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OMRI Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 205, 96-10-22

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 205, 22 October 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF LOCAL ELECTIONS.
  • [02] ACCIDENTS IN KAZAKSTAN.
  • [03] TAMERLANE CELEBRATION BEGINS IN UZBEKISTAN.
  • [04] LEADERS OF TURKIC-SPEAKING COUNTRIES MEET.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [05] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO BE PUT OFF.
  • [06] SERBS MOVING INTO SEPARATION ZONE.
  • [07] CAN SERBIAN POLITICIANS AFFORD TO ADVERTISE?
  • [08] MACEDONIA BEGINS COMPULSORY POLIO VACCINATION.
  • [09] SLOVENIA'S FORMER COMMUNISTS SAY "NO" TO NATO.
  • [10] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DAILY SAYS U.S. FAVORS ROMANIA'S NATO INTEGRATION.
  • [11] IS ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY DISINTEGRATING?
  • [12] IS IT KNOWN WHO KILLED FORMER BULGARIAN PREMIER?
  • [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.
  • [14] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CLAIMS ELECTIONS WERE NEITHER FREE NOR FAIR.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN OPPOSITION PARTY CALLS FOR BOYCOTT OF LOCAL ELECTIONS.

    The Scientific-Industrial and Civic Union (GAKM), an Armenian opposition party, has issued a statement calling for a boycott of the local elections due in November, Noyan Tapan reported on 21 October. According to GAKM, the elections cannot be considered democratic because of "the illegitimacy of the authorities and the constitution that have been adopted through falsifications." The statement concluded that all efforts to change the government through elections are now "fruitless" in Armenia. -- Emil Danielyan

    [02] ACCIDENTS IN KAZAKSTAN.

    An oil pipeline exploded near the Caspian coastal city of Aktau on 18 October, spilling tons of crude oil into the sea, RFE/RL reported. No casualty figures have been released nor has an exact assessment of damage been given. However, officials there say the problem is now under control. In the central Kazakstan area of Karaganda seven miners were killed in accidents last week on two separate days. The incidents occurred at the Shakhtinskaya and Dutovskaya mines. -- Bruce Pannier and Merhat Sharipzhan

    [03] TAMERLANE CELEBRATION BEGINS IN UZBEKISTAN.

    The much-anticipated celebration of the 660th anniversary of Amir Timur, or Tamerlane, began on 18 October, Narodnoe slovo reported, as monitored by the BBC on 21 October. Uzbek President Islam Karimov officially opened a museum in Tashkent devoted to the Central Asian figure, noting that "the civilized world has a proper appreciation of Tamerlane's undying service to mankind." The ceremony included readings from the Koran, blessings from honored elders, and a traditional plov (pilau) feast. For the next month, similar celebrations will take place throughout Uzbekistan. -- Roger Kangas

    [04] LEADERS OF TURKIC-SPEAKING COUNTRIES MEET.

    The presidents of six Turkic-speaking countries assembled in Tashkent on 21 October, AFP reported. It was the fourth meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkey. Discussion centered on trade relations: although the subject of Afghanistan was touched on, Uzbek President Islam Karimov said the heads of state "would not be dragged into settling political matters." However, some time was devoted to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliev again said that he was prepared to give maximum autonomy to the region but that "Nagorno-Karabakh will never be independent." The presidents signed a declaration condemning terrorism and separatism, and reiterating "their firm and unchanging commitment to the principles of democracy, respect for human rights and a market economy," said Karimov. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [05] BOSNIAN ELECTIONS TO BE PUT OFF.

    The local elections slated for 23-24 November will be postponed until spring, OMRI's correspondent reported. An announcement to that effect is expected from the OSCE on 22 October. The ballot was first put off from 14 September because of massive fraud, particularly by the Serbs, in registering voters in strategically important towns where they had never lived. The new rules require that persons register only for places where they lived in 1991 or since the end of 1995. The Serbs have threatened to boycott the vote in protest, claiming that the new rules will disenfranchise 380,000 Serbian refugees, Novosti noted. The November ballot was also endangered by numerous technical problems. The decision to postpone the vote was reached in Washington, Oslobodjenje wrote. The Clinton administration had wanted the vote to go ahead in November so that it could claim that "Dayton is on track," as a spokesman told the VOA. Meanwhile, U.S. envoy John Kornblum brought the three members of the Bosnian Presidency together for a meeting on 22 October, OMRI's correspondent said. -- Patrick Moore

    [06] SERBS MOVING INTO SEPARATION ZONE.

    The Bosnian Serb authorities have resettled 32 refugees who were living in Zvornik into a village near Jusici, where Muslims have begun returning to their homes, Oslobodjenje reported on 22 October. Some 350 additional Muslim families from that area want to go back, too, Onasa noted. In a related development, Republika Srpska Interior Minister Dragan Kijac said that the UN police have not been abiding by the agreement on the orderly resettlement and policing of the border area, Nasa Borba reported. Meanwhile in Sarajevo, the Centrotrans bus company said it may cancel its new Belgrade bus line unless the federal Yugoslav authorities stop charging for visas and insurance, Oslobodjenje wrote. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] CAN SERBIAN POLITICIANS AFFORD TO ADVERTISE?

