YELTSIN HOLDS NARROW LEAD.
Preliminary results of the first round of the
Russian presidential election available at noon, Moscow time, covering 89% of
Turnout - 72%
Boris Yeltsin - 34.80%
Gennadii Zyuganov - 32.31%
Aleksandr Lebed - 14.38%
Grigorii Yavlinskii - 7.42%
Vladimir Zhirinovsky - 5.97%
Others - each below 1%
Against all - 1.55%
Since none of the candidates received a majority of the vote, a runoff will be
held on 30 June or 7 July. * Robert Orttung
YELTSIN CALLS FOR COALITION WITH LEBED, YAVLINSKII, FEDOROV SUPPORTERS.
In a television address on the morning of 17 June, President Yeltsin said
that following the first round of voting the choice is now clear between
"turning back to revolutions and upheaval or forward to stability and wealth,"
ITAR-TASS reported. He called on the supporters of Aleksandr Lebed, Grigorii
Yavlinskii, and Svyatoslav Fedorov to join him in the second round. The
president's campaign manager, Sergei Filatov, said that Yeltsin would meet with
Lebed on 17 June and ruled out any possibility of meeting with Zyuganov,
ITAR-TASS reported. Yeltsin, who had repeatedly said that he wanted to win in
the first round, explained his failure to get more than 50% of the vote by
saying that the people "voted for a new life" and divided their sympathies
among several of the candidates. Yeltsin said that the main result of the
voting is that Russia has held a "free, direct, and honest" election. * Robert
THIRD PLACE FINISH MAKES LEBED POSSIBLE KINGMAKER.
Lebed is a much
better third-place candidate for President Yeltsin than Zhirinovsky, according
to ITAR-TASS commentator Tamara Zamyatina. VCIOM Director Yurii Levada said 32%
of Lebed's voters prefer Yeltsin and12% Zyuganov. Levada's polls show that
about 65% of Yavlinskii's supporters would back Yeltsin in the second round,
while only 13% would vote for Zyuganov (see OMRI Russia Presidential
Election Survey, no. 8, 12 June 1996). Presidential political adviser
Georgii Satarov claimed that Yeltsin's main coalition strategy before the
runoff would be to try to form an alliance with Lebed. In a 17 June interview,
Lebed did not say whom he would support, but he stressed the need for "order,"
"reforms," "reforms in the military," and "suppressing crime." * Robert
COMMUNISTS SEEK CONSULTATIONS.
Zyuganov said that he considered his
showing a success since he won about a third of the vote. He said that his bloc
would meet on 18 June to discuss the makeup of the government. He noted that
the spot of prime minister is vacant and that he is planning to meet with Lebed
to discuss "all issues connected with the election," ITAR-TASS reported.
Communist campaign manager Valentin Kuptsov on 17 June said Zyuganov may
cooperate with Lebed "to a certain degree" before the second round, ITAR-TASS
reported. Additionally, the Communists will want to hold "serious talks at the
highest level, including with Yeltsin's team," Duma deputy Vladimir Semago told
ITAR-TASS. He said that the election was a competition of ideas rather than
personalities, and the Communists would seek the support of Zhirinovsky's
Liberal Democratic Party of Russia. Semago is not as warm about negotiating
with Lebed as Kuptsov. * Robert Orttung
YABLOKO WORRIED ABOUT LARGE LEBED TURNOUT.
Yabloko was shocked by
Lebed's strong showing in the election and is concerned about the second round.
The deputy head of the bloc's Duma faction, Aleksei Zakharov, said that it is
unclear how many of Lebed's supporters would vote for Yeltsin, making it
difficult to predict the results of the runoff, ITAR-TASS reported on 17 June.
Yavlinskii rejected any cooperation with Zyuganov but said his participation in
a Yeltsin government would depend on its composition, ITAR-TASS reported on 16
June. * Robert Orttung
OSCE: ELECTION GENERALLY FREE AND FAIR.
