationalists, and accused him of plotting to overthrow the government, BNS reported three days later. Madisson was detained after issuing a leaflet claiming that an underground armed group, called the Liberation Army, was planning to overthrow the government and establish a nationalist military dictatorship. The leaflet accused government officials of being corrupt and some police officials of having ties with drug traffickers. A security police press spokesman expressed doubt about the existence of the Liberation Army and did not deny that Madisson might be subjected to a psychiatric examination. Madisson, 45 years old, was sentenced in 1980 to four years imprisonment and two years exile for anti-Soviet activities. He was a member of the Congress of Estonia and a board member of the Estonian National Independence Party. -- Saulius Girnius

Former Polish President Lech Walesa met with U.S. President Bill Clinton on 3 June at the White House to discuss Poland's progress toward political integration with Western European institutions, Polish and international media reported the next day. Walesa and Clinton expressed satisfaction that NATO enlargement remains on track. However, Walesa declined to comment on allegations that Clinton's administration is slowing down NATO enlargement, Rzeczpospolita reported on 4 June. The newspaper quotes Democratic U.S. senators as saying that the decision on new NATO members should not be made until after the Russian elections. Meanwhile, a bill on speeding up NATO expansion is to be presented to the U.S. Congress on 4 June. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

Construction of a supermarket opposite the former Nazi death camp at Auschwitz was resumed on 3 June, international media reported the next day. Work there was stopped on 2 April after a wave of protests. Janusz Marszalek, the project's main investor, said that the notice period for the local authorities to decide on the fate of the site expired, Gazeta Wyborcza reported on 4 June. AFP reported that 68% of Poles oppose the scheme and 61% believe local authorities should take into account "the historic and symbolic significance" of the area when ruling on this project. Between 1940 and 1943, more than 1 million people, mainly Jews, were murdered by the Nazis in Auschwitz's main camp. -- Dagmar Mroziewicz

Vaclav Havel on 3 June met with the leaders of the three right-of-center coalition parties and the opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) in an effort to form a new government following the parliamentary elections, Czech media reported. The elections resulted in a stalemate after the coalition parties fell just two seats short of a parliamentary majority (see the OMRI Daily Digest, 3 June 1996). Havel said he thinks the current right-of-center coalition should form a minority government and he will appoint to the prime minister's post the politician who will generate enough "consensus." The CSSD has indicated that it will not accept the current Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus in that post and will attach a number of other conditions to supporting a minority right-of-center government. Both the CSSD and Klaus's Civic Democratic Party have ruled out a grand-coalition. Some Czech politicians have suggested that early elections will have to be held. -- Jiri Pehe

Leaders of the Slovak National Party (SNS) at a weekend meeting sharply criticized the working of the government coalition, of which the SNS is a junior partner, Slovak media reported on 4 June. SNS leader Jan Slota said his party wanted a halt to the privatization of banks and called for a special session of the Slovak National Council to discuss imposing parliamentary control over the privatization process and the secret service --proposals long put forward by the opposition but hitherto opposed by the SNS. Slota hinted that the SNS will cooperate more with the opposition; in an interview with Sme, he said the dominant Movement of a Democratic Slovakia of Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar "should learn to negotiate seriously with its coalition partners." -- Steve Kettle

The parliament on 3 June began a heated debate on a bill proposing an official commemoration in honor of former Prime Minister Imre Nagy, Hungarian dailies reported. Nagy held office during the 1956 Revolution and was executed in 1958 for his leading role in the uprising. The bill was put forward by a junior coalition partner the Liberal Democrats (SZDSZ) deputy and a number of Socialists. However, the SZDSZ is opposed to the bill, saying it is not the legislature's task to make historical judgments and that the bill recalls a 1953 law memorializing Joseph Stalin. The party believes a more fitting gesture would be to clarify Nagy's historical role by making a film about his trial. SZDSZ leader Ivan Peto said, "The legislature cannot be the historical judge of the state." While all opposition parties oppose the bill as well, the Socialists continue to push for its approval. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

A conflict of interest bill continues to divide Hungary's coalition partners, Hungarian dailies reported on 4 June. The SZDSZ insists that strict conflict of interest rules be set out for deputies at the earliest possible date, while the Socialists appear set to postpone consideration of the law until after the 1998 elections. The debated bill would limit the jobs that deputies could hold outside their legislative duties or require stricter reporting by deputies of their outside incomes. Currently, many deputies hold positions on the boards of state companies. The SZDSZ plans to propose its own bill on the matter if no agreement is reached with the Socialists. Prime Minister Gyula Horn has recently expressed doubt that any of the three top-priority items of legislation--the conflict of interest law, the election law, and the new constitution--can be passed before the elections. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said that the alliance's troops in Bosnia are going to spread out across the republic: "It's going to be difficult for the war criminals because we're going to deploy troops over the whole territory to ensure freedom of movement except for war criminals," AFP quoted him as saying on 3 June. U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher stated that the move will put war criminals "at greater risk of apprehension," but a State Department spokesman added that this does not mean that IFOR will organize "posses" to hunt them down, German media added. Nasa Borba noted on 4 June that IFOR can now move into Pale. Critics have charged that IFOR is letting war criminals like Bosnian Serb leaders Gen. Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic pass through its checkpoints. They add that IFOR does nothing to ensure freedom of movement, which is a key provision of the Dayton treaty, and that its only interest is not causing political problems for Western governments back home. -- Patrick Moore

A Bosnian government delegation will visit the capital of rump Yugoslavia for the first time since the war started in Bosnia to discuss restoring communications and economic ties, Oslobodjenje reported on 4 June. Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic announced on 3 June that at the preceding Geneva summit, he and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic agreed to the visit that will take place next week. Normalization of railway and air traffic, postal, telegraph and telephone services, and other kinds of economic cooperation will be discussed. In another development, commenting on the Geneva summit decision to hold September elections in Bosnia, Izetbegovic said that the proper conditions for elections do not yet exist and possibly will not be achieved by the date slated for the elections, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

