YELTSIN OPERATION SAID TO END SUCCESSFULLY.
President Boris Yeltsin's
cardiac bypass operation ended successfully seven hours after it began at 7
a.m. Moscow time on 5 November, Russian and Western agencies reported. After
the operation, Yeltsin was moved to the intensive care section of the Moscow
Cardiological Center. Citing a source at the hospital, AFP reported that
American and German doctors, including Michael DeBakey, monitored the operation
on closed-circuit television but did not enter the operating room. Before going
under anesthetic, Yeltsin signed a decree transferring all presidential powers
to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. He is expected to sign another decree
taking some powers back soon after he regains consciousness. Doctors have
estimated that he will need at least two months to recover from the operation.
Should Yeltsin die from complications surrounding the surgery, a new
presidential election must be called within three months. In the meantime,
Chernomyrdin would perform all presidential duties. -- Laura Belin
IZVESTIYA: CHUBAIS TO MONITOR FORCE MINISTRIES.
November decree creating a Presidential State Military Inspectorate will permit
presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais to supervise the power ministries,
Izvestiya reported on 5 November. The decree charged the inspectorate
with ensuring the implementation of the president's constitutional powers in
the areas of defense and security, and established it as an independent
department of the presidential administration. The paper said that although the
100-member inspectorate will be directly subordinate to Yeltsin, day-to-day
"operational matters" not requiring Yeltsin's attention will be decided by
Chubais. The inspectorate will monitor not only the defense ministry, but also
the 24 other federal agencies with uniformed servicemen, the paper added. --
SECURITY COUNCIL DISCUSSES CHECHNYA.
Chernomyrdin chaired a session of
the Security Council on 4 November at which council chairman Ivan Rybkin and
his deputy Boris Berezovskii reported on their recent talks with the Chechen
separatist leadership, Russian media reported. Chernomyrdin endorsed the
Chechen leadership's plans to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on
27 January 1997, on condition that the 300,000 people who fled Chechnya to
avoid the fighting are permitted to vote, and that full security can be
guaranteed. But he did not stipulate, as Rybkin did, that the elections should
be contingent on complete demilitarization. Chernomyrdin also said "it is
clear" that Chechnya should receive special economic status, but noted that "a
special approach" is needed to formulate this status as an entire republic of
the Russian Federation is involved. -- Liz Fuller
CHECHNYA PRISONER EXCHANGE GOING SLOWLY.
So far, federal authorities
have released 35 militants and Chechens have released 100 civilians and 51
soldiers, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 November. The Russian government says the
Chechens are holding 1,600 prisoners, while the Chechens are seeking the
release of 1,350 persons from Russia. Under the Khasavyurt accords signed on 31
August, prisoners were supposed to be promptly exchanged on an "all for all"
basis. Sergei Popov, head of a group dealing with the prisoner exchange,
expressed frustration at the slow progress. He also stated that the Chechens
are not asking for the release of convicted criminals, only those detained
under suspicion of fighting in the separatist forces. -- Peter Rutland
MOSCOW, GROZNY MAYORS MEET.
Grozny Mayor Lechi Dudaev (Dzhokhar Dudaev's
nephew) traveled to Moscow on 4 November to meet Mayor Yurii Luzhkov, ITAR-TASS
reported. Luzhkov offered to build one million square meters of housing in
Grozny in return for oil shipments from Chechnya. He also agreed to provide
schools in Grozny with textbooks and to accommodate children from the region in
summer camps near Moscow. Luzhkov has been an ardent advocate of Chechnya
remaining within the Russian Federation. -- Natalia Gurushina
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION TO FOCUS ON PROBLEMS ABROAD...
Commission for Human Rights met on 4 November and expressed concern about
violations of the rights of ethnic Russians living abroad, ITAR-TASS reported,
citing commission chairman Vladimir Kartashkin. He advocated forming a joint
CIS human rights court to hear complaints brought by individuals living in CIS
countries, as well as an interstate human rights commission of all CIS
countries plus the Baltic states. The commission is a consultative body with no
power to enact policy. He also suggested forming a special joint rapid reaction
force to undertake hostage rescues and similar missions. -- Laura Belin
...WHILE WATCHDOG GROUPS CONCERNED ABOUT PROBLEMS AT HOME.