Even before the final results
had been tabulated,
a delegation of 500 election monitors from the OSCE
issued a preliminary statement on 17 June declaring the first round of the
Russian presidential election "generally free and fair," Western agencies
reported. Teams of OSCE observers had planned to visit about 2,500 of the some
93,000 polling places during the vote. The statement did note that some OSCE
observers were concerned about biased election coverage in the state-owned
media, and admitted that there had been scattered irregularities in some areas
such as illegal proxy voting. AFP reported anecdotal evidence of violations in
several parts of the country, notably in Chechnya, where the agency's
correspondent was permitted to vote at several different polling stations after
showing his French passport. Nikolai Ryabov, chairman of the Central Electoral
Commission, said that there were no "serious" irregularities during the vote,
and only a "miserly" number of minor procedural violations. * Scott Parrish
ELECTION PASSES OFF QUIETLY.
Despite a number of bomb threats, no
violence marred Russia's presidential election. Representatives of the Federal
Security Service in Moscow said on 17 June that they had received 11 anonymous
calls warning of bomb attacks in the capital and surrounding area, but all
proved to be hoaxes, ITAR-TASS reported. Bomb threats were also made in
Vladivostok, Stavropol, and Volgograd, but again no explosives were found.
Security was tight on polling day amid fears of violence following the 11 June
bomb on the Moscow metro that killed four people and the attack on Valerii
Shantsev, Yurii Luzhkov's running mate in the capital's mayoral election. *
NO MAJOR VIOLATIONS IN MEDIA CAMPAIGN.
Anatolii Vengerov, chairman of
the President's Judicial Chamber for Information Disputes, announced on 14 June
that the presidential campaign in the media ran smoothly, with fewer violations
of the law than occurred during the 1995 campaign for the State Duma. He
claimed that although some candidates running for parliament last year openly
used offensive campaign agitation, this spring only a few initiative groups or
newspapers committed minor violations of the law, and none of the candidates
could be blamed for those violations. Vengerov told OMRI that he did not view
the Central Electoral Commission's "Vote or You Lose" commercials, some of
which contained the slogan "Yeltsin--Our President," as hidden advertising for
Yeltsin. Vengerov reasoned that the slogan did not constitute agitation on
Yeltsin's behalf but was simply a statement of fact. * Laura Belin in Moscow
YELTSIN: MAJOR CABINET CHANGES ON THE WAY.
Winding up his campaign in
Yekaterinburg on 14 June, President Yeltsin rejected rumors that he would bring
back into his cabinet "those people who started the reforms." However, he said
there would be "serious changes" in the new government, bringing in new people
"with fresh new ideas," ITAR-TASS reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin
said the future composition of the cabinet is completely up to Yeltsin. Yeltsin
said that by the year 2000 it will necessary to groom a new president "who
knows people, who would be authoritative, who all Russians would love." He then
said, "I know such a person" without naming him. * Robert Orttung
YELTSIN TRIUMPHS IN MOSCOW AND ST. PETERSBURG.
As expected, President
Yeltsin far outshone his rivals for the presidency in Russia's two largest
cities, which have benefited the most from economic reform. With 45% of the
vote counted, Yeltsin had almost 62% of the vote in the capital. Zyuganov was
in second place, with just under 15%, and Lebed third with less than 10%. In
Russia's second city, Yeltsin won about 50% of the vote. The liberal Grigorii
Yavlinskii was second, with 15%, just ahead of Zyuganov and Lebed. * Penny
RESULTS SHOW NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE.
According to preliminary returns from
Russia's regions, Yeltsin did surprisingly well in the Far East and eastern
Siberia, with the exception of the Amur region. He also came out on top in
western Siberia and the Urals, although his Communist rival took Novosibirsk,
Kemerovo, and Orenburg oblasts. In the Volga region, the two leading contenders
performed about equal, with Yeltsin winning in Udmurtiya and Nizhnii Novgorod
and Samara oblasts, and Zyuganov taking Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, and Ulyanovsk
and Saratov oblasts. In general, Yeltsin did well in the north of the country,
while Zyuganov was victorious in the south. As in the December Duma election,
Zyuganov triumphed in the "red-belt" oblasts south of Moscow, ITAR-TASS
reported. * Penny Morvant
Simultaneous voting for a new bicameral Chechen
People's Assembly and in the Russian presidential election began in Chechnya as
scheduled on 14 June, Russian media reported. The Chechen opposition initially
refrained from carrying out its threats to disrupt the poll, but on 16 June
some polling stations were forced to close early because of opposition threats.
