YELTSIN SACKS SOSKOVETS, BARSUKOV, KORZHAKOV . . .
Yeltsin on 20 June fired First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets, Federal
Security Service head Mikhail Barsukov, and Presidential Security Service head
Aleksandr Korzhakov, ITAR-TASS reported. Soskovets, who supervised the defense
industry, is considered to be an ally of Korzhakov. All three are seen as
hard-liners, opposed to market reform, and strong backers of the war in
Chechnya. They were also against holding the presidential election. Yeltsin
said that it is time to "strengthen and renew" his team with "fresh people."
Yeltsin said that he was constantly being criticized because of these three
men, and emphasized that he had never taken orders from Korzhakov. He
criticized the "power ministries" for "taking too much for themselves, while
giving too little." Yeltsin's dramatic dismissal of these key figures in his
administration reflects the impact of his new ally Aleksandr Lebed in the days
before the second round of the election. -- Robert Orttung
. . . FOLLOWING ARREST OF TWO YELTSIN CAMPAIGN WORKERS.
campaign officials, Sergei Lisovskii and Arkadii Yevstafev, were arrested on
the evening of 19 June while leaving the government's White House, apparently
on orders from Korzhakov and Barsukov. They were allegedly carrying a case
containing $500,000, and were detained and questioned for 11 hours by
Korzhakov's security service, ITAR-TASS reported. After Lebed intervened to say
that the arrests were an attempt to disrupt the second round of voting, the two
campaign aides were released. Korzhakov and Barsukov both denied that the
arrests had a political character. Yestafev was formerly deputy managing
director of Russian Public TV (ORT), where Lisovskii had also served as head of
advertising. Lisovskii used his conncection with show-business figures to
organize the "Vote or you Lose" concerts for Yeltsin's campaign. Yevstafev
worked closely with Anatolii Chubais in preparing Yeltsin's re-election
campaign. -- Robert Orttung
DEFENSE MINISTRY DENIES COUP ALLEGATIONS.
The information service of the
Defense Ministry denied on 18 June that former Defense Minister Grachev and his
close associates had planned to illegally pressure President Boris Yeltsin into
keeping Grachev in office, Russian media reported. The State Duma, alarmed by
the coup allegations made by Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed (see
OMRI Daily Digest, 19 June 1996), ordered its security and defense
committees to investigate the incident. Security Committee Chairman Viktor
Ilyushin (KPRF) said he thought Lebed had deliberately exaggerated the incident
in order to bolster his political image. Izvestiya reported on 19 June
that although top brass gathered in Grachev's office on 18 June as Lebed had
claimed, it was merely a farewell party, not a coup-planning session. The
Izvestiya report suggests that Lebed manipulated the incident to
humiliate his long-time rival Grachev. -- Scott Parrish
RUNOFF ALL BUT SET FOR 3 JULY.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has
signed a resolution declaring 3 July a holiday so that the presidential runoff
can be held on that day, ORT reported 19 June. The Central Electoral Commission
(TsIK) has also fallen into line in support of the proposal, according to TsIK
Deputy Chairman Aleksandr Ivanchenko. Although Zyuganov has supported the idea
of a 3 July election, the Duma voted to postpone discussion on the issue until
21 June when the final election results will be known. However, the Duma's
opposition will probably not stop the formal announcement of the runoff date
once the final tally from the first round is made public. Yeltsin had earlier
asked for Duma backing of this proposal, but the Communist-controlled
legislature was unlikely to support the plan which is expected to favor
Yeltsin. According to the law guaranteeing Russian citizens basic voting
rights, voting must take place on a non-working day. -- Robert Orttung
ZYUGANOV, CHERNOMYRDIN DISCUSS POSSIBLE COALITION GOVERNMENT.
and Chernomyrdin met on 19 June to discuss the selection of 3 July for second
round voting. Zyuganov also put forward numerous ideas on cooperation or a
coalition, Chernomyrdin press secretary Viktor Konnov told ITAR-TASS.
Chernomyrdin responded by saying that he had always felt that cooperation was
possible, especially when the gap between the votes cast for the two candidates
was so small. The prime minister stressed the need to avoid "a split and
confrontation" in society. Zyuganov noted that the first round had come off
"without any violations of the law." Earlier in the day, Konnov had said that
there would be no meeting between Chernomyrdin and Zyuganov on the eve of the
election, suggesting that the meeting came together at the last minute. --
FEDOROV BACKS YELTSIN.
