Accessibility links

Newsline - November 11, 1996


EXPLOSION AT CEMETERY KILLS 13 . . .
Thirteen people were killed and several more seriously injured in an explosion during a memorial service at the Kotlyakovskoe cemetery in Moscow on 10 November, Russian TV (RTR) reported. The service was in honor of Mikhail Likhodei, head of the Fund for Invalids of the Afghan War, who was murdered exactly two years earlier. The victims of the bomb attack included the current head of the fund, Sergei Trakhirov. Valerii Radchikov, head of a rival group of Afghan veterans within the fund, survived an assassination attempt last year. The blast at the cemetery and the attacks on Likhodei and Radchikov are thought to have been linked to lucrative tax exemptions the fund was granted in 1994 on the import and export of alcohol and tobacco, with an estimated value of $800 million, which attracted the interest of criminal groups. The fund split into two rival groups in 1993, one headed by Radchikov and the other by Likhodei. -- Penny Morvant in Moscow

. . . CHERNOMYRDIN, KULIKOV RESPOND.
In a national televised address following the explosion, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin called on the Interior Ministry to take immediate steps to respond to the challenge thrown down by the bombers. Interior Minister Anatolii Kulikov, in turn, said everything would be done to find and punish the "scum" behind the explosion. The blast cast a shadow over the "day of the police," celebrated on 10 November, and Chernomyrdin canceled a concert to be broadcast on Russian TV (RTR) and Russian Public TV (ORT) marking the holiday. Speaking at a memorial service earlier in the day, Kulikov said that 430 police officers and 561 members of the Interior Ministry's Internal Troops have been killed while performing their duties this year. That figure presumably excludes casualties in Chechnya. Last year, about 350 police officers were killed, according to Moskovskii komsomolets. -- Penny Morvant in Moscow

YELTSIN'S SURGEON REVEALS RISK WAS 50/50.
The surgeon Renat Akchurin, who performed the 5 November bypass operation on President Boris Yeltsin, told ORT on 9 November said that the patient's physical condition in July was so poor that there was a 50/50 chance that he would not survive surgery. This bleak prognosis was not revealed at the time. Yeltsin's condition subsequently improved, and by the time of the operation Yeltsin's doctors were saying that the procedure had a greater than 90% chance of success. Akchurin's comments continue a well-established tradition whereby official statements downplay the seriousness of Yeltsin's health problems, only admitting them after a crisis has passed. -- Laura Belin

ZAVGAEV MAY RUN FOR CHECHEN PRESIDENCY.
Pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev told Interfax on 8 November that he may run as a candidate in the republic's presidential election scheduled for 27 January but that unless Chechnya is demilitarized before that date there is no chance of holding a free and democratic election, Radio Rossii reported. Zavgaev also told Ekho Moskvy that a council has been created to implement the peace agreements signed in August-September, the legality of which he does not dispute, according to RTR. Addressing several thousand participants of a meeting in Grozny on 9 November to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Dzhokhar Dudaev's election as Chechen president, his successor Zelimkhan Yandarbiev criticized the heads of Muslim states for their "lack of solidarity" with Chechnya. -- Liz Fuller

SUNDAY TIMES: NUCLEAR MATERIAL MISSING IN CHECHNYA.
Citing leaked Russian government documents, The Sunday Times reported on 10 November that radioactive material stored at a facility in Chechnya, including Cesium-137 and Strontium-90, as well as weapons-grade Plutonium-239 and Uranium-235, had disappeared. The paper said that half of the 900 cubic meters of materials with radioactivity levels of 1, 500 Curies once stored at the Radon factory in Tolstoi-Yurt is now missing, but did not specify how much was weapons-grade. It added that a Russian government commission has concluded that at least 21 sites storing radioactive materials were unguarded during the Chechen conflict, and some are now contaminated. Last November, Chechen rebel commander Shamil Basaev buried a container with Cesium-137 in a Moscow park (see OMRI Daily Digest, 27 November 1995). -- Scott Parrish

