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Voice of America, 00-01-23

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

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





    INTRO: Sunday was a day of reflection for more than four-million Croats who vote Monday for a President to replace Franjo Tudjman who died last month. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Zagreb that the battle is between personalities who may not maintain much power.

    TEXT: According to opinion surveys, the second president of Croatia could be the same man who was technically the last President of Yugoslavia's collective presidency. Stipe Mesic was prevented from exercising that office by Serbia's opposition. That political conflict led to Croatia's war of independence from Yugoslavia. Mr. Mesic's role in Croatia's independence struggle and his later break with President Tudjman over Croatia's interference in Bosnia have contributed to his becoming the favorite in Monday's presidential election. His political program does not vary significantly from his leading rivals, former student leader Drazen Budisa, and Croatia's Foreign Minister Mate Granic. The new Croatian government that takes power Wednesday supports Mr. Budisa's bid. Mr. Granic has broken with President Tudjman's former ruling party and plans to leave the party if he is elected. All three front runners say they support the new Croatian government's plan to limit the powers of the president. This move to a parliamentary democracy would seem to make the voters' choice academic. Zagreb political analyst Ljubomir Cucic (pronounced Yoo-boh-mir-Choo-Ceech) says Monday's choice may not make any difference.

    /// CUCIC ACT ///

    We might have a difference in styles of leadership, in communication skills, which is already present in the campaign, maybe in the way, how, they will organize their presidential offices. But in terms of a fundamental political message to the world, there is no difference - because who is in charge of new reforms to the constitutional system of the country is not the president anymore, but the government.

    /// END ACT ///

    All three front runners want to lead Croatia into the European Union and NATO. All three men want civilian control over the Croatian army and an end to Croatia's attempt to run affairs for Croats living in neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina. All three men want to root out corruption in the Croatian economy. Mr. Cucic says the 65-year-old Mr. Mesic appears to be winning the personality battle with his two leading rivals.

    /// CUCIC ACT ///

    He has a charisma as a national leader that others do not. Second reason is the complete disarray in the H-D-Z (Croatian Democratic Union) after Tudjman's death and the (party's) loss in the parliamentary elections. What Granic lost, Mesic got. And the third thing is that his counter candidate from the opposition party group, Mr. Budisa, has a difficulty to really articulate his main political ideas, a little difficulty to communicate in a soft, charming and easy way where Mesic himself is a master.

    /// END ACT ///

    If no one wins 50-percent Monday, as appears likely, a run-off between the top two presidential contenders will take place February seventh. By that time, the new parliament may be on its way to making sure that Croatia's second President will be a ceremonial head of state. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/DW/RAE 23-Jan-2000 09:43 AM EDT (23-Jan-2000 1443 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America



    INTRO: More than four-million Croats are eligible to vote (Monday) for a new president to replace Franjo Tudjman who died last month. Correspondent Ron Pemstein reports from Zagreb, personality may determine the decision.

    TEXT: The three top contenders agree Croatia should make political and economic reforms to help the country join NATO and the European Union. They also agree that the new Croatian government that takes power Wednesday should turn Croatia into a parliamentary democracy, instead of a presidential system. This political agreement has turned the election for Croatia's second president into a personality contest. Opinion surveys say the leading candidate is the man with the best personality, 65-year old Stipe Mesic. Mr. Mesic was the last President of Yugoslavia's collective presidency ahead of Croatia's war of independence from Yugoslavia. If no one wins 50-percent, a runoff will be held February seventh. This first round may determine who joins Mr. Mesic in the run-off, former student leader Drazen Budisa, or foreign minister Mate Granic. (SIGNED)
    NEB/RP/DW 23-Jan-2000 12:03 PM EDT (23-Jan-2000 1703 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America


    /// re-running w/change spelling in 1rst graph of second page///

    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,LEFT 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 19:08 PM EDT (23-Jan-2000 0008 UTC)
    Source: Voice of America
    Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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