Eye doctor Svyatoslav Fedorov, who finished
sixth in the first round of the presidential election with less than 1% of
the vote, said he would back President Yeltsin in the second round, Radio
Rossii reported on 19 June. He argued that Yeltsin's program is more
progressive than Zyuganov's and praised Yeltsin's recent personnel changes in
the government. Fedorov won about 700,000 votes in the first round, or about
0.93% of the total. His Workers' Self-Government party did surprisingly well in
the December 1995 Duma election, taking nearly 4% of the vote. -- Penny
KOVALEV UNHAPPY ABOUT YELTSIN-LEBED ALLIANCE.
Human rights activist
Sergei Kovalev believes Yeltsin's alliance with Lebed is a threat to democracy
in Russia, AFP reported on 19 June, citing an interview to be published in the
German news magazine Stern. Kovalev predicted that Yeltsin would rapidly
reach agreement with Lebed and argued that Russia will be governed in a
draconian manner. Kovalev said he will not vote for either Yeltsin or Zyuganov
in the presidential runoff, arguing that "Yeltsin-style stability is as serious
as the instability that would follow a Zyuganov victory." -- Penny Morvant
FINANCE MINISTRY REJECTS CONCERNS ABOUT PAYING FOR ELECTION.
Minister Vladimir Panskov rejected the TsIK's concerns that it would not have
enough money to pay for the second round of the presidential election,
ITAR-TASS reported on 19 June. He said his ministry had given the TsIK 88
billion rubles ($18.3 million) on 17 June, and is planning to transfer 100
billion in "the next few days" and an additional 158 billion "at the beginning
of next week." -- Robert Orttung
RUSSIAN TROOPS ATTACKED ON INGUSH-NORTH OSSETIYAN BORDER.
servicemen were killed on 18 June and four wounded in an attack on two Interior
Ministry armored personnel carriers on the border between Ingushetiya and North
Ossetiya, NTV reported on 19 June. Russian Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav
Mikhailov said that Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had invited
Aleksandr Lebed to join the State Commission for regulating the Chechen crisis,
but he added that Lebed's involvement would not signal any changes in Russia's
policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict. Mikhailov warned,
however, that Russian troops would undertake "special operations" against the
Chechen forces should the latter violate the 10 June agreement on a cessation
of hostilities. In keeping with the agreement, the 245th Motorized Infantry
regiment withdrew from Chechnya on 19 June, ORT reported. -- Liz Fuller
NEW GOVERNOR OF BRYANSK APPOINTED.
President Yeltsin on 19 June
appointed Aleksandr Semernev head of the Bryansk Oblast Administration,
ITAR-TASS reported. Semernev is the fourth governor to be appointed in the past
three years. His immediate predecessor, Vladimir Barabanov, was fired in May
for mishandling state funds. Barabanov had also been criticized for appointing
Communists to leading positions in the oblast (see OMRI Daily Digest, 30
May 1995). Yeltsin took about 26% of the vote in Bryansk in the first round of
the presidential election, while Zyuganov won 48%, according to preliminary
results. -- Penny Morvant
YELTSIN TO SKIP G-7 SUMMIT.
President Yeltsin announced on 19 June that
he will not attend the G-7 summit in Lyons scheduled for 27-29 June, saying he
needs to concentrate on the upcoming presidential runoff election, Russian and
Western agencies reported. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin will attend the
meeting in his place. -- Scott Parrish
WAGE ARREARS ARE CLIMBING AGAIN.
The wage debt to workers in
state-funded enterprises and organizations is growing again, Russian and
Western agencies reported on 19 June. According to Goskomstat, the debt to
state workers has reached 4.2 trillion rubles ($838 million), up 20% from early
May. The total wage debt has risen to 27.1 trillion rubles. Tackling wage
arrears was one of President Yeltsin's main pre-election promises. The results
of his March campaign to slash arrears, however, appear to have been
short-lived. Meanwhile, power industry workers in Komi are taking strike action
to protest wage delays. Radio Rossii said on 19 June that work had stopped at a
heating plant in the mining city of Vorkuta and that other stoppages will
follow if workers are not paid. Komienergo is owed more than 1 trillion rubles
by consumers. -- Penny Morvant
STILL NO SIGN OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
GDP fell by 3% in January-May
compared with the same period in 1995, ITAR-TASS reported on 19 June, citing
Goskomstat. Industrial production fell by 4%, with a steep 24% fall in light
industry and construction materials, according to Finansovye Izvestiya.