Representatives from several human rights watchdog groups resolved at a 2
November Moscow meeting to focus their efforts on helping human rights
defenders in Russia's regions, ITAR-TASS and Russian TV (RTR) reported, citing
Moscow Helsinki Group leader Lyudmila Alekseeva. They claimed that the farther
a region is located from Moscow, the worse the human rights situation is.
Alekseeva argued that the most widespread violation of human rights in Russia
is the delayed payment of wages and pensions. Such delays "violate fundamental
human rights: the right to life, to health, and a normal family," she added. --
CONTROVERSY OVER BEREZOVSKII CITIZENSHIP.
Controversy has flared over
reports that Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovskii is a citizen
of Israel as well as of Russia. While not explicitly denying that he has dual
citizenship, Berezovskii has said articles published in Izvestiya and
Komsomolskaya pravda on 1 November questioning his citizenship were
anti-Semitic. Appearing on NTV on 3 November, he threatened to sue the
newspapers, saying, "I am a citizen of Russia, and for my entire life, all my
actions have been connected only with Russia." On 5 November, both
Izvestiya and Komsomolskaya pravda held their ground. Citing the
Israeli newspaper Ha'Aretz, Komsomolskaya pravda reported that a
Boris Abramovich Berezovskii obtained Israeli citizenship in 1993. The papers
argued that while Berezovskii's ethnicity was of no concern, it was
inappropriate for a person with dual citizenship--with any country--to hold a
high office involving state security. -- Laura Belin
RUSSIA PROTESTS FORMER INTELLIGENCE AGENT'S ARREST IN U.S.
Intelligence Service (SVR) spokeswoman Tatyana Samolis denounced the 24 October
arrest of former agent Vladimir Galkin in New York as an "uncivilized"
violation of accepted intelligence practice, Russian and Western agencies
reported. Galkin, accompanying a Russian Interior Ministry delegation, was
taken into FBI custody upon arrival at Kennedy International Airport, and will
be indicted on charges of attempting to purchase classified information related
to the "Star Wars" missile defense program in Cyprus in 1990 and 1991.
According to Samolis, Galkin freely admitted on his U.S. visa application that
he worked for the SVR until 1992, and she termed his arrest a "dirty trick,"
which broke informal norms on the treatment of retired agents. She threatened
that Russia might retaliate against retired American operatives. -- Scott
PRIMAKOV LAUDS NEUTRALITY.
At a joint Moscow press conference with his
Austrian counterpart Wolfgang Schuessel, Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov
declared that neutral countries play a positive role in maintaining
international stability, Russian agencies reported. Reiterating Moscow's
opposition to NATO enlargement, he praised the position of Austrian politicians
who do not want Austria to join the alliance. -- Scott Parrish
RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA SIGN DEFENSE COOPERATION AGREEMENT.
Igor Rodionov and his South Korean counterpart Kim Dong-Jin signed a bilateral
defense cooperation agreement in Moscow on 4 November, Russian and Western
agencies reported. It calls for military exchanges, naval port visits, and the
training of South Korean personnel in Russia. Rodionov hailed the development
of bilateral military cooperation over the last five years, while Kim said
Korean experts are closely studying sample SU-37, SU-35, and SU-30 fighters.
Moscow hopes South Korea, which usually buys its weapons from the U.S., will
purchase some 120 of the planes. The South Korean military already has some
Russian armored vehicles which it recently received under a debt-for-weapons
barter deal. -- Scott Parrish
MUSLIMS OPPOSE CHANGING REPUBLICAN LAWS.
deputy chairman of the Muslim movement Nur, told OMRI on 4 November that the
movement opposes the federal government's intention to force republics to make
their legislation conform to federal law. He said that republican authorities
know better how to express local traditions in legislation, while federal laws,
including the Constitution, fail to reflect those traditions. Last week,
presidential Chief of Staff Anatolii Chubais called for regional and republican
laws to be amended to make them comply with the federal legislation (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 30 October 1996). The Central Electoral Commission has
said that electoral laws of 27 regions violate federal statues. In addition,
mass media laws of the republics of Bashkortostan and Kalmykiya contradict the
federal Constitution and violate individuals' right to information, head of
Glasnost Defense Foundation Aleksei Simonov told OMRI last week. -- Anna
Paretskaya in Moscow
PRIMORE ENERGY CRISIS CONTINUES.
