YELTSIN NAMES RYBKIN TO REPLACE LEBED.
President Boris Yeltsin named
former Duma Speaker Ivan Rybkin as Security Council secretary and presidential
representative in Chechnya on 19 October, ITAR-TASS reported. Rybkin stressed
that he would maintain "continuity" with former Security Council Secretary
Aleksandr Lebed's policies in Chechnya. Although Rybkin was elected speaker by
the opposition, he quickly became a loyal Yeltsin ally. After the
pro-government Our Home is Russia backed him in an unsuccessful attempt to
retain the speakership, Yeltsin named him as head of his Political Consultative
Council. Lebed charged that Rybkin could not secure the country's security and
that he would turn the Security Council into "a quiet, bureaucratic office"
that will not make waves. Political Scientist Andrannik Migranyan told Radio
Rossii that Rybkin seeks to please everyone and that therefore the Security
Council will lose its influence. -- Robert Orttung
CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF SACKED.
Yeltsin removed Army General Mikhail
Kolesnikov and replaced him with Army General Viktor Samsonov, 54, previously
head of the CIS military cooperation staff, ITAR-TASS reported on 18 October.
Simultaneously, Yeltsin nominated Kolesnikov to replace Samsonov, subject to
approval by the CIS heads of state council. Samsonov served with Defense
Minister Igor Rodionov in the former Transcaucasian Military District in
1988-89. As commander of the Leningrad Military District in August 1991,
Samsonov initially supported the hardline coup plotters, declaring a state of
emergency in St. Petersburg and dispatching tanks to the city. He later
reversed course under pressure from the city's mayor, Anatolii Sobchak.
Samsonov briefly served as Chief of the General Staff of the USSR Armed Forces
in December 1991, before holding several CIS military posts. -- Scott Parrish
MASKHADOV CONFIRMED AS INTERIM CHECHEN PRIME MINISTER.
government officials expressed satisfaction on 18 October at the nomination of
Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov as interim Chechen prime minister and minister
of defense, ITAR-TASS reported. At its first meeting in Argun on 19 October,
the new coalition government discussed preparations for the presidential and
parliamentary elections to be held on 27 January 1997 and for the coming
winter. Maskhadov told journalists that if asked he would consider running for
president. The Chechen separatist leadership has welcomed assurances that newly
appointed Russian Security Council Secretary Ivan Rybkin will continue to
implement the peace agreement concluded by his predecessor. On 20 October--the
deadline for the withdrawal from Chechnya of Russian forces--Maskhadov met with
the acting commander of the Russian forces, Gen. Vladimir Sukhoruchenko.
Meanwhile, a search is underway in Chechnya for Aslanbek Khasbulatov, professor
of history at Grozny University and elder brother of Ruslan, who disappeared on
14 October, Ekho Moskvy reported. -- Liz Fuller
DUMA FAILS TO PASS LAW ON CHECHNYA FUNDS.
The Russian State Duma on 18
October failed on the first reading to pass a draft law on interim financing
for Chechnya pending the formation of "legitimate organs of power" there,
ITAR-TASS reported. The law would have frozen payments from the federal budget
and from individual Russian ministries to the Chechen government, and was
intended to preclude a recurrence of the widespread misappropriation of funds
allocated in 1995 for reconstruction. On 20 October acting Chechen President
Zelimkhan Yandarbiev accused the Russian leadership of delaying the peace
process and failing to pay for Chechen reconstruction. He also criticized the
recently created Russian-Chechen joint commission that is to coordinate
reconstruction, saying that "it talks a lot but does nothing concrete," AFP
reported. -- Liz Fuller
OPPOSITION DUMA DEPUTIES SUPPORT LEBED OUSTER . . .
in the State Duma agreed with the decision to fire Aleksandr Lebed. Communist
Party leader Gennadii Zyuganov said, "We have always insisted that we should
have one government, not three," while a close ally, Culture Committee Chairman
Stanislav Govorukhin, said Lebed's dismissal had somewhat "reconciled" him with
the current authorities, because Lebed had demonstrated "what a frightening
face the other could have," NTV and Russian TV (RTR) reported on 18 October.