Although the fall in production had halted in April, it resumed in May.
Inflation meanwhile fell from 4.1% in January to 1.5% in May. The other
positive trend is foreign trade, which grew by 12.1% in the first four months
of the year, reaching $42.8 billion. Trade with CIS states made up 26% of the
total. The continuing decline in GDP will make it more difficult for the
government to deal with the yawning budget deficit because of its impact on tax
revenue. -- Peter Rutland
ANOTHER POLITICAL TRIAL IN GEORGIA.
A Tbilisi court on 19 June sentenced
Conservative-Monarchist Party head Temur Zhorzholiani, an outspoken critic of
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, to four years' imprisonment on charges
of illegal possession of drugs and a revolver, NTV reported. Zhorzholiani was
arrested last year despite his immunity as a parliament deputy, and insists
that the charges against him are fabricated. Georgian observers have suggested
that he was arrested because of his friendship with former deputy security
chief Teimuraz Khachishvili, who is charged with the bomb attack against
Shevardnadze in August 1995. -- Liz Fuller
SHEVARDNADZE DEFENDS NADIBAIDZE.
Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze
on 19 June said in Tbilisi that "there are no grounds to suspect Defense
Minister Vardiko Nadibaidze of organizing some coup in Moscow," ITAR-TASS
reported. Nadibaidze himself said that outgoing Russian Defense Minister Pavel
Grachev's resignation came as a surprise to him, but that he would make no
comment as it was an internal Russian affair. According to Izvestiya on
20 June, the senior military officials who met on 18 June--to allegedly plan
the coup--did not in fact discuss Grachev's resignation. Grachev and Nadibaidze
are thought to have been close personal friends. -- Liz Fuller
POLICE CORRUPTION IN ARMENIA.
Speaking at a press conference in Yerevan
on 19 June, Armenian Interior Minister Vano Siradeghyan claimed that corruption
had permeated the very highest levels of the country's bureaucracy, and that
the struggle against it is being hampered by corruption within the ministry
itself, Radio Rossii reported. In 1995, 540 Interior Ministry employees were
dismissed for corruption, and criminal charges have been filed against 107 of
them. An investigation in 1994 established that Armenian Interior Ministry
personnel were not averse to using force to extract bribes. -- Liz Fuller
NEW MUFTI CHOSEN IN TAJIKISTAN.
A congress of Tajikistan's Muslims on 19
June selected Khoja Amunullo Negmatzoda as the new country's new Muslim
spiritual leader, Radio Rossii and Western media reported. Negmatzoda was
previously the head of the Yakubicharm Mosque located near the Tajik capital
Dushanbe. The last state mufti, Fatkhullo Sharifzoda, was assassinated in
January. Prior to Sharifzoda, United Tajik Opposition representative Ali Akbar
Turajonzoda held the position. Reuters speculated that Negmatzoda was a
compromise candidate since he has no allegiance to any particular clan in
Tajikistan. -- Bruce Pannier
UZBEK PRESIDENT WILL MEET WITH CLINTON.
White House spokesman Michael
McCurry on 19 June announced that U.S. President Bill Clinton will meet with
his Uzbek counterpart, Islam Karimov, during the latter's visit to the U.S.
