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Voice of America, 00-05-14

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

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] SENATE-KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)
  • [02] TURKEY/ISLAM (L-O) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [03] GERMANY ELECTION (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)
  • [04] GERMANY ELECTION UPDATE (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

  • [01] SENATE-KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY DAVID SWAN (CAPITOL HILL)

    DATE=5/12/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262331
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:
    /// EDS: Scenesetter for use Sunday night and Monday morning; timing of vote to be determined but not before Tuesday ///

    INTRO: The U-S Senate votes this coming week on a measure that could force the next president of the United States to pull American peacekeepers out of Kosovo. The current administration and its allies are fighting the idea, but it still has bipartisan support. V-O-A's David Swan has details.

    TEXT: The plan would cut off funding in July of next year for U-S ground troops in the Yugoslav province. To continue the mission, the president elected this coming November would have to request and receive specific authority from Congress. A Senate committee (Appropriations) cleared the legislation last week by an overwhelming margin (23 to three). The full Senate is now considering the proposal. Its supporters say they are reasserting lawmakers' traditional power over foreign deployments. They also argue the European allies should handle the job of peacekeeping on the ground, since Americans flew most of the sorties in last year's air war. Republican Senator John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee and one of the measure's sponsors, says the United States would be not shirking its duties by making an orderly withdrawal from Kosovo.

    /// WARNER ACT ///

    Is that too much to ask? Fourteen months hence! That's not cut and run. That's not undermining anybody. That's not sending a signal to (Yugoslav President) Milosevic that the United States is turning its back. No, it's simply saying to the men and women of our armed forces, to this nation, that we've done our share.

    /// END ACT ///

    But the plan's opponents say an American presence is still badly needed. Former NATO commanding General Wesley Clark, who commanded the bombing campaign, has issued a letter warning a pullout could lead to new violence. Senate Minority (Democratic) Leader Tom Daschle echoed the general's comments.

    /// DASCHLE ACT ///

    The (Kosovar) Albanians will rearm, which will encourage Serb military action. This will result in a significant increase in risk to KFOR, that is, our troops, and will introduce uncertainty for U-S military planning and increase instability in the region.

    /// END ACT ///

    A few prominent Republican senators, including former presidential candidate John McCain, are also opposing the cutoff. Mr. Daschle and other Democrats are trying to work out a compromise they and the White House can accept. If they fail and the cutoff eventually passes both the Senate and House of Representatives, President Clinton could veto it. But the administration clearly hopes to stop the proposal this week on the Senate floor. (Signed)
    NEB/DS/KL 13-May-2000 18:29 PM EDT (13-May-2000 2229 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] TURKEY/ISLAM (L-O) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=5/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262353
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: In Turkey, Recai Kutan has retained the leadership of the Islam-based Virtue Party. He received only 111 more votes than his rival Abdullah Gul at the party's convention. Reporter Amberin Zaman attended the convention in Ankara.

    TEXT: More than 10-thousand people gathered in an Ankara sports auditorium for the first convention of the Islam-based Virtue Party. It also marked the first time the leadership of the Islamic movement has been challenged in Turkey.

    /// MUSIC ACT FADES UNDER ///

    The convention kicked off with a festive air. Banners were waved, carnations and confetti tossed as popular music blared. The contest was between party chairman Recai Kutan, a 74-year old former engineer who represents the so called traditionalist wing of the party, and Abdullah Gul a 50-year-old Western-trained economist who is seeking to draw the Islamic movement away from its radical rhetoric. Analysts say Mr. Kutan had an edge over Mr. Gul and his fellow reformists because the Virtue leader was supported by Necmettin Erbakan, the founder of Turkey's Islamic movement, who led the party to power in 1996. Turkey's first Islamic prime minister was forced to step down after a prolonged standoff with the country's rigidly pro-secular army leaders. The military charged he had sought to introduce religious rule during a turbulent year in office. Mr. Erbakan was exiled from politics for five-years and his Welfare Party banned. The Virtue Party was formed in Welfare's place. Despite such restrictions, Mr. Erbakan continues to wield considerable influence over the Islamic movement. But in his speech Mr. Gul hinted that Mr. Erbakan's continued hold over the party was not necessarily a positive thing. He cited a probe of the Virtue party by Turkey's hawkish chief prosecutor, Vural Savas, who says it is nothing more than the continuation of Mr. Erbakan's banned Welfare Party.

