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Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA), 97-05-20

Albanian Telegraphic Agency Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Albanian Telegraphic Agency (ATA) Home Page at <http://www.telpress.it/ata>

Albanian Telegraphic Agency

CONTENTS

  • [01] UNION OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS OF KOSOVA CONVENES
  • [02] PRESS REVIEW
  • [03] GREEK CONSUL GUARD DIES BY ACCIDENT IN GJIROKASTER
  • [04] "BASHKIMI" NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL OFFICE RAIDED
  • [05] DPA CHAIRMAN HAS RETRIEVED NO MONEY FROM GJALLICA - spokesman
  • [06] VACCINATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST POLIO ENDS IN DURRES
  • [07] BODY OF A KILLED YOUTH FOUND IN VLORE
  • [08] TWO PEOPLE INJURED IN SHKODER
  • [09] ALBANIAN PREMIER MEETS IMF MISSION
  • [10] FIRE ON MONEYCHANGER IN BELSH
  • [11] SERBIAN TRIAL AGAINST 20 ALBANIANS CONTINUES
  • [12] INTER-URBAN BUS SERVICES SUSPENDED IN SARANDA
  • [13] REPORT ON THE EDU FACT-FINDING MISSION TO ALBANIA
  • [14] ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CULTURE CONTRIBUTES IN PROGRESS OF ELECTION PROCESS
  • [15] PRESIDENT BERISHA IN THE TOWN OF FIER
  • [16] ONE KILLED AND ANOTHER INJURED IN SARANDE
  • [17] MEETING OF PRESIDENT BERISHA WITH PREMIER FINO

  • [01] UNION OF INDEPENDENT TRADE UNIONS OF KOSOVA CONVENES

    PRISHTINE, MAY 19(ATA)- The Union of the Independent Trade Unions of Kosova (UITUK) held its seventh convention in Prishtine yesterday.

    The most preoccupying issue of the convention was how to survive in the conditions of occupation and constant deepening of crisis, with the shortage of bread also threatening.

    The UITUK chairman, Hajrullah Gorani, said that out of the 2 200 000 residents of Kosova, more than 80 per cent is able-bodied, over 400 000 people are unemployed.

    Gorani said that Serbia is mercilessly exploiting the great resources of Kosova, destroying state enterprises and plundering private firms of Albanians.

    On behalf of the UITUK convention international Trade Unions were called on to support and defend the trade union and national rights of Albanians in Kosova, as without the solution of the Kosova issue, no other issue can be resolved. ag/b.j/pas/lm

    [02] PRESS REVIEW

    TIRANA, MARCH 20 (ATA)-Today's Rilindja Demokratike frontpages the meetings of President Berisha with the Democratic Party electorate over the last two days.

    The paper entitles its editorial: "Committees of the south catch Nano unaware".

    The paper also carries a statement of "The Union for Democracy" under the title: "The leftists artificially raise tension".

    On the second page, under the title: "The committees in the south increase terror against citizens as the parliamentary elections approach", the paper carries information covering the chronicle of crimes between rival gangs, crimes against honest citizens and the law, against bridges and other crimes.

    As regards yesterday's meeting of Prime Minister Bashkim Fino with the political parties and the draft-laws presented by the Prime Minister, the paper says: "The leftists put off their campaign".

    The paper accuses Finance Minister Malaj of lack of transparency regarding the pyramid loan-taking firms int he article: "Malaj continues to deceive". "The draft-law submitted to parliament by Malaj did not envisage control of the collapsed firms, but pressure on the remaining ones".

    Zeri i Popullit carries the editorial: "Do not provoke Vlore Mr Berisha!". Under the title: "NIS sows terror" and under the headline: "Criminal gangs-the armed wing of the Democratic Party", the paper carries a caricature of President Berisha. The paper also carries the speech of the chairman of the Socialist Party, Fatos Nano, in the meeting of Prime Minister Fino with the 10 political parties, under the title: "We ask Berisha to cooperate, there is no other alternative".

    As regards Berisha's meeting with the Laci electorate the paper says: "Berisha received in Lac with calls: "'Down with Berisha'".

    In the feature"Economy" the paper carries the article: "The DP hinders transparency of the loan-taking companies". The paper devotes its fifth page to the Albanian television: "The electoral campaign has started, the television has remained the same", the paper says.

    Republika carries the editorial: "Fair elections, the DP is winning". The paper says: "Gang clashes, the right arm of Zani killed". As regards the meeting of Prime Minister Fino with the political parties, the paper says: "Consensus still far-parties at deadlock-Opposition demands the law of elections, TVA and NIS".

    The paper also carries the article: "Gjallica's property passes through Ioannina", saying that Ioannina authorities are involved in the activity of the Gjallica collapsed firm.

    As regards Berisha' meeting with inhabitants of Lac, Rilindja says: "Yes to democracy, not rebellion". The paper covers the telephone conversation of Fino with Klinkel under the title: "The political forces should find compromise". The paper reports on the meeting of the President of Kosova Rugova with the chairmen of the Kosova Democratic League branches, under the title: "The decision to put off elections (in Kosove) supported".

    Albania carries the editorial: "Finance Minister Malaj discloses to Washington who has built pyramid schemes in Albania".

    "Candidature of Malaj for the post of Finance Minister was considered unsuitable even inside the Socialist Party, for the fact that Malaj has his own professional contribution to the building and functioning of several pyramid schemes," the editorial says.

    "Urgent meeting of the Financial Union: Vefa, Cenaj, Silva and Kamberi worried over the future of investment and terror against them", the paper says.

    The paper carries an interview with Shemsie Kadria, former president of the loan-taking collapsed firm of Gjallica, dismissing any interview with Zeri i popullit and says that she has given current Prime Minister Fino a tip of 100 000 dollars when he was the Gjirokaster town mayor.

    Under the headline: "Prime Minister Fino haggles to find consensus among parties", the paper reports on the meeting of Fino with the political parties: "Campaign on the hills of the dead" and "Parties continue talks , people continue to be killed". The paper carries the editorial: "Games on the abyss", referring to the party political game".

    It also reports on a bloody battle in Tepelene and Memaliaj: "Four killed, three wounded, bridges blown up".

    Koha Jone says: "CE asks agreement within Wednesday (among the political forces) or will withhold aid. Vranitzky issues another warning. Fino's round table again without consensus". The paper carries the editorial: "The ghost campaign". The paper also says: "Vefa brought to the court. It suspends liquidations".

    As regards the events in Memaliaj, where several people have been killed and wounded, the paper says: "Memaliaj, war tension".

    Gazeta Shqiptare says: "Parties at round table. Hell in the South". The paper reports on the OSCE impressions, after the latest visit of Vranitzky, and cites him as saying: "It is up to the DP to offer compromise".

    As regards Berisha's visits to Lac and Shijak, in the context of the electoral campaign, the paper says: "Optimism for the DP victory , charges against the SP".kei/lm/E

    [03] GREEK CONSUL GUARD DIES BY ACCIDENT IN GJIROKASTER

    GJIROKASTER, MAY 20 (ATA)- By H.Cani, The head bodyguard at the Greek consulate in the southern Albanian town of Gjirokaster killed himself accidentally on Tuesday while handling his weapon when he was on duty in the interior surroundings of the Greek consulate in Gjirokaster.

    According to sources inside the consulate, Nikos Markakis shot himself on the head.

    Sources of the embassy of the Greek Republic in Tirana confirmed to ATA that the late had been guard for several months at the Greek Consulate in Gjirokaster, and said he had killed himself while handling his weapon. He was 35-year-old, married and with one child.

    Shortly after this incident, the doors of the consulate building were closed and none of the Gjirokaster police commissariat officers, who guard it, have been allowed to enter.

    Experts of the district criminal police experts immediately went to the area but they are not allowed to carry out the expertise.

    Sources of the district military court say that Greek experts are expected to investigate, together with the Albanian ones, into the environments of the death of the Greek officer, whose dead body was immediately sent to Greece. a.ke/lm/E

    [04] "BASHKIMI" NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL OFFICE RAIDED

    TIRANA, MAY 20 (ATA)- By A. Frasheri, The editorial office of the independent newspaper Bashkimi in Tirana was broken into last night and all the material basis necessary for publishing the newspaper, such as computers, printers and other materials, has been looted.

    The editorial office of newspaper Bashkimi is on the upper floor of the building where the editorial board of newspaper Zeri i Popullit is as well located, at the "Martyrs of the Nation" boulevard.

    According to the information, only the editorial office of Bashkimi was the target of the raid, while the editorial office of Zeri i Popullit has suffered no damage.

    There is no idea so far on the authors of the raid.

    The material damage caused to the newspaper is estimated at 15 000 dollars and, as a result, further publication of the paper is impossible.

    The weekly, Bashkimi, began publication last Saturday after a three-month suspension. eva/lm/E

    [05] DPA CHAIRMAN HAS RETRIEVED NO MONEY FROM GJALLICA - spokesman

    TIRANA, MAY 20 (ATA)-The spokesman of the Democratic Party dismisses on Tuesday a report by Zeri i Popullit that the DP chairman, after curing his teeth at the Gjallica dental clinic in Tirana, has paid no money and has left, retrieving a large sum of dollars.

    This is alleged in an interview with the ex-president of the Gjallica company, Shemsie Kadria, published in today's issue of Zeri i Popullit.

    Asked about this accusation, Shehu said he rejected these slanders in his address.

    He said: "I not only have not withdrawn any money from Gjallica, but on the contrary, I have paid for the one-year treatment in its clinic. kei/lm/e

    [06] VACCINATION CAMPAIGN AGAINST POLIO ENDS IN DURRES

    DURRES, MAY 20 (ATA)- By S. Gjordeni, The vaccination campaign against polio for children between 0 and 5 which began in Durres district on May 5 ended ahead of schedule.

    Over 8000 children in Durres and 9000 others in the district communes have been vaccinated.

    The doctor of the first aid service department, Lida Boshku, says that vaccination against polio has been successfully accomplished by the district doctors, assisted by the French military contingent in Durres who was interested in the good proceeding of this process.

    On a district scale the children of the 0-5 group age have been vaccinated 100 per cent, while in the Durres city 98 per cent. The rest are children coming from the northeastern districts of the country and their registration is underway. eva/k/lm/E

    [07] BODY OF A KILLED YOUTH FOUND IN VLORE

    VLORE, MAY 20 (ATA)-The Vlore commissariat police sources report that the multinational forces today found the dead body of a teenager, but there is no complete information available yet.

    The situation in the city of Vlore, Southern Albania, during the night and this morning has been calmer than the previous day.

    Two meetings were held today with the multinational forces at the commissariat and the commissariat chief asked them assistance in equipment.

    "I have asked the "Alba" mission to intervene in case the commissariat is attacked," the chief of the commissariat, Haxhi Demiri, says and "today they approved this."

    "Schools have been functioning partially and they are not closed," sources from Vlore say.

    Two youths, Arben Latifi and Gjergj Cukalla, both 25, were killed on Monday at about 7.30 a. m. in a gun battle between two armed groups at the Rilindja quarter, near the oil middle school, while a man was killed by a stray bullet.

    "We are unable to control the situation, not because we have no staff, but we lack equipment", Demiri says.

    Haxhi Demiri, chief of the commissariat, replaced last week Milto Kordha, who resigned after declaring himself unable to restore order in Vlore. eva/lm/E

    [08] TWO PEOPLE INJURED IN SHKODER

    SHKODER, MAY 20 (ATA) - By Myfit Malja: Dritan Bushati and another person were injured on Tuesday morning by 10:30 in front of the town hall. A person in a motorbike shot them by fire weapons.

    The motives of this event are still unknown. The investigating group went to the spot immediately, and is working to identify the authors. Sources from the hospital report that one of the injured is out of danger, while the other had not come to the hospital for treatment.

    Forces of the Spanish contingent of the "Alba" mission are helping the police forces of the Shkoder commissariat. They are patrolling the main streets of the town with three armoured vehicles./mt/sh/

    [09] ALBANIAN PREMIER MEETS IMF MISSION

    TIRANA, MAY 20 (ATA) - The Albanian Premier, Bashkim Fino, held Tuesday a meeting with the estimating mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), headed by the chief of this mission for Albania, Mr Kekonnen, Premier's spokesman reports.

    Attending the meeting were also the permanent IMF representative for Albania, Mr John King and the Albanian Minister of Finances, Arben Malaj.

    Premier Fino thanked IMF on behalf of the Government for its interest and continuous help, particularly in these difficult moments Albania is facing. Upon the request of the mission, he mentioned the latest political developments in Albania, and the possibilities to overcome the political crisis through free and fair elections, which will also open the way for the solution of many other economic problems. Fino also spoke of several measures taken by the Government to treat the most urgent economic problems of the country.

    Mr Kekonnen appreciated the steps of the Government for drafting the budget, the fiscal policy and transparency of pyramid schemes. He focused on the main issues that come out in the economic and financial field, especially after the new parliamentary elections. He underlined in particular issues regarding the fiscal policy, strengthening of tax and customs bodies, keeping under control the budget deficit and inflation, application of right monetary policies, as well as reformation and privatization of banking system.

    With regard to the transparence and fate of pyramid schemes, Mr Kekonnen stressed the measures to avoid the further losses or damages of their assets, as well as the help and support of foreign donors for their recuperation. In these and other directions, the chairman of the mission expressed the engagement of IMF to offer technic assistance to Albania, which will be also escalated in other fields after the new parliamentary elections.

    Albanian Premier thanked him for the suggestions and agreed with the proposal of IMF and World Bank, so that on the verge of the Conference of International Donors for Albania, the Government and the Ministry of Finances present further steps in these fields, in cooperation with the above bodies. /a.ke/kled/mt/sh/

    [10] FIRE ON MONEYCHANGER IN BELSH

    BELSH, MAY 20 (ATA) - By P. Zekthi: In the outskirts of Belsh, near the place called "Pylli i Marinzes", a group of people with masks injured gravely two citizens, who were moneychangers. They are hospitalized in the hospital of Elbasan.

    According to the sources of the local police, the moneychangers were travelling towards Belsh in a private vehicle, when the terrorists have blocked the road and shot on them.

    A citizen of this town confessed that the authors of this crime are suspended to be some young men from Belsh, known recently in this zone for such acts.

    This is the second event in the district of Elbasan, where object of the terrorists' attack have been the moneychangers; the moneychanger, Albert Gjoka, 41, was killed ten days ago in his house./kled/mt/sh/

    [11] SERBIAN TRIAL AGAINST 20 ALBANIANS CONTINUES

    PRISTINE, MAY 20 (ATA) - The Serbian trial against 20 Albanians continued on Tuesday in its second day, under the supervision of many Serbian police forces.

    The act-accuse charges the Albanians for "terrorism" and hostile and illegal activity, as members of "National Movement for the Liberation of Kosova", but the Albanians do not accept the Serbian trial, the accuses, as well as to respond to the questions of the trial.

    The first person accused, Avni Klinaku, refusing the plea, has declared that the court's jury and the court, where this trial is conducted, are bodies established by the invaders and organized to judge the right requests of the Albanians.

    The trail against the twenty Albanians is going on in Pristina also in the presence of international observers. /ag/b.j/kled/mt/sh/

    [12] INTER-URBAN BUS SERVICES SUSPENDED IN SARANDA

    SARANDE, MAY 20 (ATA) - By Sh. Hajno: None of the buses left Saranda today for other cities and towards the capital, a source of the bus company in that town confirmed.

    The president of the copmpany, Fatmir Bajrami, told ATA that a cause for this interruption of the bus service was insecurity.

    There are frequent cases when buses are stormed by armed bandits, mainly in the Sarande-Gjirokaster and Gjirokaster-Ball roads.

    The news that mines were planted in some bridges of the segment Gjirokaster-Muzine, according to Bajrami, was the cause for today's suspension of the urban bus service from Saranda to other cities.

    [13] REPORT ON THE EDU FACT-FINDING MISSION TO ALBANIA

    25-26 APRIL 1997

    1) INTRODUCTION

    Since April 1996 the European Democrat Union has sent five delegations and observer missions to Albania to either assist the Democratic Party or to observe the parliamentary elections (May and June 1996) or the municipal elections (October 1996). The EDU Steering Committee received a full report of the Democratic Party on the recent developments in Albania. The Steering Committee adopted a resolution and it was agreed that another EDU delegation shall visit Albania when the circumstances doe allow.

    In April 1997, DPA - Chairman, Tritan Shehu, formally asked the European Democrat Union to send a delegation to Albania for collecting authentic information and to advise the Democratic Party on the further procedure in the preparations for the next elections. This request by the Democratic Party was also supported by the Albanian President, Dr. Sali Berisha. Hence, EDU-Chairman Dr. Alois Mock asked the Foreign Affairs Spokesman of the Spanish Partido Popular, Jose Maria Robles Fraga, to lead an EDU delegation to Albania on April 25 and 26 1997.

    The EDU delegation was composed as follows:

    Jose Maria Robles Fraga, MP (Partido Popular, Spain, leader of the delegation)
    Christos Valtadoros (Nea Demokratia, Greece)
    Henrik Toremark (Moderaterna, Sweden, European People's Party Brussels)
    Matthias Peterlik (DEMYC)
    Alexis Wintoniak (OVP, Austria; EDU Exclusive Secretary)

    The delegation met with the following representatives of the government and of Albanian parties:

    H.E. Dr Sali Berisha, President of the Republic
    Bashkim Fino, Prime Minister
    Belul aelo, Minister of Interior
    Albert Rakipi, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
    Prof.Dr. Tritan Shehu, Chairman of the Democratic Party
    Mr Meksi, Former Prime Minister
    Genc Pollo, DAP Secretary General
    Dr. Leonard Demi, DAP International Secretary
    Mr Fatos Nano, Chairman of the Socialist Party
    Teodor Laco, Chairman of the Social Democratic Union Party
    Vasil Melo, Chairman of the Party "Union for Human Rights"
    Zef Bushati, Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party of Albania
    Akil Murat Basha
    Prof. Abaz Ermenji
    Fatmir Mediu, Vice-Chairman of the Republican Party of Albania

    2) MAIN FINDINGS

    2.1 Security and state control

    According to official sources the state control could be reestablished in most parts of the country, except where the "committees" are still operating, i.e the major cities in the south such as Vlora, Gjirokaster, Tepelena. However, according to the delegation's observations the degree of state control varies considerably. According to many international observers and according to the international troops, which landed during the last days, the state authority is only exercised on a limited level. Even where the state and local authorities and police have reassumed their posts, they often are not in control over their territories. Rebel gangs are also operating even outside the cities held by the committees. Most courts and schools are closed. Even in Tirana, which is still under curfew during night time, it is not recommended to move freely.

    The Government recognizes that the full restoration of the legitimate authorities on the local level and the restructering of the police is the highest priority now. Bringing back security to the people certainly is the most urgent prerequisite to establish again statehood to the country of Albania. Therefore, the reinforcement of the Albanian police must be the first target in the restructuring process. In the course of the riots the police and the military were badly harassed, whereby many premises of the police and combounds of the military, their equipment and their documentation, were destroyed. A vast number of policemen, officers and soldiers deserted and have not yet reassumed their work. Still, the government is convinced that if all political parties call for the dissolution of the committees and the restoring of public order, this could be done by the police forces. However, given the dimension of the criminal gangs and the very high number of weapons around, this is challenged by many international observers. The whole country is heavily armed, not only with guns, but even with military combat material, such as missiles, mines, explosives, etc. Many ordinary Albanians have collected weapons just for having the potential to protect their families'lives and property. Nobody believes in the possibility to disarm the country now, since there is no trusting in the stability and safety which could be guaranteed by a state.

    In this environment, the international troops are all the more welcome. They are expected not only to bring relief in the humanitarian field, they are also urgently asked to help to restore law and order.

    2.2 The economic conditions

    The economic progress made in the past years has been destroyed by the riots within only a couple of weeks. The Albanian people is confronted with even more poverty. Many production sites - only recently setup with much effort - are destroyed. Not much is left from the economic growth of the past years.

    There are not data available on the current economic production or on unemploy ment. Still, Albania produces enough food to feed its people find it difficult to afford them, but there is no visible supply shortage. This has to be taken into consideration when humanitarian aid is brought to Albania , since the local and all other equipment for the health sector are strongly needed, since many hospitals were plundered and ruined.

    In a short term attempt to overcome the economic crisis , the government is printing money. This certainly is the major macro-economic threat to the re-launch of the Albanian economy. On the other hand many banks in the South were robbed by the committees. It is estimated that roughly USD 9 million were stolen by the gangs, thus fueling the illegal activities in Albania.

    2.3 The "Committees"

    It is obvious that the riots earlier this year had one spontaneous element and one organised element. The spontaneous unrest of bitterness caused by the collapse of the pyramid schemes was easily hijacked by an alliance of the old communist structures (composed of former military, police and secret service officials) and of new criminal structures active in organised crime. Strong ties between the key players of the old system and the new Albanian Mafia are obvious and together they used the people in fury for an attempted coup d'etat.

    Whereas the Democratic Party considers all committees as pure rebels, the Socialist Party and the other opposition forces draw a distinction line between criminal gangs and civil committees. They are for the prosecution of the criminal elements but they want to somehow integrate the "civil" committees into the political process by providing them with a platform to express their positions. On the other hand, the International Community , the President and the Democratic Party insist that the committees are not regarded as e partner in politics.This is in line with the Ten Party Agreement reached on March 9th, where it was decided that all parties shall engage in the dissolution of the committees.

    However , the relationship between the Socialist party and the committees is unclear. In a meeting on 27 March in Vlora , representatives of the Socialist party made an agreement with a number of committees that called for the resignation of all state authorities, i.e. The President , the national parliament and the local authorities and it was demanded to integrate the committees into the political negotiations. In the opinion of the socialist leader Fatos Nano these committees are a product of the crises, which was provoked by the police and the army. These committees were setup to restore order and to take-up the responsibilities which were abandoned by the civil structures. Whereas Fatos Nano makes a difference between the criminal gangs and civil committees the leader of the Democratic Alliance , Ceka, draws no division line but the regards all the committees as political forces. Fatos Nano acknowledges that the committees cannot be considered as legal or official, but since it were not possible to just dissolve them he is for integrating them so that they are brought to an understanding that their actions are illegal. Both the Democratic Alliance and the Socialist Party are said to having had close contacts with the committees from the very beginning of the riots. This leads to the assumption , that these parties are following a classical double strategy: On the one hand they play an important role in the national reconciliation government ( the Prime Minister is a socialist and half of the members of government are from the opposition parties) and on the other hand they are tolerating (if not supporting) the unrest in the South of the Country.

    It has to be stressed that the committees in the South do not only counteract the national authorities , but above all they destroyed the authority of legitimate local governments elected in ab undisputed election, on 20 October 1996. Therefore , also those committees called "civil" can only be regarded as anti-democratic and illegal and the Socialist Party and their allies must be pressed to cease their support, to dissociate themselves from the committees and to take take firm position against them and thereby to contribute to the dissolution of the committees. This dissolution of the committees is all the more urgent, since the restoration of state order is a precondition for the elections and the criminal bastions established in the committee run areas( most of the prisoners who escaped during the riots went to these lawless cities) need to be cleared.

    2.4 Elections

    As long as the state authority is not reestablished in all over the country, no free and fair elections can be held. There is no freedom of movement, no freedom of assembly, no freedom of expression in the region where the committees are in control. All parties share the opinion that security and order has to be reestablished all over the country before the elections are held. Although only the constituencies of 14 seats in parliament are currently held under the control of committees, the government and the President refuse to hold elections in the rest of the country, and this would endanger the unitary character of the country. Above all, it is expected that in many districts of Albania, socialist candidates would face the same difficulties of free movement and free election campaign as would the Democratic Party candidates in these districts of the South.

    The President of the Republic will setup an independent commission composed of international advisors and representatives of all parties to take a final decision on whether or not the conditions for general elections are met. However, the President, the leaders of the Democratic Party, the Socialist Party and most smaller parties are strongly in favour of holding the elections by the end of June. Especially the President repeatedly reiterated this commitment to fulfill the March 9 Agreement of the Ten Parties and the President. However, holding the elections in a free and fair manner is regarded as even more important than the date. Two smaller parties (the National Front and the Monarchists) favoured to postpone the elections to September 1997, when the situation in the country is more calm and quiet. Given that the previous election campaigns were already rather tough, this is plausible argument, especially when taking into consideration that today Albania is heavily armed. This fact is also a major concern of the government, as it is feared that a hot election campaign with weapons in the hands of many party fanatics might cause another bloodshed.

    There is a major disagreement among the parties on the election system. Whereas the President of the Republic and the Democratic Party strongly favour to maintain the current majority system, most of the opposition parties and the socialists are for introducing a new proportional system, based on the 1992 election law. The President and the DP argue that the country now needs a stable majority parliament to back up a strong government for restructuring the country. The socialists and many opposition parties are for the proportional rule, in order to have a more balanced parliament and thereby bringing back the political confrontation from the street to assembly. For the smaller parties this change of election law is vital and also the socialists do obviously not believe to obtain more votes than the Democratic Party in the forthcoming elections.

    The President announced that there shall be further improvements in the election law, providing for a double check of the entire election procedure by the co-chairmen of the electoral committees on all levels.

    Furthermore, the time on television shall be equally allocated to the parties and supervised by a commission as in the course of the election campaign in the 1996 municipal elections.

    The President, the government and all parties stress the importance of international observers from the beginning of the election campaign until the end of the election procedure. The President, the Democratic Party are strongly favouring the Council of Europe to exercise the political control of the entire international election observation. They are strictly against ODHIR assuming the ultimate responsibility for the international observer mission, as they are recalling the fundamental differences they had with ODHIR in the 1996 general elections. The President and the Democratic Party Chairman explicitly stressed that they are for ODHIR's participation in the election monitoring, but that they insist that the ultimate political responsibility for the election observation must be assumed by another international institution.

    CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    • The reestablishment of security shall be the prime target of the international troops in Albania. The support to reorganise , train and newly equip the police forces in essential not only for the country of Albania but also to prevent the establishment of a European crime platform in the lawless areas in the South of Albania.
    • Humanitarian aid shall primarily focus on medicine and health care equipment. Food aid must be carefully assessed, in order not to destroy the still existing national food production.
    • International support is especially needed to reestablish order in those areas which are still under the control of "Committees". First of, all, both the international community as well as all Albanian parties must in no way deal with the Committees as potential political partners. This requires from the Socialist Party and its allies to clearly disassociate themselves from these Committees.
    • * Elections are to be held as early as possible, ideally by the end of June 1997. However, the conditions for fee and fair elections must be met, i.e.order has to be restored in all parts of the country. Therefore, the dissolution of the Committees and the reestablishment of the legitimate state and local authorities is also essential for holding elections.
    • * The experts of Council of Europe and the OSCE shall contribute to define a suitable election law, which combines the majority system needed to allow for a stable majority in parliament, and the proportional system providing a balanced representation of the parties in parliament.
    • * International monitoring of the elections will be essential. Given the major differences between the government and ODIHR in the 1996 general elections, the overall political responsibility for the international monitoring shall be carried by the Council of Europe.
    • * The EDU shall continue its clear support for the Democratic Party both on the political and practical levels.

    [14] ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRATIC CULTURE CONTRIBUTES IN PROGRESS OF ELECTION PROCESS

    TIRANA, MAY 20 (ATA) - By Eva Allushi: The monitoring of the electronic media, the observation of the election day, as well as the sensitization against the elements before the election campaign are some of the directions where the assistance of the Association "For Democratic Culture" will focus, also in cooperation with the U.S. Democratic Institution, in the elections of June 29.

    Partner since five years with the U.S. Democratic Institute, the Association for Democratic Culture, has been present with its observers in seven election campaigns, held in Albania. This association has covered with its observers 50 per cent of the polling stations in the whole Albania.

    "At the beginning of this election campaign, the Dutch Embassy in Tirana, has given a financial support to the Association "For Democratic Culture", aiming to train the Albanian observers in the election of June," said the chairman of this association, Miranda Gace.

    The polls for the elections of June 29, realized by this association, first in Shkoder and then in many other towns of Albania, speak of pleasing participation of youths who vote for the first time. Thus, from 60 young men, who vote for the first time, 54 of them are convinced that they will change anything with their vote./kled/mt/sh/

    [15] PRESIDENT BERISHA IN THE TOWN OF FIER

    TIRANA, MAY 20 (ATA) - The Albanian President, Sali Berisha, went Tuesday to the town of Fier.

    The meetings of President Berisha started in the commune of Kolonje, district of Lushnje.

    Further on, Berisha held a brief meeting in the commune of Mbrostarit, in the entrance of Fier.

    The meetings of Berisha conveyed the messages of persistence not to stop from the road we have started and among Albanians, the values of the Fieri inhabitants, in their coexistence as myzeqars, mallakstriots, zames and kosovars, will be an excellent sign of the future of democracy and security for the development of the country.

    "But, let us leave the winter of rebellion behind, stressed Berisha. We, as Albanians and as a nation should protect the sacred and precious values of democracy."

    Berisha pointed out that the ideas and principles of democrats and those who did not want rebellion firmly faced the violent means. The rebellion was faced by the act of reconciliation and tolerance that the Albanians showed.

    Berisha stressed that the Democratic Party is conscious of the responsibilities and faults. He accepted that the pyramid schemes were a negative aspect of the DP governing.

    But, it has the force and devotion to make the complete transparency of this phenomenon. Even after the accuses of the opposition, today position in leading the finances, Berisha invited that on the basis of the complete documentation, which is at the disposal, the truth on the pyramids and the corruption should uncover.

    "But, if they could not do this transparency, I, added Berisha, will engage the foreign specialists, because we should not allow the organizers of rebellion to take Albania hostage in the spiral of usuries."

    Regarding to the pain against the destruction and losses, DP, with its short-term program, is engaged to offer social assistance, credits, employment, education, consolidation of institution, strengthening of order.

    With regard to this campaign, held in special conditions, June 29 should be a historic moment of Albania's salvation and its integration in Europe.

    Berisha invited all the electors of Albania to convert this campaign into the most civilized and free one.

    "I invite you to vote for the alternative of the Democratic Party, for the alternative of democracy, for the alternative of integration in Europe," said Berisha.

    Later on, this meeting continued with a conversation.

    Berisha explained several important factors of the stability of Albania in the program, presented by the Democratic Party, and added that through the best people chosen, the coalitions and alliances with the right wing forces would be made possible.

    Berisha held a similar meeting in the afternoon in the Kuman village, commune of Roskovec. /s.sh/kled/mt//

    [16] ONE KILLED AND ANOTHER INJURED IN SARANDE

    SARANDE, MAY 20 (ATA0 - By Sh. Hajno: Sources of the police commissariat in Sarande, Southern Albania, report that the citizen Zoi Dhrima was killed and Leonardo Lata was gravely injured, both inhabitants of Sarande.

    The event happened on May 19, when from a motorboat which was sailing near the coasts of the town, several people opened fire on a group of people who were staying on the side of the boulevard near the sea.

    According to the same source, the motives and the authors of this tragic event are still unknown.

    This murder carries to 11 the toll of the victims and to 90 the toll of th e people injured over the last three months. /s.sh/kled/mt/

    [17] MEETING OF PRESIDENT BERISHA WITH PREMIER FINO

    TIRANE, MAY 20 (ATA) - On Tuesday, President of Albania summoned in a meeting the Albanian Premier, Bashkim Fino, accompanied by Minister of Law, Spartak Ngjela. He informed them of his decision to delegate the procedural competence preceding the appointment of the Central Election Commission to the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.

    On the basis of this decision, having received the proposals by the political parties, the Government has compile and adopt the draft- decree for the nami ng of this commission to be presented to the President of the Republic to decree. With this decision, President Berisha delegates to the Central Elections Commission the competence to appoint the chairmen and their deputies in the constituency election commissions.

    They also discussed questions related with the application of the electoral law.

    President Berisha confirmed once more his commitment to cooperate for a transparent electoral process and for the realisation of free and fair elections. He asked from the Prime minister to invite experts and international institutions to observe and make the experise of the whole electoral process.


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