beginning on 25 June, ITAR-TASS and Reuters reported. The move comes despite a
public request by the Uzbek opposition parties Erk and Birlik that Clinton not
to meet with Karimov because of Uzbekistan's poor human rights record. However,
the number of U.S. companies doing business in Uzbekistan has increased
recently and observers have speculated that a failure to meet with Karimov
could prompt a negative response toward U.S. businesses in Uzbekistan. An
unnamed U.S. official also said that his country appreciates Karimov's "very,
very negative view of Iran," according to AFP. -- Bruce Pannier
UKRAINIAN LAWMAKERS FAIL TO AGREE ON PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTING NEW
Ukrainian legislators have postponed a debate over the draft
Ukrainian constitution until 21 June after failing to agree on the procedure
for its adoption, Ukrainian TV reported on 19 June. Communist deputies had
insisted that the debate be delayed until 9 July and that each article be
reviewed, while center-right lawmakers had wanted an immediate vote on the
draft as a whole and a third reading. Both proposals were rejected. The
stalemate prompted Serhii Teleshun, a top presidential adviser, to claim that
if the legislature fails to make a decision soon, a large group of deputies
might simply appeal to President Leonid Kuchma to call a national referendum on
the draft. -- Chrystyna Lapychak
KYRGYZSTAN, UKRAINE SIGN FRIENDSHIP TREATY.
Kyrgyz President Askar
Akayev signed a treaty on friendship and cooperation with his Ukrainian
counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, in Kyiv on 19 June, Ukrainian Radio reported. The
two presidents also signed a number of other agreements on economic cooperation
and academic exchanges. In a meeting with Ukrainian parliamentary speaker
Oleksandr Moroz, Akayev discussed problems facing the 90,000-strong Ukrainian
diaspora in Kyrgyzstan. -- Ustina Markus
UKRAINE TO RECEIVE MORE CREDITS.
The IMF will allow Ukraine to draw the
second monthly installment, worth some $100 million, from its $867 million
stand-by loan at the end of the month, an RFE/RL correspondent reported on 19
June. The same day, AFP reported that the European Commission will lend Ukraine
200 million ECUs ($246 million) for economic reforms. The credit will be
released in two tranches if Ukraine continues with its economic reforms, and
the shutdown of the Chornobyl nuclear power station. ITAR-TASS reported that
the World Bank will also give Ukraine a $250 million credit to reconstruct its
coal industry. -- Ustina Markus
KYIV MAYOR TO BUILD MEMORIAL FOR ORTHODOX PATRIARCH.
Acting Kyiv Mayor
Oleksander Omelchenko has pledged to build a memorial on the sidewalk outside
the walls of St. Sophia's Cathedral where Patriarch Volodymyr of the Ukrainian
Orthodox Church of the Kyiv Patriarchate was buried nearly a year ago, Reuters
reported on 18 June. Omelchenko has ordered city funds to be used for a marble
monument with a cross and columns on the late patriarch's makeshift grave in
the pavement. Mourners and Church activists failed to receive government
permission last year to lay the patriarch to rest inside the cathedral grounds.
Omelchenko said the cash-strapped city would allocate the equivalent of $71,000
"to correct this wrong." -- Chrystyna Lapychak
PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTMENTS IN BELARUS.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka
has issued a decree making personnel changes in the Security Council Commission
for Fighting Crime and Narcotics, Belarusian TV reported on 18 June. New
members appointed to the commission include deputy head of the President's
Administration Alyaksandr Abramovich, Interior Minister Valyantsin Ahalets, and
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Antanovich. -- Ustina Markus
PROGRESS IN SETTLING ESTONIA'S BORDERS.
Delegates from Estonia, Latvia,
and Russia, meeting on 18 June in Aluksne, Latvia, decided that the borders of
those countries would meet on the Pededze River, BNS reported the next day. An
official document, probably an international agreement, will be drawn up but
can be concluded only after Latvia and Estonia sign border agreements with
Russia. Estonia and Finland on 19 June concluded an accord settling their sea
borders. However, they still have to sign trilateral agreements with Russia and
Sweden on establishing joint borders. The Finnish-Estonian agreement is
expected to be ratified by the respective parliaments later this year. --
LITHUANIA CHANGES VOTING REGULATIONS FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS.
Seimas on 19 June voted 65 to 21 with seven abstentions to change the voting
regulations for parliamentary elections, Radio Lithuania reported. Of the 141
deputies, 71 will continue to be elected directly and 70 from party lists.
Voters, however, will now have the opportunity to influence the order of
preference of the candidates on the party list they support by expressing a
positive or negative opinion of each candidate on the list. They may also
express no opinion, leaving the order of deputies as determined by the various
parties. The ruling Democratic Labor Party supported the change, while some
opposition deputies voted against it, saying it will be much more difficult to
guarantee no irregularities in vote counting. -- Saulius Girnius
TENSIONS IN POLISH RULING COALITION.