BANDITRY IN NORTH CAUCASUS.
An attempted car-hijacking by armed Ingush near the village of Chermen on 9 November led to a battle with guns and grenades in which four people died, ITAR-TASS reported. The attack took place in the disputed Prigorodnyi Raion of North Osetiya. Also on 9 November, a group Chechens crossed the border into Dagestan and hijacked two cars near Khasavyurt. Dagestani police pursued and caught the robbers, killing one in the process. The civil defense minister in the Ingush Republic, Yurii Gorev, was shot dead outside his home, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 November. -- Peter Rutland

ACTING GOVERNOR OF TYUMEN KILLS HIMSELF.
Sergei Martynushkin, the 39-year-old first deputy governor of Tyumen Oblast in western Siberia, reportedly killed himself in his office with a pistol late on 7 November, ITAR-TASS and ORT reported the next day. The economist and lawyer, a father of three, was serving as acting head of the Tyumen administration while Governor Leonid Roketskii was on a work trip abroad. No reasons have yet been suggested for the suicide. Tyumen is home to 90% of Russia's oil and gas deposits, and is thus the focus of intense political and business rivalry. -- Peter Rutland

INCUMBENT GOVERNOR DEFEATED IN KALUGA.
Valerii Sudarenkov, chairman of the Kaluga Oblast Legislative Assembly, defeated incumbent Governor Oleg Savchenko in a 63%-31% landslide with 41% turnout in the oblast's 9 November runoff election, Kommersant-Daily reported. Yeltsin appointed Savchenko to his position in March. Although Sudarenkov had the support of the local communists, First Deputy Presidential Chief of Staff Aleksandr Kazakov claimed to be satisfied with his election since he views Sudarenkov as a reasonable and experienced politician. Eight incumbents have been defeated in the 16 gubernatorial races held since 1 September. -- Robert Orttung

HUNGER STRIKES SPREAD.
Thirteen leading members of the Vorkuta branch of the Russian Coal-Industry Workers' Union began an open-ended hunger strike on 10 November to protest wage arrears totaling more than 140 billion rubles ($25.6 million), RTR reported. The union is also calling for an increase in government subsidies to mines in the Pechora coal basin. From 1 to 5 November, representatives of the Vorkuta branch of the Independent Miners' Union (NPG), a smaller, free trade union, picketed the Russian government building in Moscow to protest wage and subsidy arrears. Meanwhile, a hunger strike by 112 doctors in Chernogorsk, Khakassiya, entered its 12th day on 9 November, ITAR-TASS reported. The doctors have not been paid for six months. Meteorologists at Moscow's Sheremetovo airport called off a strike scheduled for 10 November to protest wage arrears after their demands were met, Vechernyaya Moskva reported. Also -- Penny Morvant in Moscow

IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER IN MOSCOW.
After meeting with his "old comrade" Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, Russian Foreign Minister Yevgenii Primakov blasted "artificial delays" in implementing UN Resolution 986, which would allow Iraq to sell $2 billion worth of oil in order to purchase food and medicine under UN supervision, Russian and Western agencies reported on 10 November. The oil-for-food deal was postponed after Iraqi troops intervened in October fighting between rival Kurdish groups in northern Iraq. -- Scott Parrish

RUSSIA PUSHING CASPIAN SEA "COMPROMISE."
Russia is using a new compromise proposal to make progress toward asserting control over the oil resources of the Caspian Sea, The Journal of Commerce reported on 8 November. The paper said Russia has proposed granting each of the five littoral states an exclusive economic zone reaching 40 miles offshore, rather than insisting on a 12-mile limit. Kazakstan, whose offshore deposits lie within 40 miles of the coastline, may accept the proposal, which would bring Almaty into line with Iran, Turkmenistan and Russia. But the proposed offshore line would cut through the heart of major oil deposits further offshore which are currently claimed by Azerbaijan. Under the Russian proposal, they would be jointly owned by all littoral states. -- Scott Parrish

DEFENSE MINISTRY DENIES REDUCTION PLANS.
A Defense Ministry spokesman told ITAR-TASS on 10 November that there are no plans to cut 500 positions for general officers or to reduce drastically the number of divisions in the ground forces (see OMRI Daily Digest, 8 November 1996). He described media reports of such plans as "politically motivated," and attributed them to journalists "susceptible to sensations of shady origin." -- Scott Parrish

OIL, GAS EXPORTS INCREASE.
In the first nine months of 1996, Russia exported 95 million metric tons of crude oil and 142 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 4% and 3% increases over the same period a year earlier, earning $22.7 billion from these operations, ITAR-TASS reported on 10 November. Oil and gas exports to the non-CIS countries (77 million tons and 104 billion cubic meters) continued the previous years' trend, going up by 8% and 17%, respectively. Those to CIS states, however, plunged by 11% and 22% due to payments arrears. -- Natalia Gurushina



SOUTH OSSETIYA'S SUPREME SOVIET CHAIRMAN ELECTED PRESIDENT.
Lyudvig Chibirov was elected president of South Ossetiya, a former autonomous oblast of Georgia, on 10 November, ITAR-TASS reported on 11 November. The Georgian Supreme Soviet abolished the region's formal autonomous status in 1990. Of the six candidates, Chibirov received 65% of the vote and former Prime Minister Vladislav Gabaraev, who advocates South Ossetiya's secession from Georgia and its unification with North Ossetiya within the Russian Federation, won about 20%. Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze said the election was "unlawful." Chibirov has rejected Georgian arguments that the vote could jeopardize a political agreement on the region's future status in Georgia. -- Liz Fuller

BEREZOVSKII IN TBILISI.
Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Boris Berezovskii discussed the Chechen conflict and Russian-Georgian relations with Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze during a visit to Tbilisi on 8 November, Russian media reported. Berezovskii dubbed Shevardnadze "the patriarch of the Caucasus" and termed his experience "unique," and called for the creation of a new infrastructure that would permit an integrated approach to structuring relations between the various Caucasian states taking into account their disparate interests, according to ORT. -- Liz Fuller

NEW CABINET FORMED IN ARMENIA.
Newly appointed Prime Minister Armen Sarkisyan received formal endorsement from President Levon Ter-Petrossyan for his new cabinet on 8 November, international media reported the same day. The interior and national security ministries have been merged into a single ministry headed by Serzh Sarkisyan. The influential defense minister, Vazgen Sarkisyan, retained his post. Ter-Petrossyan signed a decree appointing former Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan to the post of Yerevan mayor. New to the cabinet are Armenia's former representative to the UN, Alexander Arzumanyan (foreign minister), former Communist Party leader Vladimir Movsisyan (agriculture minister), former Armenian Komsomol First Secretary Hranush Hakobyan (social welfare minister). -- Emil Danielyan

ARMENIAN OPPOSITION LEADER ENDS HUNGER STRIKE.
Vahan Hovannesyan, a leader of the banned Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun party (HHD), ended the hunger strike that he began on 29 October to protest the continuous delays in his trial, AFP reported on 8 November. Several of Hovannesyan's supporters joined the hunger strike in solidarity with him in Yerevan's Freedom Square. Hovannesyan and 31 other members and supporters of the HHD were arrested in July 1995 on charges of plotting a coup Hovannesyan and the HHD have repeatedly accused the Armenian authorities of staging a political trial in order to outlaw one of the strongest opposition parties. -- Emil Danielyan

NAZARBAYEV CRITICIZES UNIONS, MEDIA, NATIONAL BANK.
Kazakstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev told leaders of trade unions and public movements on 5 November not to make trouble during this difficult stage of Kazakstan's economic transformation, according to a 6 November report on Kazak TV monitored by the BBC. Nazarbayev was referring to the "Day of Poverty" demonstrations held in mid-October to protest unpaid wages and pensions. Nazarbayev was also critical of the media for joining the protests, and thereby "violating the constitution and all laws of the state." He went on to criticize the National Bank for not fulfilling orders to pay back wages and pensions and not working with other state bodies to solve the issue. -- Bruce Pannier