The head of the Primorskii Krai power
company (Dalenergo), Vasilii Poleshchuk, told ITAR-TASS on 5 November that none
of the commitments made in an agreement signed last month by Deputy Prime
Minister Aleksei Bolshakov were realized (see OMRI Daily Digest 7
October 1996). The use of middlemen companies to resell coal has not been
eliminated, and local consumers still owe the company 286 billion rubles.
Primore mine officials complain that they have shipped 120 billion rubles ($22
million) worth of coal to Dalenergo in the last two months, but have only been
paid 9 billion rubles. The Bolshakov protocol promised to pay 27 billion rubles
a month each to Dalenergo and the coal company, but they have received only 14
and 5.8 billion respectively, ITAR-TASS reported on 4 November. Wage arrears to
the region's coal miners total 160 billion rubles. -- Peter Rutland
SVERDLOVSK OBLAST TO INTRODUCE LOCAL CURRENCY.
Governor of the
Sverdlovsk Oblast Eduard Rossel has announced that the region will introduce
its own currency, which has already been dubbed the "Ural Franc," ITAR-TASS
reported on 4 November. Rossel said that the currency, which will be accepted
only locally, should ease problems associated with tight money supply. He also
noted that the introduction of the "Ural Franc" was already planned when the
oblast attempted to get the status of Ural republic in 1993, adding that the
proposal has now been agreed with First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Potanin.
-- Ritsuko Sasaki
ARMENIAN PRIME MINISTER RESIGNS.
Hrant Bagratyan announced his
resignation on 4 November, Western media reported the same day. He was replaced
by Armen Sarkisyan, Armenia's Ambassador to Britain. Bagratyan declined to give
any reason for his decision. The move follows recent statements by several
leaders of the ruling Armenian Pan-National Movement blaming Bagratyan for the
poorer than expected showing of President Levon Ter-Petrossyan in the
controversial 22 September elections. During his first post-election speech,
Ter-Petrossyan promised a "serious reshuffle" in the government. A staunch
supporter of market reforms and tough monetary policy, 38-year old Bagratyan
headed the government since February 1993 and is credited by the West for
Armenia's good macroeconomic indicators. Speaking at his last news conference,
he called for a dialogue between the authorities and the opposition. -- Emil
GEORGIAN-ABKHAZ ELECTION ROW CONTINUES.
In his regular Monday radio
address, Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze called on Russia's leaders to
state more clearly their country's official position towards the parliamentary
elections scheduled for 23 November in Georgia's breakaway Black Sea region of
Abkhazia, ITAR-TASS and Radio Mayak reported. Shevardnadze argued that this
would dispel suspicions in Georgia that certain unnamed forces in Russia
support the separatist regime in Sukhumi. The Georgian parliament has denounced
the planned elections as illegal; the UN has called for their postponement
pending the repatriation to Abkhazia of some 200,000 ethnic Georgian refugees
who fled the fighting in 1992-3. On 2-3 November, Georgian terrorist groups
attacked Russian peacekeeping forces on the border between Abkhazia and the
rest of Georgia and launched an artillery attack on the town of Gali, Ekho
Moskvy reported, citing Abkhaz government statements. -- Liz Fuller
TWO STRATEGIC TAJIK VILLAGES FALL TO OPPOSITION.
Fighters of the Tajik
opposition have seized two more villages along the road to Khorog, Russian and
Western sources reported. They attacked Sagirdasht and Kalai-Hussein on 1
November, capturing both by 3 November. The villages lie along the only highway
leading to the Eastern city of Khorog. More importantly, these are the last two
villages of any size on the way south to Afghanistan. Russian and Kazakstani
border guards at the Kalai-Khumb posts are now sandwiched between Tajik
opposition forces based opposite their positions in Afghanistan and behind them
in the Tavil-Dara region. The Tajik Ministry of Defense is moving about 3,000
soldiers into position to launch a counter-offensive. -- Bruce Pannier
FRENCH COMPANY TO BUILD TURKMEN CONVENTION CENTER.
construction company Bouygues has been awarded the contract to build a
convention center in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, according to a 4 November
AFP report. This latest contract is worth about $98 million but Bouygues is
already building the presidential palace at a cost of about $80 million and a
national park complex for an undisclosed figure. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINE SLAPS HEAVY DUTIES ON FOOD IMPORTS.