Members of the postcommunist
Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), a senior partner of the coalition that has
ruled Poland since 1993, have increasingly come under attack from deputies
belonging to the junior partner, the Polish Peasant Party (PSL). PSL deputies
recently called for the removal of Privatization Minister Wieslaw Kaczmarek, a
member of the SLD (see OMRI Daily Digest, 14 June 1996). The weekly
Nie, which supports the SLD, published on 18 June a front-page report
that Sejm Speaker Jozef Zych (PSL) was imprisoned 35 years ago after accounts
had failed to balance at a summer youth camp where he had been a supervisor.
Leszek Miller (SLD), chief of the Government's Office, said recently that his
party may also call for the removal of other PSL ministers. -- Jakub
SLOVAK JUNIOR COALITION PARTNERS STEP OUT OF LINE...
The Slovak National
Party (SNS) and the Association of Workers of Slovakia (ZRS) sided with the
opposition at the parliament session that began on 19 June, Slovak media
reported. Several proposals were added to the parliament's agenda with SNS and
ZRS support, despite opposition from the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia
(HZDS). These included the expansion of the board overseeing the Slovak
Information Service, changes in the leadership of the National Property Fund,
Supreme Supervisory Office control over the fund, and an amendment to the law
on strategic firms. An opposition proposal for changes in the composition of
the boards overseeing Slovak TV and Radio was rejected, however. SNS chairman
Jan Slota does not consider his party's behavior a violation of the coalition
agreement. -- Sharon Fisher
...AND RULING PARTY CALLS SPECIAL MEETING.
Following the parliament
session, HZDS Chairman and Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar called a special
meeting in Trencin of party representatives from around Slovakia, Slovenska
Republika reported. HZDS spokesman Vladimir Hagara quoted Meciar as saying
that "relations in the coalition are not as they should be; the coalition
partners have [not abided by] the agreement." Hagara also noted that some local
SNS and ZRS officials "are strongly inclined toward the HZDS." In other
HZDS deputy and well-known businessman Karol Konarik has been
hospitalized after being physically attacked in Banska Bystrica during the
night of 17 June, Narodna obroda reported three days later. Konarik was
accompanied by a high-ranking regional police official, who was also injured.
-- Sharon Fisher
STILL NO CONCLUSION IN HUNGARIAN "OILGATE" INVESTIGATION.
Representatives of the Socialists and the Free Democrats--the two governing
parties--on 19 June walked out of a meeting of the commission investigating the
so-called "Oilgate" scandal, Hungarian media reported. They claimed they were
protesting the regular absence of opposition members at sessions of the
commission. Opposition deputies and the press previously revealed several
Socialist Party members' involvement in suspicious deals related to
Russian-Hungarian oil shipments, including the present trade and industry
minister and his immediate predecessor. Magyar Hirlap on 20 June
reported that the commission found major irregularities in the work of an
inter-ministerial commission set up to assess bids for settling the Russian
debt with oil shipments. Otherwise, an ominous silence has surrounded the
"Oilgate" affair since the parliamentary commission began operating six months
ago. -- Zsofia Szilagyi
HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT OPENS DEBATE ON NEW CONSTITUTION.
The parliament on
19 June began debating the new constitution and appeared most divided over
whether to include social rights in that document, Hungarian dailies reported.
The junior coalition party Alliance of Free Democrats and the opposition Young
Democrats are generally opposed to the idea, while most other parties are in
favor. A leading SZDSZ deputy said that although all parties agree that the
state must undertake social commitments, no Western constitution defines such
rights as individual rights. The question is especially important as the
country is reforming the welfare system. Incorporating social rights could slow
down such reforms, as was the case last year when the Constitutional Court
struck down several provisions of the stabilization program. -- Zsofia
U.S. TO START FIRST MAJOR REDEPLOYMENT OUT OF BOSNIA.