    One second of television advertising time for parties competing in the 3 November elections can cost up to $113, Nasa Borba reported on 22 October. BK Television, particularly during broadcasts of the popular "Left-Right" program, is one of the most expensive channels. Morning prime-time and late afternoon spots on TV Studio B sell for about $30, while evening rates double. The most affordable spots are on TV Palma during weekdays, which sell for $10 per second. Meanwhile, opposition parties also have to contend with government influence over electronic media. Nasa Borba on 22 October carries a letter from the opposition Democratic Party to Serbia's minister of information summing up his influence over political reporting. The letter is published under the headline "If it Weren't So Tragic, It Would Be Comic." -- Stan Markotich

    [08] MACEDONIA BEGINS COMPULSORY POLIO VACCINATION.

    The Macedonian Health Ministry on 21 October announced that following the polio outbreak in Albania, a mandatory vaccination program for children will be launched, Reuters reported. Ministry officials also said that all Macedonian citizens traveling to Albania must prove that they were immunized against polio at least 15 days before their visit. At the same time, they stressed that they do not fear an epidemic in the border region. No cases of polio have been reported in Macedonia since 1987. -- Stefan Krause

    [09] SLOVENIA'S FORMER COMMUNISTS SAY "NO" TO NATO.

    The United List of Social Democrats (ZLSD), the successor to Slovenia's communist party, has said a government run by it would most likely not back Slovenia's NATO membership. Reuters on 21 October quoted ZLSD leader Janez Kocijancic as saying that "NATO is not the only alternative. The other is neutrality like in Austria, Sweden and Ireland." But he added his party would support the aim of joining the EU, noting there was no alternative to membership in the union. "Slovenians do not want to go back to the Balkans," he said. The ZLSD currently holds 14 of the 90 legislative seats. It was a member of the three-party governing coalition until its split early this year. -- Stan Markotich

    [10] ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT DAILY SAYS U.S. FAVORS ROMANIA'S NATO INTEGRATION.

    Vocea Romaniei, citing the Spanish news agency EFE on 22 October, claims the U.S. has expressed support for Romania's and Slovenia's integration into NATO structures during the "first wave" of new members. The daily notes, however, that while President Bill Clinton is due to give an "important speech" later today, he "is not expected" to name these states as candidates for NATO. The report appears yet another attempt by the ruling Party of Social Democracy in Romania to manipulate voter opinion ahead of the upcoming elections. -- Michael Shafir

    [11] IS ROMANIAN NATIONALIST PARTY DISINTEGRATING?

    Emil Pop, chairman of the Bucharest branch of the Party of Romanian National Unity (PUNR), has resigned from his post and party membership, Radio Bucharest reported on 21 October. Since the Party of Social Democracy in Romania broke its coalition alliance with the PUNR last month, several prominent members have resigned, including former transport and justice ministers Aurel Novac and Iosif Gavril Chiuzbaian as well as the party's general-secretary, Valer Suian. The resignations indicate a growing conflict between Chairman Gheorghe Funar and his deputy, Ioan Gavra, on the one hand, and many party leaders, on the other. Meanwhile, Senator Ion Coja, a well-known nationalist anti-Semite, has rejoined the party and is running for the Senate on its ticket. Opinion polls suggest that the PUNR will fare badly in the 3 November elections. -- Michael Shafir

    [12] IS IT KNOWN WHO KILLED FORMER BULGARIAN PREMIER?

    Novinar on 22 October reported that the Bulgarian police knows the identity of the man who killed former Prime Minister Andrey Lukanov earlier this month. Citing an unnamed police source, the daily reported that the killer is a 36- year-old man from Harmanli, in southern Bulgaria. and that the police knows his whereabouts but has so far been unable to issue an arrest warrant through Interpol. According to Novinar, the man left Sofia on a plane to Moscow at 10:10 a.m. local time (50 minutes after the killing) and then traveled to Western Europe. The paper claimed that the killing cost $120,000 and that the gunman has so far received $20,000. Meanwhile, Trud has published a police sketch of the suspect, which the police have distributed to local police stations and border crossings. -- Stefan Krause

    [13] BULGARIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UPDATE.

    Former Bulgarian Socialist Party Chairman Alexander Lilov told the Duma on 22 October that Bulgaria's president will be elected in the second round and that the opposition's belief that it will win in the first round indicates its inability to analyze the situation. At a widely advertised meeting between the BSP presidential and vice presidential candidates -- Culture Minister Ivan Marazov and Deputy Foreign Minister Irina Bokova -- and foreign investors, there was a poor turnout, Demokratsiya reported. Meanwhile, the company that has counted votes in elections since 1991 has refused to sign a contract with the Central Electoral Committee for the presidential ballot because, it says, the counting procedures are extremely complicated. The state firm Information Services, which is close to bankruptcy and already included in the mass privatization list, will officially count the votes. -- Maria Koinova

    [14] ALBANIAN OPPOSITION CLAIMS ELECTIONS WERE NEITHER FREE NOR FAIR.

    The Socialist Party on 21 October claimed numerous cases of irregularities during local elections the previous day, AFP reported. The Socialists alleged that voters in Fier, Vlora, Durres, Delvina, and Fushe-Kruja were intimidated and that secret police manipulated the vote at some polling stations. The Socialists however, pledged to participate in the run-off ballot. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has issued preliminary results suggesting that it won 61% of city halls, including Tirana, and 58% of commune seats. Reuters reported that the Socialists won only 6% of city halls and commune seats, down from more than 50% in 1992. President Sali Berisha said the result underscored the Democratic Party's triumph at the disputed parliamentary elections in May. In other news, bombs went off in Fier, Kruja, and Fushe-Kruje, Gazeta Shqiptare reported on 22 October. No one claimed responsibility. -- Fabian Schmidt and Dukagjin Gorani

    Compiled by Steve Kettle and Susan Caskie
    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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