The Yabloko faction wanted to formally ask Yeltsin to fire Interior Minister
Anatolii Kulikov, whose accusations immediately precipitated Lebed's ouster,
but their plea was rejected by the Duma. -- Laura Belin
. . . BUT ALSO TAKE AIM AT CHUBAIS.
Even as they welcomed Lebed's
dismissal, opposition Duma deputies still appeared concerned about the power
held by presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais. On 18 October the Duma
approved a motion put forward by Legislation Committee Chairman Anatolii
Lukyanov of the Communist faction, which asked the Constitutional Court to
examine a recent presidential decree creating an emergency commission on tax
collection, Russian Public TV (ORT) reported. That decree has been viewed as
strengthening Chubais' authority in economic matters. On 16 October, Communist
Duma deputies asked the Central Electoral Commission and the
Procurator-General's Office to investigate allegations published in
Sovetskaya Rossiya that President Yeltsin's reelection campaign
illegally funneled millions of dollars to politicians and media outlets
sympathetic to the president (see OMRI Daily Digest, 11 October 1996).
Chubais was an important figure in the Yeltsin campaign. -- Laura Belin
RUTSKOI ELECTED GOVERNOR OF KURSK.
Former Vice President Aleksandr
Rutskoi was elected governor of his native Kursk region on 20 October. Rutskoi
gathered 78.9% of the vote, ITAR-TASS reported. Rutskoi was registered as a
candidate only on 17 October after the presidium of the Supreme Court overruled
the decision of the Kursk Electoral Commission to disqualify him because he did
not meet residence requirements. Rutskoi easily defeated his main opponent,
incumbent Governor Vasilii Shuteev (who got 17.9%) even after the oblast Duma
turned down his plea to postpone the vote for a week to give him time to
campaign. Rutskoi was helped by the fact that the Communist and Agrarian Party
candidates withdrew in his favor on the eve of the election, since those
parties have performed well in Kursk in recent elections. -- Nikolai
GOVERNORS' ELECTION RESULTS.
Leonid Gorbenko defeated incumbent
Kaliningrad Governor Yurii Matochkin in a runoff race on 20 October with 43%
turnout. Matochkin had the strong support of Yeltsin's administration. In the
Kirov Oblast, Communist-backed Duma member Vladimir Sergeenkov won 51% of the
vote in a runoff with 54% turnout. The incumbent did not even make it to the
second round there. In Pskov, Governor Vladislav Tumanov now faces a runoff
against Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Duma Deputy Yevgenii Mikhailov.
Incumbent Igor Farkhutdinov won his race in Sakhalin Oblast, as did Governor
Nikolai Volkov in Birobidzhan (the Jewish Autonomous Oblast). Thus the
opposition won two races outright on 20 October (Kursk and Kirov), while the
administration took Sakhalin and Birobidzhan, bringing the total since the
Saratov elections to six for the administration, four for the opposition, and
one anti-incumbent victory for an independent. -- Robert Orttung
CIS PRIME MINISTERS MEET IN MOSCOW.
CIS heads of government discussed
economic, political, and military integration at an 18 October meeting, Russian
media reported. Before the session, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
told ITAR-TASS that "incomplete" economic reform in some CIS states was
hampering the process of economic integration. Nevertheless, Chernomyrdin
declared in an address to the session that a new model of "post-Soviet," or
"Eurasian" integration is now "an accomplished fact." Kommersant-Daily
on 19 October termed the establishment of a new CIS financial-industrial group,
"Granit," the meeting's most important decision. Officially slated to produce
equipment for the joint CIS air defense, the paper speculated that the firm
will engage in international arms sales, circumventing the scandal-plagued
Russian monopoly Rosvooruzhenie. -- Scott Parrish
U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY IN SEVERODVINSK.
William Perry visited
Severodvinsk (Arkhangelsk Oblast) on 18 October and witnessed the scrapping of
a Yankee-class nuclear missile submarine under the provisions of the START I
arms control agreement, Russian and Western agencies reported. Some 40
submarines have already been scrapped. Perry later expressed "optimism" that
Russia will ratify START II. Most Russian media, however, concluded that
Perry's visit and speech in the Duma had done little to bolster the treaty's
chances of ratification. Nezavismya Gazeta said some Duma deputies
regarded Perry's visit as a "complete flop," while Segodnya complained
that Perry had "demanded" ratification rather than merely "urging" it. -- Scott
MOST ARMY VOLUNTEERS ARE WOMEN.