Soldiers of the
First Armored Division Headquarters, the Division Support Command, and various
liaison groups will begin IFOR's first significant move out of the war-torn
republic on 23 June. They will leave Lukavica in northern Bosnia for Slavonski
Brod, in Croatia, AFP reported on 19 June. There has been much discussion in
Western capitals about keeping the peacekeepers in Bosnia into 1997 to deter
any renewal of fighting, and U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry has
endorsed the idea. President Bill Clinton, however, has made election year
promises that U.S. forces will leave Bosnia by December 1996. Meanwhile in the
Adriatic, NATO and WEU ships suspended their arms control patrols, known as
operation Sharp Guard following the end of the UN's arms embargo on the former
Yugoslavia. Finally, British commander Gen. Michael Jackson said he will leave
his post on 26 June with mixed feelings. He is especially concerned with the
failure to enforce the Dayton agreement's civilian provisions. Britain's 8,700
troops constitute IFOR's second-largest contingent. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN SERBS SET AGENDA FOR BRCKO.
The Republika Srpska's legislature,
meeting in Pale on 19 June, elected Vitomir Pavlovic, a professor of
international law in Banja Luka, as the Serbs' representative to the
arbitration commission that will settle the fate of Brcko, as specified in the
Dayton agreement. The parliament also directed the cabinet to set down the
Serbian position on the future of the northern Bosnian town and the surrounding
land corridor that links the western and eastern halves of the republic,
Nasa Borba noted. Pavlovic said that previous international conferences had
"never disputed" that Brcko will remain Serbian and that "it was agreed in
Dayton that the Republika Srpska should have 20 km more in that region," Onasa
reported. The Bosnian government favors making a neutral zone out of Brcko,
which had a mainly Muslim population before the war. -- Patrick Moore
BOSNIAN SERBS TO SET UP SPECIAL WAR CRIMES COURT.
The Bosnian Serb
parliament also adopted the proposal to establish a war crimes court to try
Bosnian Serbs indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,
Nasa Borba reported. Parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik proposed
setting up the court because the constitution of the Republika Srpska prohibits
extradiction of its citizens. Officials have thus legalized their persistent
refusal to meet the Hague-based criminal tribunal's demands to extradite
indicted war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic. The Bosnian Serb
parliament also passed a partial amnesty for people indicted or convicted for
"disturbing the Republic Srpska's social order." -- Daria Sito Sucic
ROW OVER NEW HERCEG-BOSNA GOVERNMENT CONTINUES.
Bosnian Vice President
Ejup Ganic told the Bosnian Federation Constituent Assembly on 19 June that the
establishment of the new government of Herceg-Bosna was a "huge step backward,"
Onasa reported. He also deplored the "lack of political liberties" on the
territory controlled by the Croatian Defense Council. Opposition parties have
proposed that both Federation President Kresimir Zubak and Vice President Ganic
be relieved of their duties because they have not upheld the signed agreements
on the federation. Zubak said he and Ganic were unable to perform 80% of their
duties because the institutional framework was lacking, Hina reported. -- Daria
RUMP YUGOSLAV PARLIAMENT PASSES LAW ON STRIKES.
The rump Yugoslav
parliament has adopted a law on strikes that bans members of the government
administration and the police force from going on strike, Beta reported on 19
June. The new law also stipulates that those providing essential public
services, such as teachers and hospital personnel, do not hold strikes that
"interfere with the work process." Other strikes may be held only on the
respective company's premises. -- Fabian Schmidt
FINAL RESULTS OF ROMANIAN LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Romania's Central Electoral
Office on 19 June released the final results of the local elections held
earlier this month, Radio Bucharest reported. The ruling Party of Social
Democracy in Romania (PDSR) received 26.49% of the vote, winning 2,742
mayoralties. The opposition Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) came second
with 26.45%, followed by the Social Democratic Union (USD) with 13.15%. The
PDSR won 23.8% of the local councilor posts, the USD 15%, and the CDR 13.4%.
The CDR won the most county councilor posts, followed by the PDSR and USD. --
STORMY DEBATE IN ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT OVER SECRET SERVICE ACTIVITIES.
a session of the parliament's two chambers on 19 June, Senator Vasile Vacaru,
head of a joint parliamentary commission supervising the Romanian Intelligence
Service (SRI), spoke of "serious deficiencies" in the way the service
functions, Radio Bucharest reported. Vacaru pointed to confidential documents
having been leaked and phones tapped. SRI Director Virgil Magureanu defended
his organization. He also accused Corneliu Vadim Tudor, leader of the extremist
Greater Romania Party, of trying to bring the SRI into disrepute and of forming
an illegal intelligence structure of a paramilitary nature. Tudor vehemently
denied the accusations and asked for Magureanu's dismissal. Members of the
democratic opposition also called for the director's removal. -- Dan Ionescu
DNIESTER SENIOR OFFICIAL ON LEBED'S NEW FUNCTIONS.
chairman of the Dniester Supreme Soviet, welcomed the appointment of Lt. Gen.
