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OMRI: Daily Digest, Vol. 2, No. 223, 96-11-18

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

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

Vol. 2, No. 223, 18 November 1996


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] OPPOSITION DEMONSTRATION IN KAZAKSTAN.
  • [02] NEW SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT CHOSEN IN KYRGYZSTAN.
  • [03] KOMSOMOLABAD FALLS TO TAJIK OPPOSITION.

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [04] CONSTANTINESCU WINS ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
  • [05] SNEGUR TO FACE LUCINSCHI IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF.
  • [06] IS CROATIA'S PRESIDENT SERIOUSLY ILL?
  • [07] TENSIONS ESCALATE AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS.
  • [08] OPPOSITION LOCAL ELECTION VICTORY IN SERBIA?
  • [09] SERBIAN, CROATIAN INTERIOR MINISTRIES DISCUSS COOPERATION.
  • [10] MACEDONIANS VOTE IN FIRST LOCAL ELECTIONS SINCE INDEPENDENCE . . .
  • [11] . . . WHILE OPPOSITION ALLEGES FRAUD.
  • [12] OUTGOING BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR NEW GOVERNMENT, HELP FROM ABROAD.
  • [13] BIG PRIVATIZATION DEAL IN BULGARIA.
  • [14] ALBANIAN REAL ESTATE DISPUTE RESOLVED.

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASIA AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] OPPOSITION DEMONSTRATION IN KAZAKSTAN.

    Some 500 people gathered near the Academy of Sciences in Almaty to protest government policies on 17 November, Kazakstani TV reported. The rally, organized by the Azamat People's Movement, a confederation of independent trade unions, and pro-communist groups, did not receive official authorization as the government argued that organizers would not be able to "guarantee public order." Instead of holding an official rally, the organizers put on a "silent protest" and symbolically bound their mouths. Former Almaty Mayor Zamanbek Nurkadilov, a parliament deputy who has accused the government of corruption, also attended the rally. Police closely watched the rally; no violence was reported. -- Slava Kozlov in Almaty

    [02] NEW SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT CHOSEN IN KYRGYZSTAN.

    Following the Kyrgyz Constitutional Court's 12 November decision invalidating Mukar Cholponbayev's election as parliament speaker, the Legislative Assembly of Kyrgyzstan convened on 15 November to select Usup Mukambayev to be the new speaker, ITAR-TASS and RFE/RL reported. Cholponbayev had resigned on 13 November when the court found that he had not received the required majority of votes when elected in March 1995. At that time, only 29 of the 35 deputies were present, 17 of whom voted for Cholponbayev. In this latest vote, only 28 deputies were present, but 18 voted in favor of the 55-year-old Mukambayev. Cholponbayev was nominated again but refused the nomination. -- Bruce Pannier and Naryn Idinov

    [03] KOMSOMOLABAD FALLS TO TAJIK OPPOSITION.

    Tajik opposition forces took over the strategic city of Komsomolabad, 150 km east of the capital, Dushanbe, by 15 November without a fight, Russian media reported. Russia's NTV reported that the city is calm and the opposition has already replaced local officials. The opposition also controls a long stretch of highway leading west toward Dushanbe. Only 60 km separate government checkpoints on the outskirts of Dushanbe from opposition checkpoints on the same road, according to NTV. Opposition fighters are in positions only 12 km away from Dushanbe leaving the capital and the Khatlon region to the south as the only territory in Tajikistan under full government control. -- Bruce Pannier

    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [04] CONSTANTINESCU WINS ROMANIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.

    Tens of thousands of supporters of the Democratic Convention of Romania celebrated early today Emil Constantinescu's victory in the presidential elections, Romanian media reported. Official results of the 17 November second round of voting are due later this week, but exit polls show Constantinescu comfortably ahead of incumbent President Ion Iliescu. IRSOP estimates that Constantinescu is leading by 53.8% to 46.2%, while IMAS puts the figures at 53.5% to 46.5%. Iliescu has conceded defeat and said he will respect the wishes of the electorate. Constantinescu noted that the country's new leaders do not intend to exact vengeance. "The time for hate is over," he said. "There will be no persecution [or] punishment. We are going to build, not destroy." -- Michael Shafir

    [05] SNEGUR TO FACE LUCINSCHI IN MOLDOVAN PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF.

    Incumbent President Mircea Snegur will face parliamentary chairman Petru Lucinschi in the second round of the Moldovan presidential elections, scheduled for 1 December. The two beat out seven other candidates taking part in the first round on 17 November. Official results are due later this week. Meanwhile, preliminary results released by the Central Electoral Commission and reported by BASA press indicate Snegur won 38.24% of the vote and Lucinschi 24.90%. Vladimir Voronin, chairman of the Moldovan Communists' Party, took third with 11.59% and was followed by Premier Andrei Sangheli with 11.02%. Voter turnout was 67%, considerably lower than the 80% registered in the parliamentary elections two years ago. -- Michael Shafir

    [06] IS CROATIA'S PRESIDENT SERIOUSLY ILL?

    Franjo Tudjman was secretly admitted to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington for cancer surgery at the end of last week, CNN reported on 15 November. Unnamed U.S. medical officials and a Croatian diplomat told CNN and news agencies that his condition is quite poor and that he may not recover. Other Croatian officials initially spoke of routine tests, but his personal physician and an embassy spokeswoman claimed the president's condition is "excellent" and that he will soon be back at his desk and on the tennis courts, news agencies and Slobodna Dalmacija noted on 18 November. Word of possible cancer surgery came as a surprise to most observers because Tudjman (74) is an athletic non-smoker. Neither the opposition nor his own party has any readily identifiable strong candidate for the presidential vote slated for 1997, Novi List added. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] TENSIONS ESCALATE AMONG BOSNIAN SERBS.