Currently there are 230,000 contract
soldiers, making up 15% of the Russian army, and their number is unlikely to
rise above 30% before the year 2000, according to an article in Segodnya
on 17 October. A 30 November 1992 government decree stipulated that volunteers
should account for 10% of the army in 1993, rising to 50% by 2000. However,
more than half the volunteers are women, mostly military wives, and the authors
argue that "the army needs, first of all, men." Many volunteers quit before the
end of their term and many are fired for poor performance--26,000 in 1993,
33,000 in 1994, and 46,000 in 1995. Volunteers currently earn 400,000 to
800,000 rubles ($75-150) a month. On 16 May President Yeltsin issued a decree
calling for Russia to shift to an all-volunteer force: the plan was greeted
with skepticism by most military officials. -- Peter Rutland
GAS, ELECTRICITY PRICES FROZEN.
President Yeltsin signed a decree on 18
October freezing electricity and natural gas prices at their current level
until the end of the year, ITAR-TASS reported. On 8 October Prime Minister
Chernomyrdin had told the Federation Council that such a move was in
preparation. Radio Rossii also reported on 19 October that the decree instructs
the Federal Energy Commission to cut the price of electricity from 1 November.
The freeze is a response to the debt crisis facing many regional power
generation companies, and comes in the face of pressure from the IMF to
liberalize energy prices. -- Peter Rutland
UN DENIES ALLEGED SUPPORT FOR ABKHAZ ELECTIONS.
The Political Department
of the UN has issued a statement denying that Secretary-General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali's special envoy for Abkhazia, Edouard Brunner, expressed
"support" for the parliamentary elections to be held in Abkhazia on 23
November, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 October, quoting the Georgian Foreign
Ministry. Republic of Abkhazia Radio as monitored by the BBC quoted Brunner on
11 October as stating that "when a parliament has run its term ... it has to be
renewed" and implying that ethnic Georgian refugees from Abkhazia should be
permitted to participate in the vote. The Abkhaz Supreme Soviet in exile in
Tbilisi denounced Brunner's statement and demanded his replacement. -- Liz
LUKOIL DISCUSSES NEW CONTRACT WITH AZERBAIJAN.
The president and vice
president of LUKoil held talks in Baku on 19 October with Azerbaijan's state
oil company SOCAR and President Heidar Aliyev on the joint exploitation of the
Inam off-shore Caspian deposit, which has known reserves of 120-150 million
metric tons, Turan and ITAR-TASS reported. LUKoil wants a 50% share in the
project. Speaking at a press conference in Baku on 19 October, Aliyev mentioned
as additional spheres for cooperation with LUKoil the creation of a joint
insurance company and of a company for the overhaul of floating oil rigs. --
KAZAKSTAN, RUSSIA REACH AGREEMENT ON ENERGY.
Kazakstani Prime Minister
Akezhan Kazhegeldin signed seven bilateral agreements with his Russian
counterpart Viktor Chernomyrdin in Moscow on 18 October, ITAR-TASS reported.
The agreements cover a range of issues from rental of military complexes in
Kazakstan to the avoidance of double taxation. Also on 18 October, the
Kazakstani government approved a resolution allowing regional heads in six
northern regions to make their own deals for electricity supplies from Russia.
Supplies to these regions were cut off in August because of Kazakstan's unpaid
bills, amounting to over $400 million. In exchange for supplies of electricity,
the northern regions are sending grain to Russia. -- Bruce Pannier
PAKISTAN'S PRESIDENT VISITS UZBEKISTAN.
Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on 20
October concluded a three-day visit to Uzbekistan, where he met President Islam
Karimov and other government officials, ITAR-TASS reported. The two leaders
signed several agreements, ranging from anti-drug trafficking cooperation to
joint-venture trading. According to Uzbek TV on 18 October, bilateral trade is
restricted because of the blockage of transport routes across Afghanistan.
Trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan stood at $12.7 million for the first six
months of 1996, up from $11.6 million for all of 1995. -- Roger Kangas
UKRAINIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT JUSTICES SWORN IN.
official swearing in by parliament on 18 October, the newly appointed
Constitutional Court elected 57-year-old Ivan Tymchenko as chief justice,
Ukrainian agencies reported. Tymchenko, who hails from the Dnipropetrovsk
region, served as President Leonid Kuchma's top legal advisor until his
appointment to the court. The court's 16 members also elected Vasyl Nimchenko
and Vitalii Rozenko as deputy chief justices. Parliament has yet to appoint two
justices to the 18-member body. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT COMPROMISES OVER REFERENDUM DATE.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka made a concession toward the opposition on 19 October
when he agreed to hold his constitutional referendum on 24 November, the date
set by parliament, international agencies reported. The opposition welcomed the
move, but said it did not alter the political crisis. The Constitutional Court
had ruled that Lukashenka's referendum would not be legally binding if it were
not held on the date set by parliament. Also on 19 October, the All-Belarusian
Congress, whose members were chosen by Lukashenka, endorsed the president's
draft constitution and called on parliament to withdraw its version, which
abolishes the presidency, from the ballot. Meanwhile, some 30,000 people
demonstrated in an opposition-organized rally in Minsk against Lukashenka's
referendum. Despite the deployment of large numbers of security forces, the
unsanctioned rally ended peacefully. -- Ustina Markus
CHERNOMYRDIN: BELARUS MUST REFORM TO INTEGRATE.
Speaking at the fifth
meeting of the Russo-Belarusian Community's executive committee, Russian Prime
Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin urged Belarus to synchronize its reforms with
Russia's, particularly in the economic field, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 October.
Such a synchronization would require that Belarus adopt a civil code and a
unified tax code and speed up privatization, he said. Chernomyrdin said that
six months after Russia and Belarus formed the community, their intentions
"remain ink on paper." Although more than 150 experts had worked out the main
elements of reforming the community, he said, no positive results had yet been
achieved. -- Sergei Solodovnikov
EARLY RESULTS FROM ESTONIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Preliminary results from
the 2O October local elections show the Reform Party most successful in
Tallinn, with 17.8% of votes and 15 of the city council's 64 seats, ETA
reported on 21 October. The Center Party won 18.1% of the votes in Tallinn but
only 12 council seats, while the Tallinn coalition that includes the ruling
Coalition Party won 12 seats, the Russian Party in Estonia won 11, the Pro
Patria Union and Moderates coalition won 9, and the United Peoples of Estonia
won 5. About 52% of the 882,726 eligible voters nationwide participated in the
elections, in which 11,151 candidates were competing for 3,453 seats in 273
districts. Although the 70,970 noncitizens fulfilling the prior registration
requirement was less than in 1993 elections, their participation rate was still
higher than that of citizens. -- Saulius Girnius
CONSERVATIVES WIN LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
The Homeland Union
(Conservatives of Lithuania) soundly defeated the ruling Democratic Labor Party
in the 2O October Seimas elections, according to preliminary results reported
by Radio Lithuania. The conservatives, however, won only about a quarter of the
votes. Of the 22 other parties running, three -- the Christian Democratic
Party, the Center Union, and the Social Democratic Party -- appear likely to
pass the 5% barrier and share in the 70 seats distributed by party lists. Most
of the 71 single-mandate races will be settled in the second round of voting on
10 November. However, Homeland Union Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis won in the
Kaunas district. New elections will have to be called in five districts where
less than 40% of voters participated. Low turnout -- about 52% of eligible
voters -- doomed the four referenda on the ballot, which required the support
of a majority of eligible voters. -- Saulius Girnius
POLISH-FRENCH MILITARY COOPERATION.
Poland will be granted observer
status at the recently created French-German Armament Agency, Polish and French
defense ministers Stanislaw Dobrzanski and Charles Millon agreed in Warsaw.
Poland might cooperate under the agency's aegis in the construction of the VBCI
armored vehicle, Rzeczpospolita reported. Dobrzanski and Millon also
agreed to establish a team of experts to discuss cooperation in military
aviation and anti-aircraft defense, while Millon reiterated France's support
for Poland's membership in NATO, Polish dailies reported on 19 October.
According to Rzeczpospolita, a French-equipped "Mirage-2000" F-16, F-18,
or Grippen fighter will compete in a soon-to-be-announced Polish tender. --
CZECH PREMIER WELCOMES JAPANESE INTEREST IN BANK.