Ambassadors of the Council of Europe on 4 June will approve a letter to the Croatian government setting the terms for Croatia's membership, Reuters reported on 3 June. The document calls on Croatia to take concrete steps toward cooperation with the International Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia, support of free elections in Bosnia and particularly in the city of Mostar, return of Serb refugees to Croatia, dropping prosecutions against the independent media, and the resolution of the Zagreb mayor crisis. Meanwhile, only 19.1% of the electorate participated in the advisory referendum organized by the government on whether the city of Zagreb should remain part of Zagreb County, Hina reported on 3 June. However, 51.34% of the votes were in favor of the City of Zagreb remaining part of Zagreb County. -- Daria Sito Sucic

Tomica Raicevic, currently minister without portfolio, is slated to become the new federal minister of finance, Nasa Borba reported on 4 June. The daily also reported that after several delays owing partly to disagreements over who will hold key ministries, a cabinet shuffle and "restructuring" has been effected that includes a change of the federal ministers of agriculture, economics, and justice. Nasa Borba also reported that the post of national bank governor, left open after a the federal legislature voted to oust Dragoslav Avramovic on 15 May, is likely to be left "vacant until autumn," with the governor's deputy assuming the duties of that office in the interim. In other news, federal rump Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic on 3 June accepted the accreditation of the recently appointed ambassadors from Germany and Italy. -- Stan Markotich

On 31 May the first congress of the Socialist Party of the Republika Srpska (SPRS) opened in Banja Luka, highlighted by the public reading of a message from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. In the message, Milosevic wished the SPRS success in upcoming elections by calling for "a unity of all progressive leftist and democratic forces [in the RS]," Radio Serbia reported on 1 June. By calling on the SPRS to "oppose...violence, hate, and all forms of national and religious intolerance," Milosevic indirectly referred to his preference to have Radovan Karadzic and his supporters removed from power through the electoral process. Milosevic's unabashed support for the SPRS came the same day Belgrade's NIN published an interview with SPRS head Dragutin Ilic in which Ilic maintained his party's independence from Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia. -- Stan Markotich

Romanian media on 4 June continued to comment on the outcome of the 2 June local elections whose final returns are expected to be released on 6 June. In Bucharest, the candidate of the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania, former tennis star Ilie Nastase, lost to Victor Ciorbea from the opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). But a run-off seems unavoidable since Ciorbea reportedly failed to pass the 50% threshold required by law. CDR candidates appear to have won the race for the mayoral offices in all six Bucharest districts. Cluj's controversial mayor Gheorghe Funar from the chauvinistic Party of Romanian National Unity qualified for another four-year term. Most analysts predict the elections will have to be repeated on 16 June due to the low turnout. -- Dan Ionescu

Kontinent on 4 June reported that Videnov might be replaced as prime minister by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) in July. According to unnamed sources within the BSP headquarters, members of the BSP leadership plan to give Videnov a grace period until the latest agreement with the IMF is signed in late June. Former BSP Chairman Aleksandar Lilov and former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov reportedly agreed to replace Videnov with Foreign Minister Georgi Pirinski. However, Pirinski is also named as the most likely BSP presidential candidate. Standart reported that BSP leaders urged Videnov to at least replace some ministers. Meanwhile, Demokratsiya reported that the Political Club "Ekoglasnost" will leave the coalition with the BSP if the ministers in charge of the economy are not replaced. Such a move would leave the Left without an absolute majority in the parliament. -- Stefan Krause

According to the final results of the opposition's primary election of a common presidential candidate, Petar Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic Forces received 65.74% of the vote and incumbent President Zhelyu Zhelev 34.26%, Demokratsiya reported on 4 June. Some 849,796 valid votes were cast. The opposition's Political Council is expected to make an official statement on 4 June. On the same day the opposition will officially initiate proceedings for its third no-confidence vote against the government of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov because of "the collapse of [its] economic policy." The vote is expected to be supported by all opposition parties including the Bulgarian Business Bloc, which in the first two votes supported the government, Standart noted. Meanwhile, the big trade unions announced that they will intensify and coordinate their protest against the government's recent austerity measures and synchronize it with the opposition parties' actions. -- Stefan Krause

The Albanian opposition on 3 June demanded that the parliamentary elections be repeated in at least 80 of the 115 constituencies, Reuters reported. Social Democratic Party Chairman Skender Gjinushi said the opposition believes "the situation was catastrophic" in 80-90 constituencies. The Socialist Party (PS) asked for international assistance to investigate the alleged irregularities in the first round of voting on 26 May. An opposition delegation departed for Brussels for talks with EU officials. The EU, the U.S., and the OSCE had recommended a partial reholding of the elections but had given no specific recommendation. The Central Electoral Commission agreed to do over elections in four constituencies. Meanwhile, the opposition on 4 June canceled a demonstration planned for the same day after police banned all demonstrations from Tirana's Skanderbeg Square. The PS called on its supporters to come to the party headquarters and protest from within the building. -- Stefan Krause

Meanwhile, the Central Electoral Commission on 3 June announced that the Democratic Party won six seats in the second round of the parliamentary elections, the Republican Party won three, and the Balli Kombetar one. This gives the Democrats 101 seats out of 125 direct seats. Democratic Party officials said they expect to have won 15-20 of the 25 seats allotted on a proportional system. Turnout in the second round was 59% officially, but reports hint at a lower figure. Socialist Party official Pandeli Majko said it did not exceed 30%. The second round was boycotted by the opposition. -- Stefan Krause

[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Ustina Markus