ITAR-TASS reported the final turnout as 58.9%, but Reuters questioned that
figure. No voting took place in Vedeno Raion, which is controlled by the
opposition. On 14 June, pro-Moscow Chechen head of state Doku Zavgaev met with
the head of the OSCE mission in Grozny, Tim Guldimann, after which the two men
agreed to "coordinate future activities," according to ORT. Zavgaev had earlier
criticized Guldimann's role in mediating talks between the Chechen opposition
and the Russian leadership. * Liz Fuller
LUZHKOV WINS LANDSLIDE VICTORY IN MOSCOW MAYORAL POLL.
popular incumbent Yurii Luzhkov triumphed in Moscow's mayoral election. With
99% of the vote counted, Luzhkov had more than 89%. His closest rival, Olga
Sergeeva, had 5%, ITAR-TASS reported. Turnout was about 68%. * Penny Morvant
YELTSIN SENDS NATIONAL SECURITY MESSAGE TO PARLIAMENT.
Yeltsin's 13 June national security message to the Federal Assembly was
published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on 14 June. Opposition deputies have
long criticized Yeltsin for failing to present a national security concept.
Despite its appearance on the eve of the presidential election, Yeltsin's
spokesman denied the message was a "campaign document." Divided into five
parts, the message outlines Yeltsin's vision of Russian national security
policy for 1996-2000. It emphasizes that Russia's unique Eurasian location and
its abundant natural resources make it "a great power." Rather than external
issues like NATO expansion, however, it terms internal difficulties such as
political instability and separatism as the most serious threats to Russian
security. Arguing that instability in the CIS is the biggest external threat to
Russia, the document calls for giving the region top priority in Russian
policy. * Scott Parrish
GRACHEV OFFERS NATO COOPERATION IF IT REFRAINS FROM EXPANSION.
in Brussels with his NATO counterparts on 14 June, Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev endorsed closer cooperation between Russia and the alliance,
international media reported. However, Grachev emphasized that such cooperation
is "incompatible" with NATO expansion. Grachev endorsed making the current
temporary Russian liaison office at NATO headquarters permanent. NATO liaison
officers will reportedly be invited to work with the Russian General Staff. NTV
reported that the Russian liaison office would be headed by a Colonel General,
which ITAR-TASS claimed would lend it a "much higher status" than the liaison
offices of other Partnership for Peace countries. Grachev's remarks seem
designed to encourage NATO to compromise with Moscow over the terms of its
enlargement. * Scott Parrish
ZHIRINOVSKY LINKED TO INTERNATIONAL ARMS SMUGGLER.
plan to question Vladimir Zhirinovsky in Moscow about an international arms and
nuclear material smuggling ring, the Sunday Times reported on 16 June.
The paper reported that Zhirinovsky had been advised that he is under
investigation because of his connections with a Slovene arms dealer who is the
subject of an international arrest warrant issued by an Italian judge. The
dealer is suspected of selling military equipment obtained from the Russian
mafia by Zhirinovsky aides. * Doug Clarke
SITUATION ON GOVERNMENT SECURITIES' MARKET WORSENS.
budgetary problems are causing a new wave of instability on the state
securities market, pushing annual yields to 212%, Segodnya reported on
14 June. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told ITAR-TASS that the government
is in control of the situation, and that the internal debt will not be
rescheduled. Meanwhile, the government is facing a crisis on the state foreign
bonds (OVVZ) market, following the Finance Ministry's announcement that the
payment of stolen OVVZs with a nominal value of $30 million will be frozen
pending criminal procedures, Kommersant-Daily reported on 15 June.
Foreign banks may now declare OVVZs to be excessively risky, since some of
them--including Solomon Brothers and CS First Boston--hold large amounts of
these securities. The move may also have a negative impact on Russia's
negotiations with the London Club of commercial creditors. * Natalia
TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA
PRISONER AMNESTY IN UZBEKISTAN.