Vaclav Klaus on 19
October welcomed as "incredibly good news" reports that the Japanese Bank
Nomura, the largest investment bank in the world, is interested in purchasing a
31.5% stake in the fourth-largest Czech bank, Investicni a Postovni Banka,
Czech media reported. The shares are currently owned by the state; the purchase
would make Nomura the bank's largest shareholder. The next day, Klaus told
Czech TV he had changed his opinion that the largest Czech banks should be
privatized with Czech capital. Nomura's interest shows that foreign investors
are confident that the Czech banking sector is healthy, he added. In the next
few days, the Czech National Bank will present a document to the government
outlining plans for privatizing the country's four largest banks. -- Jiri
TROUBLED DIALOGUE BETWEEN CHURCH AND SLOVAK GOVERNMENT.
In his regular
interview with Slovak Radio on 18 October, Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
defended his government's policy toward the Roman Catholic Church in Slovakia,
accusing it of being politically activist. "The political attitudes of some
bishops ... are not leading toward consensus, but are more likely actions
leading against a political subject, [against] governmental or parliamentary
institutions," Meciar claimed. Meciar regretted that the church had "rejected"
all of his government's proposals, including its offer to establish a Catholic
university. Meciar has repeatedly requested that the bishops' conference
publish a recent private letter from the pope, but the bishops have refused to
do so. In other church-related news, during a recent ceremonial opening of a
"memorial room" for Jozef Tiso, Banska Bystrica Bishop Rudolf Balaz referred to
the Nazi-allied Slovak president as an "exceptional and great person," Slovak
press reported on 21 October. -- Anna Siskova
HUNGARIAN COALITION REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT.
Socialist and Free Democratic parties reaffirmed their support for the
government over the weekend, Hungarian media reported on 19-20 October. The
privatization scandal that earlier this month led to the dismissal of the
privatization, trade, and industry minister and the entire board of the state
privatization company had raised tensions within, and between, the coalition
parties. Following a 20 October meeting, Magda Kovacs Kosa, vice president of
the Socialist Party, said the long-term need for the coalition was not
questioned. Likewise, while the Free Democrats' National Council on 19 October
condemned the irresponsible use of public funds, party President Ivan Peto said
the coalition's existence was not at issue, nor would it be at the party's
November convention. -- Ben Slay
HUNGARIAN POLL SHOWS AMBIGUOUS ATTITUDES TOWARD 1956 UPRISING.
majority of 1,854 respondents in a recent Teledirect poll on the 1956 uprising
expressed no opinion on the events of 40 years ago, Magyar Hirlap
reported on 21 October. Of the 48% who gave an opinion, most had only a
superficial knowledge of the events and figures involved, the poll found. Only
10% said the anniversary of the uprising should be Hungary's most important
national holiday, while 55% selected 15 March (the anniversary of the failed
1848 revolution). According to 43% of respondents, the events of 1956 were a
revolution, while 16% described them as a fight for freedom and 10% each as a
popular uprising and as a counter-revolution. -- Ben Slay
BOSNIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS IN DANGER.
Republika Srpska President Biljana
Plavsic said on 18 October that the organizers of local elections scheduled for
23-24 November have attached too many conditions to the ballot and that the
Serbs may boycott, BBC reported. The real reason for the anger in Pale,
however, is most likely that the new election rules curtail opportunities to
manipulate voter registration to pack the election results in strategic towns
(see OMRI Daily Digest, 18 October 1996). Meanwhile, in tense northeast
Bosnia, IFOR troops discovered a booby-trap planted in a power station in the
formerly Muslim village of Koraj near Sapna, near the Bosnian interentity
border. The Serbs are suspected of trying to discourage further attempts by
Muslims to return to their homes in the region, Reuters reported on 20 October.
Plavsic called the Muslims' actions -- which are fully in keeping with the
Dayton agreement -- "terrorism along our borders," Onasa noted. -- Patrick
BOSNIAN SERB PARLIAMENT OPENS.