Ukrainian Prime Minister
Pavlo Lazarenko announced that his government will raise duties on food imports
by as much as 50% over the next few months, Ukrainian and Western agencies
reported on 2 November. The move is aimed at protecting domestic food
producers. Kyiv has already upped duties on potato imports and will soon do
likewise on meat and dairy products. Overall, duties should go up on more than
600 goods. The government also revealed that monthly inflation in October was
1.5%. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
BELARUSIAN COURT RULES ON REFERENDUM.
The Constitutional Court ruled
that the president's and parliament's draft constitutions may be put to a
popular referendum, but the results would not be legally binding, international
agencies reported on 4 November. Constitutional amendments put to a referendum
are legally binding, but the court ruled the two competing drafts were
effectively new constitutions. Chief Justice Valeryi Tsikhinya said the
referendum results would have only an "advisory character," and could not be
used as a basis for changing the constitution. The court ruled eight to three
that parliament would decide what actions to take after the referendum.
Parliament was also instructed to either rework the questions or pass a new
referendum resolution. -- Ustina Markus
PRESIDENT, SUPPORTERS BLAST BELARUSIAN COURT RULING.
Head of the
judicial department, Alyaksandr Plaskovitski, said that the Constitutional
Court "had no right to decide on the issue," Reuters & ORT reported on 5
November. The ruling "does not correspond to the current constitution," he
said, warning that if the president decides the verdict contradicts the
constitution, he might ignore it. The president's press-service has accused the
court of "crudely violating the referendum law," adding, "the Constitutional
Court has denied the people their right to make a decision." Justice Minister
Valentin Tsukalo said that the court has disrupted the referendum, and that the
country's situation from a legal point of view is becoming uncontrollable.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that the court has been used while a
terrifying struggle in going on in the country. He also said he will ignore the
ruling. -- Sergei Solodovnikov
THREE LATVIAN STATE MINISTERS TO RESIGN.
Ziedonis Cevers, chairman of
the Democratic Party Saimnieks (DPS), announced on 4 November that the party's
three state ministers: Ernests Jurkans, Juris Dzenis, and Sarmite Jegere would
resign the next day, BNS reported. On October 31, Prime Minister Andris Skele
presented a government optimization plan calling for the elimination of all but
two of the 11 state minister posts by the beginning of 1998. The DPS board,
however, called that incomplete and will propose cutting all state ministers
and creating a work group to reduce the number of state officials by 10-30%.
Cevers said the savings generated from that move should be redirected to
educational and social institutions and local governments. -- Saulius Girnius
LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT TO DECIDE ON SEA BORDER WITH LATVIA.
leader Gediminas Vagnorius announced on 4 November that his party will not
support the law proposed by President Algirdas Brazauskas on 25 October (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 29 October 1996) unilaterally establishing
Lithuania's northern sea border since it does not conform to international
norms, BNS reported. The Conservatives want parliament to adopt a decision on
further negotiations with Latvia that would explicitly state Lithuania's
position on the border question. The Seimas will approve one of the two
alternatives today. -- Saulius Girnius
PORNOGRAPHY BOYCOTT IN POLAND.
A group of citizens who in July began a
boycott of vendors distributing pornography in Bialystok announced it would
expand its actions, Polish dailies reported on 5 November. The move is in
response to the prosecutor's decision not to investigate a distribution of
allegedly pornographic magazines by the state-owned company Ruch and by
newspaper stands. The prosecutor said none of the seven alleged pornography
magazines "includes so-called hard pornography," and that pornography is
showing sexual acts "contradictory with commonly-accepted sexual behavior,"
listing homosexuality, sodomy, pedophilia, and necrophilia. Volunteers in other
Polish cities are boycotting newspaper vendors, passing out leaflets, and suing
pornography salesmen and publishers. -- Beata Pasek
PUBLIC APPROVAL HIGH FOR POLISH PRESIDENT, PREMIER.