The Uzbek government has released 80
prisoners, including members of the banned organization Erk, Western media
reported on 15 June. According to Reuters, among those released are Rashid
Bekjon, brother of exiled Erk leader Mohammed Solih, Abdulla Abdurazzakov, and
Safar Bekjon. All three had been found guilty of anti-government activities. So
far, the amnesty has not been reported in the local media, nor has a clear
explanation been given. The Uzbek government may be attempting to improve its
human rights image in advance of President Islam Karimov's 21-30 June visit to
the U.S. and following a recent Helsinki Watch report on human rights
violations in the country. * Roger Kangas
RUSSIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN VOTE FOR YELTSIN.
According to preliminary data
released by the Russian Embassy in Almaty to ITAR-TASS on 16 June, 49.57% of
the Russian electorate in Kazakhstan's capital voted for President Yeltsin;
16.36% voted for Gennadii Zyuganov and 13.39% for Aleksandr Lebed. * Bhavna
GOVERNMENT SHAKEUP CONTINUES IN UKRAINE.
President Leonid Kuchma on 14
June dismissed Energy Minister Oleksii Sheberstov, the second top official to
be fired in a shakeup orchestrated by the country's new premier, Ukrainian and
international agencies reported. ITAR-TASS reported that Prime Minister Pavlo
Lazarenko is expected to recommend that another four or five ministers be
sacked soon. He announced on 14 June that he has ordered the layoff of 20% of
government employees (some 10,000 people) in an effort to cut budget spending.
The funds saved by the layoffs and new austerity measures that, among other
things, reduce official privileges will be used to pay off some of the state's
wage debt. Lazarenko also said his government was planning to reduce social
benefits for citizens, including energy subsidies for some 17 million people. *
BELARUSIAN REACTION TO EU TRADE BAN.
The EU Parliamentary Committee for
Foreign Affairs has asked the union to suspend enacting a provisional trade
agreement with Belarus because of human rights abuses in that country, Belapan
reported on 13 June. Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Khvastau said
the decision was influenced by "personal approaches" and underlined
inconsistencies in the policies of European agencies. He downplayed the
significance of the EU committee's recommendation, commenting that if Belarus
cannot cooperate with EU countries within the framework of the union, it could
continue to cooperate through bilateral ties. * Ustina Markus
BALTIC PRIME MINISTERS SIGN FREE AGRICULTURAL TRADE AGREEMENT.
(Estonia), Andres Skele (Latvia), and Mindaugas Stankevicius (Lithuania),
meeting in Vilnius on 16 June, have signed a free agricultural trade agreement,
Radio Lithuania reported. The agreement lifts all import and export duties on
farm products and removes quotas on farm and fish products whose origin has
been confirmed. Once it has been ratified by the three parliaments, the accord
is expected to promote competition and thus reduce food prices. A free
industrial trade agreement between the three countries has been in force since
April 1994. * Saulius Girnius
SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER PLEDGES AID TO LITHUANIA.
Goran Persson, meeting
with his Lithuanian counterpart Mindaugas Stankevicius in Vilnius on 14 June,
praised Lithuania's efforts to curb illegal migration, BNS reported. He said
his government will give Lithuania another 1 million Swedish kronor ($148,000)
for the implementation of the law on refugees in Lithuania. Sweden has already
granted 2 million kronor, almost half of which has been used to set up a
refugee camp at Rukle. The premiers also discussed cooperation in nuclear
power, focusing on how Lithuania will replace the Ignalina plant once its
resources have been used up next century. The possibility of a Baltic Ring gas
pipeline that would supply Lithuania with natural gas from Norway was
mentioned. * Saulius Girnius
NEW GDANSK SHIPYARD REGISTERED.
A new shipyard has been registered at
Gdansk to partly replace the old bankrupt one. The new company will operate
initially for 10 years and will lease 60% of the old shipyard's property. Some
3,000 of the old shipyard's 7,300 employees will find work in the new shipyard,
which hopes to open on 1 July making use of bank credits. Privatization
Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek told the Sejm on 14 June that bankruptcy is the best
way to save the old shipyard and its creditors, since it will allow for the
re-negotiation of bad contracts. The Sejm is to vote in two weeks on whether to
replace Kaczmarek over the closure decision. Jerzy Borowczak, Solidarity leader
at the Gdansk shipyard, said that it was a bad idea to open a new shipyard,
since it has no capital and guarantees employment for only 3,000 or so people.