The National Assembly of the Republika
Srpska began its inaugural session in Banja Luka on 19 October, international
and regional media reported. The 83-member body includes 17 Muslims and one
Croat, as well as some Serbian opposition deputies, but 45 of the seats and the
legislature's key offices are controlled by the nationalist Serbian Democratic
Party (SDS). The non-Serbs stood for the Bosnian Serb anthem, but then briefly
walked out to protest an oath of allegiance that involved expressions of
loyalty to Orthodox Christianity, including kissing a Bible and a crucifix. One
SDS deputy charged that it was "pure folklore" to have non-Serbs present, but a
Serbian Socialist deputy reminded him that "this is not a one-party
parliament," AFP reported. Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic said
"this is the beginning of a new era of Serb statehood, [but] we are not
completely independent. Our sovereignty is limited, and we have to respect what
was signed." -- Patrick Moore
GREEK FOREIGN MINISTER IN ZAGREB, BELGRADE.
In Belgrade on 17 October,
Thedoros Pangalos repeated the Greek view that "the discrimination against the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is no longer justified" and urged that the
country be "completely reintegrated into international life," AFP and Reuters
reported. During his visit, the two sides agreed to liberalize their visa
regimes and slash visa fees, and to start direct talks aimed at promoting Greek
investment in federal Yugoslavia. The Greek foreign minister and his federal
Yugoslav counterpart Milan Milutinovic also signed a cooperation agreement
between their ministries and discussed regional developments and bilateral
cooperation. Pangalos also met with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic,
federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic, and Serb Patriarch Pavle. The next day in
Zagreb, Pangalos met with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and signed
agreements on protection and promotion of investments, preventing double
taxation, and road traffic with his Croatian counterpart Mate Granic. -- Stefan
SERBIAN JOURNALIST 'BEATEN BRUTALLY.'
The opposition Serbian Renewal
Movement (SPO), led by Vuk Draskovic, alleged on 18 October that Milovan Brkic,
a journalist and SPO candidate in Belgrade's civic elections, had been "beaten
brutally" by police authorities, Beta reported. According to an SPO statement,
Brkic had published reports in Srpska rec that the governing authorities
found objectionable, prompting them "to assault Brkic." According to the
statement, "[they] broke a couple of his ribs, ruptured his spleen, and
inflicted a variety of other injuries to his person." The SPO claimed that
police repression and violence "picks up" during elections, and that while
"this time Milovan Brkic was the victim, tomorrow it could be any Serbian
citizen who disagrees with the ruling powers." -- Stan Markotich
BULATOVIC INSISTS PREVLAKA BE HANDED TO MONTENEGRO.
"Even though Croatia
will still not admit it publicly, a legal, just, and final fixing [of borders]
with Montenegro includes Prevlaka's becoming part of the natural [Montenegrin]
hinterland, a result that is even in Croatia's own interests," Montenegrin
President Momir Bulatovic told an election rally in Herceg Novi for the ruling
Democratic Socialist Party (DPS) on 18 October, Nasa Borba reported. The
disputed Prevlaka peninsula belongs to Croatia but is claimed by Belgrade and
controls the federal Yugoslav navy's access to the sea. At the same rally,
Montenegrin parliamentary speaker Svetozar Marovic said a vote for the DPS on 3
November would be a ballot for a strong Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and "a
life together ... [with] the citizens of Serbia." -- Stan Markotich
INCUMBENT PRESIDENT, OPPOSITION PARTY LEAD IN ROMANIAN OPINION POLL.
Incumbent President Ion Iliescu continues to lead in voter preferences in the
upcoming presidential race while the opposition Democratic Convention of
Romania (CDR) is preferred in the parliamentary contest, according to the
second of three public opinion polls planned by the IMAS polling agency before
elections on 3 November. Iliescu was backed by 31.9%, followed by CDR candidate
Emil Constantinescu (27.2%) and Social Democratic Union (USD) candidate Petre
Roman (21.9%), Romanian media reported on 20-21 October. But the CDR scored
31.2% in voter preferences for parliament, followed by the ruling Party of
Social Democracy in Romania (28.5%) and the USD (19.7%). More than a quarter of
respondents (26.8%) were either undecided or did not intend to vote. In other
news, Evenimentul zilei asked the prosecutor's office to investigate a
report it had published that three minor presidential candidates -- former
Defense Minister Nicolae Militaru, the wonder-healer Constantin Mudava, and
Pensioners' Party candidate George Muntean -- submitted partly faked lists of
supporting signatures. -- Michael Shafir
ROMANIAN DEFENSE MINISTER ENDS NATO-COUNTRIES TOUR.