FIRST FOREIGN-OWNED BANK TO OPEN IN KYRGYZSTAN.
A new bank called DemirKyrgyz International Bank (DIB) will soon open in Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL reported on 7 November. The bank's principal shareholder is the Demirbank of Turkey which has a 60% stake in the new bank. However, the EBRD is providing $300,000 for the bank and will provide a $2 million credit line for short- and medium-term financing in Kyrgyzstan's private sector once DIB begins operating. -- Bruce Pannier

TAJIK OPPOSITION RELEASES PRISONERS.
Tajik opposition forces have freed the last of 37 police hostages they captured on 24 October near Komsomolabad, AFP reported on 8 November. The release of the remaining hostages comes after the government freed four members of the opposition held in government jails. -- Bruce Pannier



CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE SUMMIT HELD IN AUSTRIA.
A two-day meeting of the Central European Initiative (CEI) was held in Graz on 8-9 November and attended by the prime ministers and foreign ministers of the group's 16 member states, international media reported. The participants agreed to increase joint efforts in fighting drugs and ended the summit with calls for more international aid for Bosnia. CEI members include Austria, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. The CEI was established in 1989 by Austria, Italy, Hungary, and Yugoslavia (the successor Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's membership is pending). -- Sharon Fisher

UKRAINE TO SHUT REACTOR NO. 1 AT CHORNOBYL.
Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko said reactor No. 1 at the Chornobyl nuclear facility will be closed forever on 30 November, international agencies reported on 9 November. That will leave only reactor No. 3 in operation until it too is shut down in 1999. At a meeting of the heads of state of the Central European Initiative in Graz, Austria, Lazarenko said Ukraine is meeting its obligations concerning closing Chornobyl and called on the G-7 countries to fulfill their promises of financial aid for that purpose. Those countries had agreed to provide $3.1 billion to fund the plant's closure by 2000. -- Oleg Varfolomeyev

EARLY REFERENDUM VOTING STARTS IN BELARUS.
Polling stations opened in Belarus on 9 November for early voting for those who cannot vote on 24 November, the official referendum date, Belarusian and international agencies reported. Early votes will not be counted until the rest of the votes are cast. Voters have been given a standard ballot paper with seven questions. Questions two and five (the president's and parliament's versions of a constitution respectively) are strictly consultative; voters must respond to every question. Lukashenka is also asking voters whether they want to change the national holiday from the day of the declaration of independence to the day Minsk was liberated from the Germans, whether they approve of the free sale and purchase of land, and whether to abolish the death penalty. Parliament has added its own questions asking for a ban on special budgetary funds not approved by parliament and on the procedures for appointing local officials. -- Ustina Markus

MORE INFORMATION ON MEETING OF ESTONIAN, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS.
Returning from Strasbourg on 8 November after ending his term as head of the Council of Europe's Council of Ministers, Estonian Foreign Minister Siim Kallas gave more information about his talks with his counterpart Yevgenii Primakov in Russia on 5 November, ETA reported. He said that in the talks on a new border agreement, Estonia has stopped demanding that Russia recognize the validity of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty and Russia has stopped pressing for compliance with a 1990 agreement in which Estonia had promised automatic citizenship to all residents. The date for signing the new agreement is not yet determined, as Russia rejected Kallas's request that it be signed during the OSCE summit meeting in Lisbon in December. Kallas said the upcoming visit of a group of Russian experts to investigate the situation of the Russian-speaking minority was a goodwill gesture unconnected with the border deal. -- Saulius Girnius

RIGHT TRIUMPHS IN LITHUANIAN PARLIAMENT ELECTIONS.
Winning 35 of the 65 single-mandate districts on 10 November, the Homeland Union (Conservatives of Lithuania) [TS(LK)] gained control of the Seimas, Radio Lithuania reported. The Christian Democratic (LKDP) and Social Democratic Party won five seats each, the Center Union four, the Democratic Labor (LDDP) and Democratic Parties two each. Eight other parties won a single seat, as did four independent candidates. The TS(LK), with 70 seats, and its ally, the LKDP, with 16 seats, are clearly in control of the 141-seat parliament (four seats will be filled in 1997). The neo-communist LDDP, which had won a majority in 1992, was reduced to 12 seats. It is expected that TS(LK) Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis will be elected Seimas chairman at its first session on 25 November. -- Saulius Girnius

CONTROVERSY OVER POLISH RULING PARTY'S DEBT.
Social Democracy of the Polish Republic (SdRP)--the main party in the Social Democratic Alliance, which is a senior partner in the Polish ruling coalition--is considering asking the government to negotiate a settlement for its debt, Polish dailies reported on 9 November. The SdRP, the successor to the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), incurred a debt of about 25 million zloty (almost $9 million) through illegal use of PZPR property, which it was obliged to return to the state under the 1990 law. Claiming the 1990 law is retroactive, the SdRP has refused to reveal how it used the PZPR assets. -- Beata Pasek

CZECH COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SCANDAL.
Josef Lux, deputy premier and Christian Democratic Union chairman, announced on 8 November that he has proof that the Security Information Service (BIS) followed him in late 1993 and early 1994, Czech media reported. Lux's accusations are similar to complaints voiced early last year by Jan Kalvoda, chairman of the Civic Democratic Alliance, another junior coalition party. Coming just one week before the Senate elections, Lux's announcement caused a stir on the political scene. BIS deputy head Sylva Sauerova on 10 November accused BIS interim head Stanislav Devaty of "ceaselessly" violating the law during his four-year term in office. A former dissident and a founding member of Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus's Civic Democratic Party, Devaty claimed innocence and left on vacation. Returning early from the Central European Initiative summit, Klaus tried to play down the matter. Meanwhile, President Vaclav Havel called for the appointment of a permanent BIS head. -- Sharon Fisher

INTERNATIONAL SKINHEAD RALLY IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
Some 700 neo-Nazis from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Germany gathered on 9 November in the Czech village of Kozolupy near Pilsen for the first meeting of the pan-European neo-Nazi movement, CTK reported. The gathering, held on the anniversary of the 1938 Kristallnacht anti-Jewish pogrom, featured a concert by five neo-Nazi rock groups. Police reportedly arrested seven participants in the rally. -- Sharon Fisher

SLOVAKIA'S TALKS AT CEI SUMMIT.
At the Central European Initiative (CEI) summit, Slovak Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar said that the organization should not deal with questions of national minorities. He said the standards should be set by the Council of Europe and not any other European body. Slovak Foreign Minister Pavol Hamzik and his Hungarian counterpart Laszlo Kovacs on 8 November discussed the need to create an intergovernmental commission to oversee the fulfillment of the bilateral treaty. Although the plans are still incomplete, the commission is expected to have several working groups, including one for national minority issues. During the summit, Meciar also met European Investment Bank President Brian Unwin, who offered Slovakia 40 million ECU ($50 million) for building highways from Bratislava to the Austrian and Hungarian borders. -- Anna Siskova

HUNGARIAN COALITION PARTIES FAIL TO REACH CONSENSUS AT SUMMIT.
Leaders of the governing coalition parties made no substantive headway at a major coalition summit on 8 November that was organized to ease the tensions generated by the privatization scandal, Hungarian dailies reported. The Hungarian Socialist Party and the Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ) only agreed to hold more consultations in the coming weeks. Meeting for the first time in the two-and-a-half year operation of the coalition government, the executive bodies of the two parties agreed to pressure the party caucuses to open consultations on the delayed conflict-of-interest bill and have it passed by mid-December. Contrary to earlier statements by leading SZDSZ politicians that the party may consider pulling out of the coalition at its mid-November national congress, Magyar Hirlap reports that the party is unlikely to vote on the issue. -- Zsofia Szilagyi




NATO TO DISCUSS NEW FORCE FOR BOSNIA.
NATO diplomats met on 11 November in Brussels to discuss proposals for a new military force for Bosnia to replace the present NATO-led Implementation Force (IFOR) next year, international agencies reported. No firm decision is expected before the Paris meeting on Bosnia on 14 November. NATO military leaders have drawn up four options for the new force. The most likely to be adopted is Option C, which calls for a multinational force of 20,000-30,000 to remain in Bosnia for a further year, backed by rapid intervention units based in region. The other options -- Option A, that IFOR force withdraw without replacement; Option B, that a simple dissuasion force remain with no fighting troops; and Option D, that a mission be launched on the same scale as IFOR with the same number of soldiers -- are unlikely to be chosen. Meanwhile, U.S. President Bill Clinton said on 10 November that the U.S. troops could remain in Bosnia after December as part of a "smaller mission," AFP reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

IZETBEGOVIC WANTS EU MANDATE IN MOSTAR EXTENDED.
The chairman of Bosnia's collective presidency, Alija Izetbegovic, appealed for an extension of the European Union mission in the divided city of Mostar before its mandate expires at the end of the year, Oslobodjenje reported on 11 November. Izetbegovic wrote to EU ministers urging the mission to stay to help reunify the city and praising the work of the EU administrator of Mostar, Sir Martin Garrod. Meanwhile, UN spokesman Alexander Ivanko said that armed Bosnian Croat special police had agreed to disband their units in line with a request from the UN police, AFP reported on 9 November. -- Daria Sito Sucic

MLADIC'S OFFICERS REFUSE TO ACCEPT HIS OUSTER.
Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic on 9 November fired the Republika Srpska's military commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, Nasa Borba reported on 11 November. Gen. Zdravko Tolimir, Gen. Milan Gvero, and other top military leaders were also sacked in the civilian leadership's latest and well-planned move against the unruly military, which has close links to Belgrade. The new chief of staff is Gen. Pero Colic, and his deputy is Gen. Dragan Josipovic. AFP quoted the Belgrade paper Blic, however, as saying that Mladic's staff refuses to accept the dismissal. Reuters added that the entire command is ignoring the changes despite their approval by parliament. Plavsic had cited pressure from the international community because of Mladic's indictment for war crimes as a reason for his ouster, but the Republika Srpska constitution bans his extradition to The Hague. -- Patrick Moore

MUSLIMS, SERBS CONFRONT EACH OTHER.
Over 100 Muslims marched across the inter-entity boundary toward Koraj in northern Bosnia on the morning of 11 November to go home to their village, which is now under Serb control. A UN police spokesman said that shots were fired from the Serb side, but it is not clear whether anyone was wounded, AFP reported. This is but the latest case of force being used to deter refugees from exercising their right, guaranteed by the Dayton agreement, to return to their homes. The Muslims said they had applied through UN channels to go home but had received no reply. In a related story, eight Muslim homes were blown up in the Serb-held strategic Brcko area late in the night of 9 November, Onasa reported. -- Patrick Moore

MILOSEVIC ASKS UN TO STAY IN EASTERN SLAVONIA.
Meeting on 8 November with Jacques Klein, head of the UN transitional administration in eastern Slavonia, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic asked that the UN mandate in the area be extended by a year, AFP reported. Eastern Slavonia is the last Serb-held part of Croatia. Federal Yugoslavia sent a letter to the Security Council officially requesting a year-long extension of the mandate and saying that a shorter mandate could threaten regional stability through the prospect of a mass exodus of tens of thousands of Serbs. Meanwhile, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who agreed in principle that the UN mandate be extended for six more months, met on 9 November with local Serb leaders for the first time, Reuters reported. Serb representative Vojislav Stanimirovic said he hopes that regional elections will be possible in March 1997 and that all local Serbs, not just original prewar residents, will be able to vote. -- Daria Sito Sucic

CAN SLOVENIA'S PREMIER FORM THE NEXT GOVERNMENT?
Janez Drnovsek's Liberal Democratic Party (LDS) emerged the strongest after the 10 November parliamentary elections, STA reported the same day. With nearly all votes counted, the LDS has 27.1%, an increase of some 3% from its share in the 1992 elections. Drnovsek told TV Slovenija that the largest parliamentary party should be asked to form a government but questions have already arisen about how stable one anchored by the LDS can be. Two rightist parties, Marjan Podobnik's Slovenian People's Party and Janez Jansa's Social Democrats, are making inroads. Podobnik said the priority is to form a coalition government of rightist parties under the "Slovenian Spring" banner, but he does not rule out cooperation with Drnovsek. Projections have the LDS winning 25 of 90 seats, with Podobnik's party second gaining 19, and Jansa's third with 16. -- Stan Markotich