    Cashiered Gen. Ratko Mladic and 80 officers sacked with him still refuse to accept their dismissal and are demanding negotiations with President Biljana Plavsic. She has so far refused to see his emissaries or acknowledge that there is anything to negotiate. Mladic's spokesmen continue to warn that the standoff could degenerate into civil war between his loyalists, on the one hand, and the civilian authorities, the police, and the pro-Plavsic military, on the other. Last week, the civilians shut down Mladic's radio station. It has since emerged that Mladic's backers took over the Zep television relay station on 12 November, thereby crippling the Republika Srpska TV network, Nasa Borba reported on 18 November. Plavsic ordered the sackings on 9 November in the hope of ending the long-lasting power struggle between the civilian and military authorities of the Republika Srpska. Plavsic has acquired the support of the international community, who had long pressed her to fire the indicted war criminal. -- Patrick Moore

    [08] OPPOSITION LOCAL ELECTION VICTORY IN SERBIA?

    The second round of voting in local elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia took place on 17 November. According to Beta, early returns suggest that opposition candidates have scored major victories in Belgrade as well as in a number of cities, including Nis and Kragujevac, both bastions of support for Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's Socialist Party. Should Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party and candidate of the opposition coalition Zajedno (Together), succeed in his bid to become mayor of Belgrade, he would be the city's first non-communist mayor since 1945. Official results are not expected before 19 November. Only 27% of the 7,670 local seats were filled in the 3 November ballot. -- Stan Markotich

    [09] SERBIAN, CROATIAN INTERIOR MINISTRIES DISCUSS COOPERATION.

    Croatian Interior Minister Ivan Jarnjak met with his federal Yugoslav counterpart, Vukasin Jokanovic, in Belgrade on 15 November to discuss the powers and organization of their ministries, Tanjug reported. They also tackled the subject of cooperation in crime prevention and combatting "international terrorism." A bilateral agreement may be reached following a visit by Jokanovic to Zagreb, Tanjug noted. The talks were held within "the framework of the implementation of the agreement on the normalization of relations between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia." -- Stan Markotich

    [10] MACEDONIANS VOTE IN FIRST LOCAL ELECTIONS SINCE INDEPENDENCE . . .

    President Kiro Gligorov's Social Democratic Alliance of Macedonia is expected to have won most of the seats in Macedonia's first local elections since 1991, AFP reported. Albanian parties in western Macedonia may win up to 40 town councils, Reuters said. In Tetovo and Skopje brawls broke out between supporters of the Party of Democratic Prosperity (PPD) and the Party of Democratic Prosperity of the Albanians (PPDSH), Nova Makedonija reported. The PPD reportedly lost against the PPDSH in most mainly ethnic Albanian constituencies. Neither preliminary results nor exit polls have been published yet. The ballot was monitored by 73 foreign observers who were due to visit some 600 out of 2,631 polling stations. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [11] . . . WHILE OPPOSITION ALLEGES FRAUD.

    Opposition parties said that many voters, including at least two opposition candidates, could not vote because their names were not on election lists, AFP reported. They also claimed that the number of registered voters in some constituencies was greater than the number of inhabitants. Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization spokesman Dragi Ivanovski is quoted by Reuters as saying that the Social Democrats have been seeking "a very small turnout so that the system of fraud can start functioning." He added that many people's names had been removed from electoral lists and that in one Skopje district, three streets had "disappeared." The OSCE monitoring mission said it is still too early to comment on complaints. Social Democrat spokesman Nake Stojanovski rejected the allegations. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] OUTGOING BULGARIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR NEW GOVERNMENT, HELP FROM ABROAD.

    Zhelyu Zhelev went on national television and radio on 15 November to appeal to the parliamentary parties to form a new government capable of resolving the country's economic crisis, RFE/RL and international media reported. Zhelev said the Bulgarian Socialist Party should make "instant changes" to its government or else cede power. He added that if neither the BSP nor the opposition can form a new government, an expert government "with guaranteed parliamentary support" should be set up. The same day, Zhelev called on the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and Russia to support "the last desperate efforts to save the reforms in Bulgaria." He asked for "expert, financial, moral, and political support" for the possible introduction of a currency board, proposed by IMF officials as a "key element" to stabilize the economy. -- Stefan Krause

    [13] BIG PRIVATIZATION DEAL IN BULGARIA.

    The U.S.-based General Chemical Group will purchase 60% of the state-owned Sodi Devnya works, a plant providing about 10% of the world's calcinated soda, RFE/RL reported on 15 November, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Rumen Gechev. The deal, said to be worth $160 million, follows the government's recent move to satisfy IMF requirements for speeding up privatization. In other news, bank depositors over the last 10 months have lost 43.38 leva out of each 100 leva deposited, Demokratsiya and Standart reported on 18 November. Standart also wrote that real inflation in 1996 is 538%, while the official rate is 200%. -- Maria Koinova

    [14] ALBANIAN REAL ESTATE DISPUTE RESOLVED.

    A dispute between dental students and Muslims training to be priests over a large building at Tirana University has been resolved, international agencies reported. Minister of Higher Education Besnik Gjongecaj announced that two floors will be used by the dental students and two by the novice Muslim priests. A court ruled last week that the building should be returned to its former owner, the Muslim community. That decision prompted protests by the dental students and brawls with the police. The building was a Muslim school until such institutions were banned in Albania in 1967. -- Fabian Schmidt

    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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