Aleksandr Lebed as secretary of the newly created Security Council of the
Russian Federation and as presidential aide for national security issues,
Infotag reported on 19 June. Marakutsa expressed the hope that the former
commander of the 14th Russian Army "will promote the Dniester conflict
settlement." Referring to Lebed's strong criticism of the Dniester leadership
during his tenure in Tiraspol, Marakutsa said "personal ambitions must yield to
state interests." Lebed has described Igor Smirnov, president of the
self-proclaimed "Dniester Moldovan Republic," and his associates as
"criminals." -- Dan Ionescu
BULGARIAN AGREEMENT WITH IMF, WORLD BANK POSTPONED UNTIL SEPTEMBER.
World Bank's Board of Directors will not consider Bulgaria's application for a
structural adjustment loan until early September, Demokratsiya reported
on 20 June, citing the bank's representative in Sofia, Alberto Mussalem. The
bank is waiting for progress on structural reform, including the closure of
before it releases $60-80 million to used to
launch social programs for displaced workers. Meanwhile, the IMF's Executive
Board is to meet on 12 July to consider Bulgaria's application for a $400-450
million standby credit, but the newspaper notes that the board will likely
postpone doing so until the World Bank decides on its loan. Since foreign debt
payments before the end of September will total $499.6 million and the
country's foreign reserves are below $600 million, any delay in receiving
international support may be disastrous. -- Michael Wyzan
BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT ADOPTS PART OF MEDIA LAW.
The parliament on 19 June
passed articles regulating the activities of a National Council for Radio and
TV, which will be formed to oversee media operations, Kontinent and
Standart reported. The opposition opposed a provision putting the
council in charge of ensuring that the media abide by the law and their
licensing agreements, saying it violated the constitution. The council can
appoint and dismiss the directors-general of national TV and radio with a
two-thirds majority. It will be financed by the state budget. Until now, media
chiefs have been elected and dismissed by the parliament and the state media's
operations controlled by a parliamentary commission. The changes become
effective only after the media law is passed in its entirety. -- Stefan
U.S. WANTS ALBANIA TO HOLD NEW ELECTIONS...
U.S. State Department
spokesman Nicholas Burns has said "fairness seemed to be lacking" in the
Albanian election process, AFP reported. He has asked Tirana to organize new
and "totally democratic" elections in cooperation with the OSCE. Burns argued
that opposition parties were given only six or seven days to prepare for the
election re-run in 17 constituencies last weekend
and that international
monitors noted "gross irregularities" in the elections on 26 May. Meanwhile,
the Tirana-based Society for Democratic Culture, a U.S.-funded non-governmental
organization, has accused the state-run media of biased coverage of the
ballots, Reuters reported. -- Fabian Schmidt
...BUT ALBANIAN PRESIDENT GOES AHEAD WITH HIS AGENDA.
Sali Berisha has
announced that the new parliament will convene on 1 July, Reuters reported.
However, the Socialists, the Social Democrats, the Democratic Alliance, and
other opposition parties will boycott the legislature. Socialist deputy leader
Namik Dokle said "the Socialist Party does not recognize the results of the
election and considers the new parliament to be illegitimate," AFP reported.
The Socialists, the strongest opposition party, won five of the 115 direct
seats in the 140-member parliament. -- Fabian Schmidt
CROATIAN PRESIDENT IN ANKARA.
Franjo Tudjman arrived in Ankara for a
two-day state visit on 19 June, Western and Turkish media reported. Four
cooperation agreements in defense, education, technology, and tourism were
signed the same day. The long-awaited defense agreement foresees cooperation in
military training, logistics, and the military industry. Turkey has already
signed such agreements with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia. -- Lowell
[As of 1200 CET]
Compiled by Victor Gomez and Jan Cleave