He added that shipyard workers will boycott the new shipyard. Meanwhile, the
old one is expected to be declared bankrupt by 22 June. * Jakub Karpinski
POLISH TEACHERS DEMAND PAY RAISES.
Some 7,000 teachers from all over
Poland took part in a march in Warsaw on 15 June organized by the Polish
Teachers Union (ZNP). The teachers submitted petitions at the Finance Ministry
and the Presidential Palace demanding higher salaries and more money for
schools. The ZNP is a part of the All-Polish Labor Unions Confederation (OPZZ),
which belongs to the ruling Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) coalition. "Polish
teachers live in poverty and their patience is running out," ZNP leader Jan
Zaciura told Education Minister and SDL leader Jerzy Wiatr. * Jakub Karpinski
ROMANI DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS TO PROTEST POOL BAN IN CZECH REPUBLIC.
Rusenko of the Romani Democratic Congress (RDK) told CTK on 14 June that the
claim that Roma under 18 living in Kladno have hepatitis is merely a pretext to
bar them from the city's public swimming pools. The Kladno deputy mayor last
week banned all Roma under 15 from the pools. Similar bans have been issued in
other Czech towns in previous summers. An anonymous official at the Interior
Ministry told RFE/RL that the ban is unacceptable since it applies to a group
instead of the general public. Rusenko said that RDK will protest the ban. *
NATO DELEGATION IN SLOVAKIA.
Arriving in Slovakia on 15 June for a
three-day visit, North Atlantic Assembly President Karsten Voigt stressed the
need to cooperate "in convincing the majority of the members of the West
European and U.S. parliaments that democracy in Slovakia is so stable that its
entrance into NATO will not be a risk," TASR and Reuters reported. Voigt added
that it will also be important for Slovakia to show that membership in the
alliance will strengthen democracy in the region, which some Western countries
doubt. Voigt said NATO will expand without requiring new members to accept the
location of nuclear missiles on their territory. In Brussels on 14 June, Slovak
Defense Minister Jan Sitek noted that the Partnership for Peace program is not
an alternative to membership in NATO and stressed that Slovakia continues to
aim for full membership in the alliance. * Sharon Fisher
SLOVAK PRESIDENT'S SON RESPONDS TO POLICE.
Michal Kovac Jr. on 14 June
issued a statement questioning the police's "sudden change of opinion" on his
plans to travel to Germany to defend himself against fraud charges, TASR
reported. Kovac Jr. said the police investigator had told him he did not see
any obstacles preventing Kovac Jr.'s interrogation by German authorities. But a
police statement issued the previous day said Kovac Jr. cannot leave Slovakia.
Kovac Jr. stressed he wants to leave to undergo official questioning.
Praca on 15 June noted that if Germany cleared Kovac Jr. of the charges,
it would be "a catastrophe" for Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar's camp, which
has continually attacked the president's son. "It seems the only option left
for Kovac Jr....may be to swim illegally across the Danube as in the good old
communist times," the paper said. * Sharon Fisher
WORLD CONGRESS OF HUNGARIANS UNHAPPY WITH GOVERNMENT'S MINORITY POLICY.
Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula Horn was booed and whistled by delegates to the
fourth World Congress of Hungarians in Budapest on 15 June when he explained
that the government is not planning changes in its foreign minority policy,
Hungarian media reported. Horn reiterated that Hungary will not seek the
revision of borders but that it will insist on guaranteeing minority rights. He
asked Hungarian minorities to make clear their concept of autonomy and to
distance themselves from separatist declarations. Delegates warned that ethnic
Hungarians abroad are second-class citizens not only in their own homeland but
also compared with Hungarian citizens. Nationalist circles and the opposition
have blamed the government for trading minority rights for the signing of the
Slovak-Hungarian treaty. * Zsofia Szilagyi
BOSNIAN DISARMAMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED.
Rump Yugoslavia, the Bosnian
Federation, Croatia, and the Republika Srpska signed a disarmament agreement in
Florence on 14 June, international media reported. The deal places restrictions
on the number of tanks, other armored vehicles, artillery, fighter aircraft,
and helicopter gun ships that each of the states is allowed to have. The UN
Security Council is expected to lift the arms embargo against the former
Yugoslavia on 18 June as a result of the agreement. The WEU will also end
operation "Sharp Guard," under which shipping in the Adriatic was monitored
during the embargo. * Fabian Schmidt
BOSNIAN SERBS CELEBRATE CONFERENCE AS VICTORY.