Minister Gheorghe Tinca ended a five-day tour of Norway, Germany, and Denmark
on 21 October, the latest stage of Romania's "NATO offensive" aimed at boosting
the country's chances of admission in the "first wave" of NATO enlargement.
Tinca delivered messages from President Ion Iliescu to the NATO-member
countries' chiefs of state and premiers, Romanian media reported. The official
governmental daily Vocea Romaniei cited presidential spokesman Traian
Chebeleu on 18 October saying reactions received from NATO countries so far are
"encouraging." -- Michael Shafir and Zsolt Mato
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT HOPES TO DISMISS GOVERNMENT AFTER ELECTIONS.
Incumbent President Mircea Snegur confirmed on 18 October that if re-elected he
will try to dismiss the government headed by rival candidate Andrei Sangheli,
Infotag reported. If parliament refuses to dismiss the government, Snegur said,
he will call a referendum on the question. According to a poll conducted by
Chisinau University's Sociology Department, Snegur is leading in voter
preferences with 41.8% support to parliament chairman Petru Lucinschi's 33.7%
and Sangheli's 10.6%. Also on 18 October, the Central Electoral Commission
finalized the list of nine candidates for the 17 November presidential
elections. Earlier, the Supreme Court had overruled the commission's refusal to
register Maricica Levitschi as a candidate. -- Michael Shafir
PARTY PRESS AGITATE FOR BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
before the 27 October presidential elections, propaganda is increasingly
substituted for information in the party media. In a 21 October commentary, the
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) daily Duma wrote: "What is good for the
[Union of Democratic Forces (SDS)] is bad for Bulgaria." Zemya, a daily
close to the BSP, contended that the BSP candidate, Culture Minister Ivan
Marazov, was supported by Bulgarian intellectuals, while the SDS daily
Demokratsiya claimed that thousands of intellectuals support the united
opposition's candidate, Petar Stoyanov, and accused Marazov of being unable to
find winning moves and of making obvious blunders. Meanwhile, in a Fact agency
survey published in Standart, every third respondent said Marazov cannot
completely substitute for the BSP's original candidate, Foreign Minister Georgi
Pirinski, who was banned from the race by the Constitutional Court because he
was not born a Bulgarian citizen. -- Maria Koinova
ALBANIAN DEMOCRATS CLAIM VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Sali Berisha claimed victory at a rally in front of Tirana's Democratic Party
headquarters after local elections on 20 October, AFP reported. Early estimates
gave the Democrats 55% of the overall vote. According to the Voice of America
the party won about 60% in the cities of Durres and Tirana. Final results are
not expected until 23 October. In the 1992 local elections the Socialist
opposition won in the countryside but lost in the cities. The turnout is
estimated at around 70%. Deutsche Welle's Albanian service reported that by
noon only 30%-40% of eligible voters had voted, which is low compared to
previous elections. Council of Europe (CE) observers said there had been no
reports of serious incidents or "dramatic occurrences," Reuters reported. The
CE coordinated 365 international observers. The OSCE withdrew from observing
the elections after Albanian authorities refused to accredit all its monitors.
-- Fabian Schmidt
BOTH SIDES CLAIM IRREGULARITIES IN ALBANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Democratic Party and opposition Socialists waged a war of faxes on 20 October,
denouncing each other for alleged irregularities in the local elections,
especially in rural areas and smaller towns, Reuters reported. According to the
Democrats, their leader in one northern district, Ferik Veliu, was stabbed by a
supporter of the Socialists, Pal Ndreka. Elsewhere, the Socialists claimed
police had forced their way into voting booths and tampered with ballot boxes
in two or three polling stations, while the Democrats accused Socialist
supporters of intimidating voters. According to ATSH the Socialists claimed
fraud in Fier and Lezha, where they said election material was strictly
controlled by the chairmen of the election commission, who were Democrats. The
Democratic Alliance also protested that Democratic Party election commission
members elsewhere refused to cooperate with the opposition. -- Dukagjin