Half of the
population approves of the way President Aleksander Kwasniewski is fulfilling
his duties and 42% approve of Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz as prime minister,
Rzeczpospolita reported on 5 November. The poll, conducted in October by
the Social Research Bureau listed a 31% disapproval rating for Kwasniewski and
33% for Cimoszewicz. Both politicians are particularly popular among supporters
of the co-ruling Democratic Left Alliance: 91% for Kwasniewski and 80% for
Cimoszewicz. Among the supporters of the co-ruling Polish Peasant Party, 66%
approves of Kwasniewski and 59% approves of Cimoszewicz. -- Jakub Karpinski
OPINIONS ON CZECH SENATE ELECTIONS.
According to a poll published 5
November in the Czech Media, candidates of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic
Democratic Party (ODS) and the opposition Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD)
will face each other in most of the 81 electoral districts in the second round
of the elections. The first round will take place on 15 and 16 November, the
second one week later. The poll, conducted by the Factum agency, indicates no
candidate is likely to win over 50% of the vote in the first round and thus
gain a seat in the senate without having to face a run-off. Out of some 580
candidates who compete in the Senate elections, 79 candidates from the ODS, 73
from CSSD, 19 from Christian Democratic Union, 16 from Civic Democratic
Alliance, 10 from the Communist Party, 1 from the Moravian-Silesian Coalition,
and seven independent candidates appear to have reasonable chances of making it
into the second round. It is almost certain that ODS and CSSD candidates will
face each other in the second round in 35 districts and are likely to do so in
another 37 districts. -- Jiri Pehe
SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY, AUSTRIA DEEPEN TIES.
Austrian Chancellor Franz
Vranitzky and Slovak and Hungarian Prime Ministers Vladimir Meciar and Gyula
Horn met on 4 November in the Slovak spa town of Piestany to discuss regional
cooperation, and foreign and security policies, Slovak and international media
reported. Meciar and Horn met separately to discuss bilateral treaty
implementation and the Gabcikovo dam controversy,
agreeing on the
possibility of an out-of-court settlement. The case is scheduled for review
next year by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. Meanwhile, Meciar
promised Vranitzky that reactors at the aging Jaslovske Bohunice nuclear power
plant will be decommissioned one year after the first two reactors at Mochovce
are completed. He said a decision has yet to be made on whether to complete
Mochovce's third and fourth reactors. -- Sharon Fisher
MINISTRY REPROVES SLOVAK AMBASSADOR'S PRIVATE VATICAN TRIP.
Foreign Ministry "did not recommend" that Ambassador to the Vatican Anton
Neuwirth take part in a private pilgrimage to Rome, Radio Twist reported on 4
November. Neuwirth was recalled from his post on 19 April by former Foreign
Minister Juraj Schenk for consultations concerning an internal affair of the
ministry. He has since remained in Slovakia, despite the Vatican's importance
to the mostly Catholic Slovakia. Both former and current foreign ministers
failed to react to interpolations by parliamentary deputies on the matter. --
NEW POTENTIAL PRIVATIZATION SCANDAL IN HUNGARY.
Mihaly Varga of the
opposition Young Democrats on 4 November presented to the parliament details of
newly discovered political links to privatization, Hungarian media reported.
Varga asked why a consortium--with connections to the ruling Socialist
Party--was allowed to purchase the Diosgyori Gepgyar machine factory in
February for only one-sixth of the 600 million forint ($3.7 million) price.
Finance Ministry State Secretary Laszlo Akar said the ministry will examine the
transaction. The Socialists' parliamentary caucus chairman Imre Szekeres
proposed that a committee be established to oversee privatization. Zsolt
Harsanyi, head of the Digep Holding consortium that purchased Diosgyori
Gepgyar, said the 100 million forints was just the first installment, adding
that Digep has five years to pay the remainder. Meanwhile, the executive
presidential board of the Socialists' parliamentary caucus announced that it
will make its assets public on 30 November and urged party deputies to follow.
-- Sharon Fisher
UN POLICE PROTEST FALSE BOSNIAN CROAT REPORT.