Returning from Florence,
Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic told Srna that he was "satisfied"
with the treatment of his delegation at the meeting. He added "we have made it
clear that the elections cannot be linked to demands for the extradition of the
leaders of the Republika Srpska, and we did not come to Florence to make new
concessions." Foreign Affairs Minister Aleksa Buha said the meeting "had calmed
the hysteria" about extradition of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko
AFP reported. * Fabian Schmidt
FORMER BOSNIAN PREMIER ATTACKED IN PRE-ELECTION RALLY.
leader of the opposition Party for Bosnia-Hercegovina (SBiH), was attacked and
injured while campaigning in the northwestern town of Cazin on 15 June,
international and local media reported. SBiH spokesman Mustafa Mujagic said
Silajdzic was hit on the head with an iron bar and sustained a serious cut and
bruises. He added that members of the ruling Muslim Party for Democratic Action
(SDA) were responsible for what he called the "obviously organized" attack,
Onasa reported. Silajdzic was surrounded by a crowd of some 100 people carrying
SDA banners and shouting Muslim religious prayers. Both SBiH and OSCE officials
claimed police did nothing to prevent the incident. But the SDA, which
condemned the attack the next day, claimed that the police "saved" Silajdzic. *
Daria Sito Sucic
BOSNIAN CROATS NAME NEW HERCEG-BOSNA GOVERNMENT.
Pero Markovic, a local
official from the town of Capljina, has been appointed prime minister of
Herceg-Bosna by the self-styled Bosnian Croatian "presidential council." Onasa
reported on 16 June. Markovic proceeded to appoint several new ministers,
including Vladimir Soljic as defense minister. Soljic also holds that post in
the Bosnian Federation. Bosnian Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic condemned the
Bosnian Croat leadership for naming a new government for a rebel state that, he
said, should have been disbanded months ago, AFP reported. Muratovic condemned
the move as illegal, saying its shows that the Bosnian Croats are not committed
to a federal government in Bosnia-Herzegovina. * Daria Sito Sucic
BOSNIAN MUSLIMS APPLY TO RUN IN REPUBLIKA SRPSKA ELECTIONS.
six villages in northeastern Bosnia have applied to run in elections in the
Republika Srpska, AFP reported on 16 June, citing Oslobodjenje.
Inhabitants of villages held by the Muslims during the war in Bosnia and
transferred to Bosnian Serb control under the Dayton agreement have nominated
candidates for municipal and regional elections. Meanwhile, the deadline for
registering for the fall Bosnian elections passed on 14 June. The OSCE said
that 45 parties and 16 independent candidates submitted applications. An OSCE
spokesman said no details will be announced until the applications have been
checked and possible appeals considered. In related news, Reuters reported that
the U.S. said refugees who vote will not lose their refugee status and will not
be forced to return to Bosnia. * Stefan Krause
U.S. OFFICIAL ADMONISHES SERBIAN PRESIDENT.
Assistant Secretary of State
John Kornblum, visiting Belgrade on 16 June, told Slobodan Milosevic that
Washington wants Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic ousted from power in the
coming weeks. Kornblum stressed the need to implement the Dayton agreement,
adding that "the patience of the international community...was beginning to
wear thin." Kornblum and Milosevic also discussed freedom of the press in
Serbia, freedom of movement, and preparations for the elections, AFP reported.
* Fabian Schmidt
CROATIAN PRESIDENT SAYS COMMUNISTS WERE PARTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR JASENOVAC
Franjo Tudjman, during a visit to the World War II concentration
camp at Jasenovac, has given a new interpretation of what happened there 50
years ago, AFP reported on 15 June. Tudjman said Communists loyal to Yugoslav
President Josip Broz Tito killed thousands of the people buried at the site.
The generally accepted official version is that all those buried there were
killed by the Croatian Ustachi, which ran the camp during the war.