SEATS DISTRIBUTED IN ROMANIA'S NEW PARLIAMENT.
The Central Electoral Bureau released final data on the distribution of parliamentary seats among the six parties that passed the 3% hurdle, Radio Bucharest reported on 10 November. The number of seats for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, respectively, are as follows: Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR): 53, 122; Party of Social Democracy in Romania: 41, 91; Social Democratic Union (USD): 23, 53; Hungarian Democratic Federation of Romania (UDMR): 11, 25; Greater Romania Party: 8, 19; and the Party of Romanian National Unity: 7,18. In addition, 15 minority organizations have each received a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. The CDR-USD governmental coalition has a majority of 53% in the Senate and of 51% in the Chamber of Deputies. With the support of the UDMR the coalition could reach a majority of about 60% in both chambers. -- Zsolt Mato

MOLDOVA ACCEPTED INTO THE CENTRAL EUROPEAN INITIATIVE.
Moldova on 9 November became the 16th member of the Central European Initiative, RFE/RL reported the same day. Moldovan Foreign Minister Mihai Popov said his country's acceptance into the regional cooperation organization means Moldova is viewed as a Central European state in all respects. In other news, preparations continue for Moldova's 17 November presidential elections. The Central Electoral Commission (CEC) settled the problem of voting in the breakaway Dniester republic, Infotag reported on 8 November, setting up 12 polling stations where Dniester residents can cast their votes. The CEC accused the Dniester authorities of violating citizens' right to vote by failing to establish electoral constituencies. -- Zsolt Mato

BULGARIAN PRIME MINISTER UNSURE ABOUT HIS POLITICAL FUTURE.
Zhan Videnov will ask for a confidence vote during the plenary meeting of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) on 11 November, Bulgarian and international media reported. But Videnov said on 9 November he does not know whether he will survive such a vote since the majority in his favor "is not very stable right now." Videnov came under strong pressure after the BSP candidate's weak showing in the recent presidential election and a call for a new government by 19 top BSP members. One party official told RFE/RL that political "bloodshed" is expected at the plenary meeting. In other news, a gun with a silencer was found hidden behind the radiator in the entrance hall of a house near where former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov was murdered on 2 October, RFE/RL reported on 8 November. -- Stefan Krause

FIGHT CONTINUES OVER ALBANIAN TRADE UNIONS.
Democratic Party (DP) legislator Azem Hajdari and his followers tried to break into the congress of the Independent Trade Unions (BSPSH) on 9 November and to forcefully take over its headquarters, but police intervened. The DP publicly distanced itself from Hajdari, Zeri i Popullit reported on 10 November. Hajdari, meanwhile, called for a mass demonstration on 12 November against current BSPSH leader Valer Xheka. Xheka called Hajdari an adventurer and said the current leadership enjoyed the support of all BSPSH branches. He also brought legal charges against Hajdari. Hajdari on 8 November got a writ of mandamus blocking the bank accounts of the BSPSH, but the next day the court lifted the ruling, ATSH reported. Elsewhere, police detained three participants in the 5 November rebel congress at which Hajdari was elected new trade union leader, Koha Jone reported on 10 November. -- Fabian Schmidt

EU GRANTS ALBANIA 33 MILLION ECU.
The European Union on 8 November granted Albania 33 million ECU ($42 million), Rilindja Demokratike reported. The money is for reform measures and infrastructure projects including modernizing the judicial and education systems, supporting market economy reforms, and improving roads. The EU representative in Albania, Elio Germano, claimed that relations between the EU and Albania had normalized. The EU has granted Albania a total of 212 million ECU until 2000. -- Fabian Schmidt



XS
SM
MD
LG