The Bosnian Croat Habena
news agency reported on 2 November that five Croat returnees were killed and
seven injured as the result of an incident taking place a day earlier in a part
of Serb-controlled northwestern Bosnia. According to Habena--which reported
that its information came from the International Police Task Force's (IPTF)
local information office--Bosnian Serbs opened fire on 47 displaced Croats
returning to their former villages in an attempt to visit the graves of their
relatives, while the IPTF fired back at Bosnian Serbs. After checking local UN
office reports, IPTF spokesman Patrick Svensson said on 4 November that the
story was totally invented by Habena, AFP and Oslobodjenje reported.
IPTF has protested the report, raising tensions, and asked Habena to make a
public apology. Svensson said that Habena sent a letter of apology to the
command of the IFOR division North, Oslobodjenje reported. -- Daria Sito
BOSNIAN SERBS TO FIRE ACCUSED WAR CRIMINALS FROM POLICE FORCE.
Srpska President Biljana Plavsic told U.S. human rights envoy John Shattuck
that the four indicted war criminals recently identified as serving with the
Bosnian Serb police will be dismissed (see Pursuing Balkan Peace, 5
November 1996). She refused, however, to turn the men over to the Hague-based
war crimes tribunal. In response, Shattuck threatened "negative political and
economic consequences," Oslobodjenje reported on 5 November. A major
scandal emerged when the accused war criminals were discovered on the police
force, because it appears that UN police, Carl Bildt's office, and IFOR knew
they were there but did and said nothing until The Boston Globe broke
the story last week. -- Patrick Moore
FEDERAL YUGOSLAVIA ELECTIONS UPDATE.
With over half the votes counted in
federal Yugoslav elections, parties loyal to Serbian President Slobodan
Milosevic hold a convincing lead. Beta reported that 48.15% of votes tallied
went to Milosevic's coalition, 23.94% to the opposition Zajedno or Together
coalition, and 18.47% to the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party. In terms
of representational breakdown for the 138-member legislature, Reuters reported
that Milosevic's coalition so far is guaranteed 50 seats, while Zajedno has 21
and the SRS 13. Meanwhile, Montena-fax reported that in Montenegrin republican
elections, the ruling Democratic Socialist Party has, with nearly all ballots
counted, an absolute majority of 45 of 71 seats. Only in local voting did the
opposition manage inroads, and in Belgrade the Democratic Party leader, and
mayoral candidate Zoran Djindjic nearly won a majority, but will compete in the
17 November run-off. -- Stan Markotich
WIESENTHAL PROTESTS PUBLICATION OF ANTI-SEMITIC BOOK IN CROATIA.
Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal has protested publication in Croatia of the
"Protocol of the Elders of Zion," first published by anti-Semites in 1903
purporting to prove that Jews want to dominate the world, AFP reported on 4
November. Wiesenthal sent a letter to the Croatian embassy in Vienna protesting
that the Croatian government had agreed to the publishing and sale of an
"extremely anti-Semitic" book in a country where some 20,000 Jews were killed
during World War II, and some 1,000 of those who remained in Croatia were
"defenseless" before it. In other news, thirteen veteran officers who served
with Croatian forces allied with Nazi Germany during World War II were awarded
equivalent ranks in the country's present-day army, Reuters reported that same
day. The move was intended to rehabilitate the men, but it is unknown whether
they were members of the Domobrani, the then-regular Croatian conscript army,
or the Ustasha militia, responsible for war-time atrocities against Jews and
Serbs. -- Daria Sito Sucic
SLOVENIA'S LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PULL AHEAD OF THE PACK.
The latest public
opinion polling in advance of Slovenia's 10 November general elections has the
largest parliamentary party, Premier Janez Drnovsek's Liberal Democratic Party
(LDS), gaining in public support, Reuters reported on 4 November. According to
a Delo poll, backing for the LDS has risen to 15.3% of decided voters,
up from 11.6% recorded about a week ago. But according to the daily
Dnevnik, decided voters' support for the LDS has jumped from 15.3% to
21.8%. Trailing in second place is the rightist Slovenian People's Party, which
according to several polls, is hovering around the 9% mark of decided voters'
support. In 1992 general elections, the LDS took about a third of the votes,
and won 30 of 90 legislative seats. -- Stan Markotich
PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN ROMANIAN ELECTIONS.