    /// BEGIN GUL ACT IN TURKISH FADE UNDER. ///

    Mr. Gul pointed out that the party had itself to blame as much as, what he termed - undemocratic pressures that it was facing - for its poor showing in the 1999 general elections. He stressed he and his supporters agreed with the party's basic ideology, but took issue with its methods, which were frequently, as he put it not democratic. Many analysts say the leadership race was not really between Mr. Gul and Mr. Kutan, but between Mr. Erbakan and Istanbul's hugely popular former mayor Tayyip Erdogan, who had been backing Mr. Gul's campaign. A Turkish court slapped a lifetime political ban on Mr. Erdogan two-years ago over a poem he recited that was deemed to be encouraging a religious rebellion. The poem is taught in Turkish schools. Although Mr. Gul lost Sunday's race, analysts say the swelling support for the reformists reflects a nationwide desire for change among the Turkish people. As Mr. Gul pointed out in his speech, more than 60- percent of Turkey's population is under the age of 30. (Signed) NEB/AZ/RAE/gm 14-May-2000 17:08 PM EDT (14-May-2000 2108 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [03] GERMANY ELECTION (L-ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=5/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262334
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: North Rhine Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, began voting Sunday in what is widely seen as a test of the Social Democratic - Green Party coalition which rules at the national level. But as Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin, it is also a test of the chances of a comeback by the scandal-rocked Christian Democratic opposition. Text: This is not a federal election, but state elections in North Rhine Westphalia have more significance for the federal government than elsewhere in Germany. Not only is the state home to nearly a fourth of Germany's population, but it is also one of the few states with the same Social Democratic- Green Party coalition line-up which rules at national level. Six months ago, an election would almost certainly have meant the Social Democrats' first defeat in the state in 34 years. The national economy was in the doldrums, the national Government of Gerhard Schroeder seemed to have no direction and seemed unable to refocus on domestic issues once the war in Kosovo was over. Now, local Social Democrat leader Wolfgang Clements commands a lead of 5 to 8 per cent over his Christian Democrat rival Juergen Ruettgers. The Christian Democrats plummeted nationwide last December after revelations that former Chancellor Helmut Kohl had laundered secret party donations through the use of illegal bank accounts. The economy too has come to the Social Democrats' aid in recent months. Unemployment is falling - even in industrial North Rhine Westphalia - exports have risen on the back of a week euro, and there is a genuine sense of recovery in the air. The Christian Democrats also have a new, younger and more popular leader in the shape of Angela Merkel, and the gap between the parties has been closing fast. In the end, it may be the personalities of the local leadership which win the day in North Rhine Westphalia. Social Democrat leader Wolfgang Clements is a pragmatic modernizer, like Chancellor Schroeder and seen as the national leader's political soulmate. His opponent, Jeurgen Ruettgers is campaigning against the federal government's plans to grant 20-thousand work visas for computer experts from India and Eastern Europe with a slogan - Kinder statt Inder, or children, not Indians - which critics have denounced as racist. As North Rhine Westphalia went to the polls the Social Democrats still looked set to win - though their Green Party partners were less confident. But the opposition too is hoping a better than expected result for Mr Ruettgers will set them firmly on the road to a national comeback. (Signed)
    NEB/JB/PLM 14-May-2000 05:52 AM EDT (14-May-2000 0952 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


    [04] GERMANY ELECTION UPDATE (L ONLY) BY JONATHAN BRAUDE (BERLIN)

    DATE=5/14/2000
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-262350
    INTERNET=YES CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Germany's scandal-rocked opposition Christian Democrat party has conceded defeat in legislative elections (Sunday) in the country's most populous state, North Rhine Westphalia. State chief minister Wolfgang Clement has claimed victory on the basis of a commanding lead in partial returns. As Jonathan Braude reports from Berlin, interest now centers on the makeup of his coalition.

    TEXT: Partial returns gave Mr. Clement's Social Democrats 43-percent of the vote, while the Christian Democrats trailed with 37-percent. But for the environmentalist Green Party, which has ruled in coalition with the Social Democrats for the past five years, the election was a disaster. The Greens lost almost a third of their state lawmakers. The only real winner in these polls and the only major party not to lose seats was the liberal Free Democratic Party. It came from nowhere to win 24 seats in the state legislature and has overtaken the greens as the third largest faction. Now Mr. Clement has to decide whether to carry on ruling with the Greens or drop them in favor of the liberals. He has made his own preferences clear in recent weeks. He has said he feels more affinity with F-D-P leader Juergen Moellemann than with the Greens' Baerbel Hoehn. But in this Mr. Clement must take the national political situation into account. North Rhine Westphalia's state election is a vital popularity indicator for Germany's Federal Government. Not only does it have almost a fourth of the country's population, it is also the only state with the same Social Democrat-Green Party line-up as the federal government. Federal chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has made no secret of his preference for a continued partnership with the Greens at state level. After the polls closed Sunday, Chief Minister Clement said he would open talks with the Greens first. He said he was doing so out of loyalty, and that the talks would be serious. But he made no promises on the outcome. If the talks fail, the Chief Minister could still defy Chancellor Schroeder and turn to the Free Democrats instead. (Signed) NEB/jb/gm 14-May-2000 15:44 PM EDT (14-May-2000 1944 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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