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Voice of America, 00-01-22

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://>





    INTRO: Croatians vote Monday to choose a replacement for President Franjo Tudjman, who died last month. Mr. Tudjman dominated Croatian politics ever since the country won its independence from Yugoslavia. V-O-A's Ron Pemstein reports from Zagreb that the leading candidates are abandoning Mr. Tudjman's legacy. Text:

    /// Campaign music Act establish and fade
    The candidate of President Tudjman's party uses nationalist music such as "Viva Croatia" to attract the nostalgic voters. However, outgoing Foreign Minister Mate Granic (pronounced Ma-tey Grah-neech) is running away from the ruling party and the international isolation that President Tudjman's policies have left Croatia. Mr. Granic says he will leave the Croatian Democratic Union if he wins the Presidency. Many party leaders considered the balding, 52-year-old Mr. Granic too moderate to be their candidate. But they had little choice after Croatian voters reduced the ruling party to a minority in the elections to parliament on January 3rd. Mr. Granic does not hide his international experience. His commercials show him with Pope John Paul, with U-S Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook. A safe choice is the message. It appears not to be working. The latest opinion surveys show Mr. Granic running third and failing to qualify for a run-off that will be held February 8th if no one wins 50 percent on Monday.

    /// Rock music Act establish and fade ///

    The former opposition parties use rock music concerts to attract their crowds. The opposition has united around the leader of the Social Liberals, 51-year-old Drazen Budisa, (pronounced Drah-zen Boo-dee-shah) as their presidential candidate. The leader of the Social Democrats, Ivica Racan, (pronounced Eve-eh cha Rah-Chan) will become prime minister next week. Mr. Racan appeared at Mr. Budisa's last rally to urge voters to change the top of the government in the same way they changed the parliament. Mr. Budisa wants to bring Croatia back to the world too as part of the European Union and he wants the Croatian military to get out of politics and meet NATO's standards. Like Mr. Granic, Mr. Budisa is a wooden (awkward) campaigner. Opinion surveys show him qualifying for the run-off, but his polling numbers have stayed virtually flat throughout the campaign. The real surprise is the man leading the opinion surveys going into Monday's election. Stipe Mesic (pronounced Stee-pay May-seech) started his campaign by meeting voters for coffee. He did not even manage to win a seat in parliament. Slowly, these meetings in coffeehouses started to grow. Mr. Mesic appeared accessible and comfortable chatting with voters. Slowly his plain talking and his resume started attracting more attention. Mr. Mesic was the last president of the rotating Yugoslav presidency. His battles with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic in 1991 give him nationalist credentials. His break with President Tudjman over Croatia's interference in Bosnia sent Mr. Mesic into political oblivion for five years. This principled stand also makes him an important opposition figure today. Now, the 65-year-old Mr. Mesic is attracting young people to his rallies with rock concerts and his promises that Croatia will never again interfere in Bosnia.
    /// Mesic Act in Croatian and Fade Under
    Mr. Mesic says Croatia will maintain an interest in the Croats living in Bosnia but it will not pay their bills and will not set up the structure of a Herceg- Bosna - the Croatian mini state in Bosnia-Herzegovina that President Tudjman supported. No matter which two of the three front runners makes the run-off, all three men are committed to the opposition's plan to limit the powers of Croatia's president and to turn Croatia into a parliamentary democracy that will try to join the European Union and NATO. (Signed)
    NEB/RP/DW/JP 22-Jan-2000 11:57 AM EDT (22-Jan-2000 1657 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: Yugoslav police announced Saturday the arrest of three suspects in connection with the murder,one week ago of Serb Paramilitary leader Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as "Arkan",who was indicted for war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia. Stefan Bos reports from Budapest although investigators say they cannot link politics to the killing, opposition leaders claim the murder was the work of the Serbian Government.

    TEXT: The 47-year old Serb warlord "Arkan" was shot to death in the lobby of Belgrade's Inter Continental Hotel. Two other men, a friend of the warlord and a policeman were also killed during the attack. Police officials in Belgrade say that the 23-year old alleged trigger man, Dobrosav Gavric, was arrested on the day of the killing,in a hospital,where he was treated for his wounds during the gun battle with Mr. Arkan's bodyguards. His two accomplices were arrested afterward. (Dejan Pitulic, 33-year old and Vujadin Krstic, 36-year old) Serbian police said all three men had contacts with the underworld,and Mr. Gavric along with 33-year old Dejan Pitulic worked as policemen until mid 1999. Both men were asked to leave the police force because of their alleged ties with criminals. That is one of the reasons why Serbian police and the Authorities in Belgrade are claiming that Mr. Arkan's death was crime-related, and that there were no political motives behind the killings. But Serbian opposition politicians and independent media have questioned that explanation. They said Mr. Arkan may have been killed for trying to bargain a deal with the United Nations Tribunal in The Hague, which indicted him for war crimes mostly in Bosnia and Croatia. A spokesman for the war crimes tribunal confirmed that intermediaries purportedly representing the Warlord had contacted the court last year, to discuss his case. Opposition parties argue that his death will make it much more difficult for International Community to find out the truth about President Milosovic role in the Yugoslav conlicts wich began in Slovenia and soon led to ethnic cleansing in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

    /// Rest Optional ///

    Mr. Arkan, who was buried earlier this week, leaved behind his black-uniformed army, known as the Tigers, who were viewed with terror by Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Kosovo Albanians during the Yugoslav wars since 1990. He also had interests in many business operations including pastry shops as well as casino's, and even owned one of Yugoslavia's leading football clubs. The warlord was also wanted in six European countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgiums for bank robberies and other crimes. But he escaped from a courtroom in Sweden and a Dutch jail, after which he began a notorious life which led to an indictment for war crimes against humanity. (Signed)
    NEB/PT 22-Jan-2000 18:47 PM EDT (22-Jan-2000 2347 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
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