Data released on 5 November
confirm the opposition's victory in the 3 November parliamentary elections,
Romanian media reported. They also show incumbent President Ion Iliescu
slightly ahead of his main rival, Emil Constantinescu from the Democratic
Convention of Romania (CDR). With 95% of the votes counted, the CDR leads by
30.19% for the Senate and 29.61% for the Chamber of Deputies. Trailing the CDR
are the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania with 23.26% and 21.73%; the
Social Democratic Union with 13.17% and 12.97%; and the Hungarian Democratic
Federation of Romania, with 7.01% and 6.84%, respectively. The extremist
Greater Romania Party and the Party of Romanian National Unity also passed the
3% electoral hurdle. In the presidential race, Iliescu leads by 32.45%,
followed by Constantinescu with 27.70% and Petre Roman with 20.61%. -- Dan
Ionescu and Zsolt Mato
POST-ELECTORAL BARGAINING BEGINS IN ROMANIA.
With final results in the 3
November general and presidential elections still pending, post-electoral
bargaining has already begun in Romania, Reuters reported. Although the
Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) appears to rank first in parliament's
two chambers, it has clearly failed to gain a majority. This makes future
coalitions and alliances unavoidable. Petre Roman and his Social Democratic
Union (USD) are generally seen as the key factor in any attempt to form a
viable government. The CDR, however, expects Roman to back Emil Constantinescu
in the run-off for presidency as the price for allowing the USD into
government. CDR's options are limited as it has rejected any cooperation with
Iliescu's Party of Social Democracy in Romania. The CDR might also rely on the
Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania, which already showed its interest
in participating in a future government. -- Zsolt Mato
MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT ATTACKS RIVALS BEFORE ELECTIONS.
Mircea Snegur on 4
November launched a sharp verbal attack against Premier Andrei Sangheli and
Parliament Chairman Petru Lucinschi, his two main rivals in the 17 November
presidential election, ITAR-TASS reported the same day. Snegur was quoted as
saying that, if he was re-elected president, he would dismiss the current
government and dissolve the parliament. He further threatened to ask for a
referendum to be conducted in case the parliament opposed his decision to
change the government, dominated by the ruling Agrarian Democratic Party of
Moldova. Snegur ruled out any reconciliation with either Sangheli or Lucinschi.
-- Dan Ionescu
LEADING BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS DEMAND PREMIER'S RESIGNATION.
leading socialists on 4 November demanded Premier Zhan Videnov's resignation.
The 19 have criticized the government for the past six months, primarily over
the catastrophic state of the economy, and made their resignation call in an
official letter to the High Council of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
Duma, citing the letter, remarked the BSP now has one last chance to
initiate changes which could enable it to hold onto its parliamentary mandate
until 1998. But the Socialists demanding Videnov's resignation failed to offer
an alternative to Videnov's leadership, and this could lead to a further
"cementing" of his behavior, Trud commented. Videnov has already decided
to call an extraordinary party congress in January 1997, banking that the
interval will not allow any challengers enough time to engineer his ouster. --
WILD SPECULATIONS SURROUND IMF MISSION TO BULGARIA.
The IMF is
apparently encouraging Bulgaria to consider adopting a currency board (as
employed in Estonia and Lithuania), which would fix the exchange rate and only
allow changes in the money supply in response to flows of foreign currency.
Trud reported that the fund insists on tough anti-corruption measures
and that the government is preparing to arrest the bosses of a number of
business groupings and the heads of six or seven large banks. Standard reported
that the IMF wants to appoint Bulgaria's "chief accountant" and the head of the
national bank's bank supervision department. It asserts that the standby
agreement approved in July had fallen apart by August and that the country can
now count only on short-term financing for emergencies. No matter which
government rules the country, wrote Kontinent, the IMF will determine
not just policy directions but the details as well. -- Michael Wyzan
ALBANIAN SOCIAL-DEMOCRATS DEMAND NEW ELECTIONS.
Social Democratic Party
leader Skender Gjinushi said that 20 October's local elections were not fair,
because the ruling Democratic Party could spend much more on the electoral
campaign than the opposition, Koha Jone reported on 5 November. He also
said that most foreign observers did not participate in the vote-counting
process, and claimed that major irregularities occurred. Meanwhile, the Supreme
Court rejected a suit by the Socialist Party, which claimed the elections were
fraudulent. -- Fabian Schmidt