Tudjman's visit to Jasenovac came one day after the opening of the trial of two
Croatian journalists who criticized Tudjman's plan to bury members of the
pro-Nazi regime together with their victims. Tudjman paid homage to "all the
victims" of the camp, including both "the victims of fascism but also those of
communism," Hina reported. * Daria Sito Sucic
LOW TURNOUT REPORTED IN ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Electoral Bureau (BEC) noted that turnout at the second round of local
elections in Romania on 16 June was even lower than during the first round
(56%) two weeks earlier, Romanian TV reported. Polling stations stayed open
till midnight in accordance with a BEC order, but longer voting hours
apparently failed to attract more voters. Exit polls suggest that in the race
for mayor of Bucharest, Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) candidate Victor
Ciorbea beat former international tennis star Ilie Nastase, who ran as the
candidate of the Party of Social Democracy in Romania. According to final
results broadcast by Radio Bucharest on 17 June, the CDR also won the mayoralty
of Sibiu. In addition to run-offs, voting was repeated in 334 districts and in
two counties where participation in the first round had been less than 50% . *
MOLDOVA AND JAPAN TO BOOST COOPERATION.
The Japanese government has
decided to upgrade Moldova from the status of "transition-economy country" to
that of "developing country," President Mircea Snegur and Japanese Ambassador
at Large Sumio Edamura announced in Chisinau on 14 June. The two states will
also increase economic cooperation. Infotag reported that Snegur thanked the
Japanese envoy for a $40 million credit and humanitarian aid worth $2.5
million. * Michael Shafir
BULGARIAN SOCIALISTS NAME PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE...
The ruling Bulgarian
Socialist Party's Supreme Council on 16 June nominated Foreign Minister Georgi
Pirinski as BSP presidential candidate, RFE/RL reported. Following a 10-hour
debate, 70 members voted for Pirinski, one against, and 16 abstained. Under the
Bulgarian Constitution, the president must be Bulgarian by birth. Since
Pirinski was born to a Bulgarian father and an American mother in New York in
1948, questions have been raised as to whether he can become president. But the
constitution also says that everybody with one Bulgarian parent is considered
Bulgarian. Pirinski is to run against Petar Stoyanov of the Union of Democratic
Forces in elections that will most likely take place in November. Prime
Minister Zhan Videnov told the Supreme Council that the BSP has to win the
Presidency in order to implement its program. * Stefan Krause
...AND INTRODUCE CHANGES IN PARTY LEADERSHIP.
The Supreme Council also
endorsed Videnov's proposal to change the lineup of the BSP Executive Bureau,
Trud reported. Videnov and his four deputies will continue to serve on
that body, while seven members have been removed and five new ones appointed.
Meanwhile, former Tsar Simeon II wrapped up a three-week visit to Bulgaria, AFP
reported. While he did not elaborate on his plans, he did suggest that he
intends to play a role in Bulgarian politics. He spoke in favor of a
constitutional monarchy, which he described as a "flexible and pragmatic form
of government." Simeon also urged the government to speed up economic reforms.
* Stefan Krause
ELECTION RE-RUNS IN ALBANIA.
Albania's Central Electoral Commission
claimed a 55% turnout at re-runs in 17 of Albania's 115 electoral districts on
16 June, Albanian media reported. President Sali Berisha decreed the new
ballots following opposition claims of manipulation and calls by international
institutions and several countries for a repeat of the vote. However, the
opposition Socialists, Social Democrats, Democratic Alliance, Party of the
Democratic Right, and Party of National Unity all boycotted the ballots,
demanding that the elections be held afresh. The Constitutional Court on 15
June rejected an appeal by the Social Democrats and Democratic Alliance to
declare the ballot illegal, according to international agencies. No official
OSCE observers were present during the re-runs, but the Democrats reportedly
invited members of conservative and right-wing parties from France, Greece,
Italy, and Austria to oversee the voting process. * Fabian Schmidt
ALBANIAN DEPUTY PREMIER INVOLVED IN BAR BRAWL.
Dashamir Shehi hit
Koha Jone journalist Frrok Cupi in the face in a Tirana bar on 15 June,
international agencies reported. Cupi had earlier charged Shehi with
incompetence. Shehi was Cupi's bodyguard in 1991 when the latter was the chief
editor of Rilindja Demokratike. Meanwhile, Shehi has denied that the
incident took place, Albanian media reported. * Fabian Schmidt
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave