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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 186, 96-09-25

Open Media Research Institute: Daily Digest Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Open Media Research Institute <http://www.omri.cz>

Vol. 2, No. 186, 25 September 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] TER-PETROSSYAN LEADS IN ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION . . .
  • [02] . . . BUT OPPOSITION CHALLENGES RESULTS.
  • [03] MENAGHARISHVILI, SHEVARDNADZE ON ABKHAZIA.
  • [04] DEPUTY MINISTER SLAIN IN UZBEKISTAN.
  • [05] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER WINS VOTE OF CONFIDENCE.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [06] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO BE VALIDATED . . .
  • [07] . . . BUT NOT WITHOUT PROTESTS.
  • [08] TRIAL OF CROATIAN JOURNALISTS RESUMES.
  • [09] WILL FORMER RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR ENTER POLITICAL RACE?
  • [10] SLOVENIAN JUSTICE SURVIVES BOMBING ATTEMPT.
  • [11] ROMANIA'S RULING PARTY DEFEATED OVER BANK PRIVATIZATION.
  • [12] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT COMMISSION RULES ON ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION.
  • [13] BULGARIA'S BASE INTEREST NEARLY TRIPLES.
  • [14] BULGARIAN TRADE UNIONS DEMAND GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION.
  • [15] ALBANIANS CLASH WITH POLICE IN LAND DISPUTE.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] TER-PETROSSYAN LEADS IN ARMENIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION . . .

    According to data released at midday on 24 September by the Central Electoral Commission, incumbent Levon Ter-Petrossyan received 52.32% of the votes cast in the 22 September presidential election, while his principal challenger Vazgen Manukyan gained 40.73%, Noyan Tapan reported. Voter turnout was given at 58.25%. In Yerevan, with returns from one district still outstanding, Manukyan's share of the vote was 53% compared with 41% for Ter-Petrossyan. Simon Osborn, who coordinated the OSCE/ODIHR election monitoring mission, told a news conference on 24 September that the 89 foreign observers had noted several flagrant violations, including the theft of ballot boxes in one Yerevan precinct, but that these were not of a magnitude to cast doubt on the overall results, Western agencies reported. -- Liz Fuller

    [02] . . . BUT OPPOSITION CHALLENGES RESULTS.

    Representatives of the National Accord opposition bloc supporting Manukyan staged demonstrations outside the parliament and Central Electoral Commission buildings in Yerevan on 24 September to protest the alleged falsification of the election results, Western agencies reported. At an evening rally in Manukyan's support attended by some 120,000 people, the bloc issued a statement calling on the international community to give an honest assessment of the results, which were described as an attempted coup d'etat, Noyan Tapan reported. In an interview with RFE/RL on 24 September, Manukyan, whose proxies were present at the vote count in many electoral precincts, said he would accept any election returns put out by the CEC that tallied with those compiled by his own team. -- Liz Fuller

    [03] MENAGHARISHVILI, SHEVARDNADZE ON ABKHAZIA.

    Georgian Foreign Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told the UN General Assembly that "aggressive separatism" should be punished by sanctions, in particular an arms embargo, Reuters reported on 23 September. He claimed that despite concessions from the Georgian government, it has been impossible for Tbilisi to reach a political settlement with Sukhumi, and he called on the UN Security Council to work out new measures to resolve the Abkhaz conflict. Meanwhile, in Georgia itself, President Eduard Shevardnadze called on Moscow to sever its ties with Abkhazia, except mediation contacts, and likened Sukhumi's plans to hold elections in November while some 250,000-300,000 inhabitants of Abkhazia are exiles to "political sadism." -- Lowell Bezanis

    [04] DEPUTY MINISTER SLAIN IN UZBEKISTAN.

    Deputy Communications Minister Vladimir Kravchenko was killed at his home on 24 September, ITAR-TASS reported. No motive or suspects have been identified. Kravchenko died after being stabbed six times. -- Lowell Bezanis

    [05] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER WINS VOTE OF CONFIDENCE.

    The Legislative Assembly of the Kyrgyz parliament on 24 September narrowly approved a vote of confidence in its speaker, Mukar Cholponbayev, RFE/RL reported. Cholponbayev was accused of corruption in connection with the 1995 transfer of 1.5 million som (about $125,000) to Ak-Shoumkar, a firm owned by his wife. Cholponbayev barely received the necessary votes; only 28 of the 35 deputies attended, 15 voted for the confidence motion, 11 against, and two abstained. The chairman of the committee investigating the charges against Cholponbayev, Oktyabr Musulmakulov, said that 3,202,000 som were transferred to Ak-Shoumkar and so far only 140,000 som had been returned. Cholponbayev promised all the funds would be returned by 1 December this year. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [06] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO BE VALIDATED . . .

    OSCE's election coordinator Ed Van Thijn on 24 September said he will recommend that the 14 September vote be certified. He admitted that the ballot was not "free or fair" but denied that there was "fraud or manipulation...of sufficient magnitude to affect the [results of the] elections." He added, however, that freedom of movement and association will have to be ensured before local elections can be held and that the nagging problem of voter registration lists will have to be solved as well, Onasa reported. This means that the local elections could be postponed until early 1997, the BBC noted. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] . . . BUT NOT WITHOUT PROTESTS.

    Parties now have 72 hours to protest the results, after which the OSCE has another 72 hours to consider those complaints. Challenges have already come from the Muslim Party of Democratic Action. AFP quoted Biljana Plavsic, acting president of the Republika Srpska, as claiming on 24 September that "the figures have been adjusted in order to answer the political needs of some. This adjustment has been accomplished with the help of illegal ballots that the electoral commission of the Republika Srpska was unable to check. The Republika Srpska cannot accept a revision of the results relying on these mysterious ballots." -- Patrick Moore

    [08] TRIAL OF CROATIAN JOURNALISTS RESUMES.

    Proceedings begin again on 25 September in Zagreb against Viktor Ivancic, the editor in chief of Feral Tribune, and Marinko Culic, who writes for the same outspoken satirical weekly. The trial resumes after a three-month break in what is widely seen as a test for the new press law, which allows the government to silence and jail journalists by claiming that they slandered high officials or revealed "state secrets." The two men are accused of defaming President Franjo Tudjman, international media noted. Croatia has been widely criticized for the vague new legislation, and there were some expectations that the charges would be quietly dropped during the recess. Opponents of the law charge that by providing special protection from criticism for the five top government officials, the measure violates the constitution, which guarantees equality before the law for all citizens. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] WILL FORMER RUMP YUGOSLAV BANK GOVERNOR ENTER POLITICAL RACE?

    Dragoslav Avramovic has been asked to head the list of the Zajedno (Together) coalition, which consists of the Serbian Renewal Movement, the Democratic Party, and the Serbian Civic League, in the 3 November federal elections, Nasa Borba reported on 25 September. Avramovic, who is expected to announce tomorrow whether he will accept, initiated economic reforms in 1994. He is regarded by opposition politicians as one of the few public figures who may appeal to enough voters to oust the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia. -- Stan Markotich

    [10] SLOVENIAN JUSTICE SURVIVES BOMBING ATTEMPT.

    Judge Konrad Rebernik was unhurt after a bomb exploded near his Maribor home on 24 September, local media reported. Rebernik's wife, however, was rushed to hospital for treatment for serious but unspecified injuries resulting from the incident. This is the first time a senior member of the Slovenian judiciary has been the target of such action. Rebernik is head of Maribor's regional criminal court and has been involved in criminal law for the past seven years. -- Stan Markotich

    [11] ROMANIA'S RULING PARTY DEFEATED OVER BANK PRIVATIZATION.

    The Party of Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR) on 24 September was defeated over a draft law on the privatization of banks with majority state capital, local media reported. The democratic opposition was supported by the ultra- nationalist Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), a former PDSR ally, in rejecting the draft legislation, which it described as de facto sanctioning the communist "nationalization" of the banking system. The text, which was previously adopted by the Senate, was sent to a commission of experts to be amended. Romanian TV commented that the ruling party is experiencing "the consequences of the lack of parliamentary support" following its break with the PUNR earlier this month. -- Dan Ionescu

    [12] ROMANIAN PARLIAMENT COMMISSION RULES ON ANTI-GAY LEGISLATION.

    The parliamentary Mediation Commission on 24 September overruled a Chamber of Deputies decision to make homosexuality a crime in Romania, domestic media reported. The commission opted for the text adopted earlier by the Senate stating that relations between people of the same sex are punishable only if they are "performed in public" or "provoke a scandal." The only opposing vote was cast by deputy Rasvan Dobrescu of the National Peasant Party- -Christian Democratic. -- Dan Ionescu

    [13] BULGARIA'S BASE INTEREST NEARLY TRIPLES.

    The Central Bank on 23 September raised the base interest to 300% from 108% in a bid to restore depositors' confidence in banking institutions and the lev, international and national media reported. The move is also aimed at assuaging public anxieties and thereby preventing a run on deposits, which could lead to the further collapse of banks. Deposits are to be guaranteed up to 100%, parliamentary Budget Commission chief Kiril Zhelev said. But Standart has warned that with much of the public's money already in the banks, the government could be tempted to raise the exchange rate for the dollar to 1,000 leva and lower the interest rate to, for example, 40%. -- Maria Koinova

    [14] BULGARIAN TRADE UNIONS DEMAND GOVERNMENT'S RESIGNATION.

    The leaders of the two biggest trade unions have demanded the cabinet's resignation following its decision to sell 15 large state-owned companies, Reuters and Trud reported on 24 September. That decision was taken in an effort to obtain new loans from the IMF. The unions plan to establish a joint strike committee next week and to press ahead with protests and nationwide strikes. The same day, Premier Zhan Videnov said that in the case of the 15 companies, the government expects privatization deals worth more than $1 billion. In other news, the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry ordered Slavi Pashovsky, the country's ambassador to the UN, to resign after he accused his government of seeking to subvert democracy (see ). -- Maria Koinova

    [15] ALBANIANS CLASH WITH POLICE IN LAND DISPUTE.

    Some 400 Albanians clashed with police on 24 September over the setting up of barricades on the main road between Tirana-Durres to protest the police destruction of three illegally-built houses in the area last week, Republika reported. Four protesters and five policemen were injured, while 20 people were arrested. Protests began following the Tirana city hall's decision to award the disputed land as compensation and to order the three families living there to leave. Similar clashes occurred in 1995, when police were forced to beat a retreat. After that incident, authorities formally approved the construction of new settlements. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and y.....
    News and information as of 1200 CET


    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz.


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