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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 220, 99-11-11

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty <http://www.rferl.org>

RFE/RL NEWSLINE

Vol. 3, No. 220, 11 November 1999


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION SAYS NEW DRAFT MEDIA LAW UNDEMOCRATIC
  • [02] AZERABIAJNI POLITICAL PARTIES SIGN NEW STATEMENT ON KARABAKH
  • [03] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT CALLS FOR GREATER OSCE EFFORT TO
  • [04] AZERBAIJAN DENIES IT WILL HOST CHECHEN FIGHTERS...
  • [05] ...WHILE GEORGIA SAYS IT WILL NOT TAKE IN CHECHEN GOVERNMENT
  • [06] TWO GEORGIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGAIN CLAIM ELECTION OUTCOME
  • [07] KAZAKHSTAN'S NEW GOVERNMENT SWORN IN
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT SLAMS OSCE...
  • [09] ...WHILE OSCE OFFICIAL REJECTS NAZARBAEV'S CRITICISM
  • [10] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTY WANTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING ON

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [11] CROATIAN PRESIDENT'S HEALTH TAKING TURN FOR WORSE?
  • [12] CROATIAN SERB LEADER URGES SERBS TO VOTE
  • [13] NATO: CROATIAN SECURITY FORCES INVOLVED IN BOSNIAN CRIME
  • [14] HAGUE COURT GIVES SERB ANOTHER 25 YEARS
  • [15] UN HAS EXHUMED MORE THAN 2,000 BODIES IN KOSOVA
  • [16] SOME 379 KILLED IN KOSOVA SINCE JUNE
  • [17] SERBIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CURBS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
  • [18] CLAIMANT TO SERBIAN THRONE URGES OPPOSITION TO UNITE
  • [19] MONTENEGRIN DAILY SAYS YUGOSLAV COMMANDER SLAMMED GOVERNMENT
  • [20] MACEDONIA, GREECE START PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION
  • [21] ITALY, ALBANIA STEP UP COOPERATION AGAINST MIGRANTS
  • [22] TIRANA MAYOR CRITICIZES OLDER GENERATION OF POLITICIANS
  • [23] RAIL TRAFFIC RESUMES AFTER WORKERS END BLOCKADE
  • [24] BULGARIAN DOCUMENTS ON ZHIVKOV OUSTER MISSING
  • [25] BULGARIA'S POPULATION SHRINKING FASTEST

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [26] UKRAINE'S PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF: KUCHMA VERSUS COMMUNISM

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] AZERBAIJANI OPPOSITION SAYS NEW DRAFT MEDIA LAW UNDEMOCRATIC

    Meeting on 10 November at the Baku Press Club,

    representatives of the opposition Democratic Bloc of

    parliamentary deputies expressed concern that the

    parliamentary majority ignored most proposed amendments to

    the draft law on the mass media that is soon to be considered

    in the third reading, Turan reported. They termed the law as

    a whole undemocratic and incommensurate with the concept of

    freedom of speech. Specifically, they argued that the

    proposed issuing of licenses to media outlets constitutes a

    form of censorship and that political parties should not be

    eligible to establish electronic media. They also objected to

    the provision that empowers courts to close down media

    outlets for three months. LF

    [02] AZERABIAJNI POLITICAL PARTIES SIGN NEW STATEMENT ON KARABAKH

    Eighteen opposition parties signed a joint statement in Baku

    on 10 November detailing measures they consider the country's

    leadership should take with regard to the unresolved Karabakh

    conflict, Turan reported. Those measures include insisting

    that Armenia comply with four 1993 UN Security Council

    resolutions demanding the immediate withdrawal of Armenian

    forces from occupied Azerbaijani territory. They also want

    Yerevan to pay compensation for material damage. The

    statement goes on to demand that the financing and

    professionalism of the Azerbaijani armed forces be improved.

    Also on 10 November, the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, which

    did not sign the joint statement, issued a separate statement

    calling for a political solution to the Karabakh conflict,

    Turan reported. But it added that such a solution should not

    be "defeatist" and must not infringe on the country's

    territorial integrity. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT CALLS FOR GREATER OSCE EFFORT TO

    RESOLVE KARABAKH CONFLICT

    Meeting on 9 November in Baku with

    the new French co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Jean-

    Jacques Gaillard, Heidar Aliev again accused that body of

    "inactivity." He added that his ongoing talks with his

    Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, do not absolve the

    OSCE of responsibility for trying to resolve the Karabakh

    conflict, Turan reported. Aliev had made similar criticism

    during the September visit to the South Caucasus of OSCE

    Chairman in Office Knut Vollebaek (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 20

    September 1999). LF

    [04] AZERBAIJAN DENIES IT WILL HOST CHECHEN FIGHTERS...

    Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Vilayat Kuliev on 10 November

    rejected as "deliberate disinformation" a Russian Defense

    Ministry statement issued earlier that day claiming that

    Chechen fighters plan to relocate the bulk of their forces to

    Azerbaijan, Turan reported. Presidential Administration

    official Novruz Mamedov similarly termed that report

    "absurd," noting that it would be logistically impossible for

    the Chechens to relocate in such a way. The Russian statement

    said the Chechens have received permission from Baku to set

    up camps in Azerbaijan in return for an undertaking to assist

    Azerbaijan in a new war in Karabakh. It also claimed that the

    Chechens are considering moving to Turkey. LF

    [05] ...WHILE GEORGIA SAYS IT WILL NOT TAKE IN CHECHEN GOVERNMENT

    IN EXILE

    Also on 10 November, the Georgian Foreign Ministry

    officially denied the Russian Defense Ministry claim, which

    was made in the same statement, that Tbilisi will permit the

    presence on its territory of some Chechen militants and a

    Chechen government in exile headed by President Aslan

    Maskhadov, Caucasus Press reported. Parliamentary speaker

    Zurab Zhvania and Defense Minister David Tevzadze both told

    journalists in Tbilisi that neither they nor any other

    Georgian officials have ever held talks on the subject with

    Chechen officials, according to ITAR-TASS. LF

    [06] TWO GEORGIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES AGAIN CLAIM ELECTION OUTCOME

    FALSIFIED

    Labor Party Chairman Shalva Natelashvili told

    journalists in Tbilisi on 10 November that he has appealed to

    the Georgian Supreme Court to rule on the validity of the 31

    October parliamentary election results, Caucasus Press

    reported. Natelashvili claims that the Union of Citizens of

    Georgia, which according to official returns won an absolute

    majority, "appropriated" 300,000 votes cast for his party.

    Natelashvili says the Labor Party polled at least 15 percent

    of the vote, while Central Electoral Commission figures

    indicate it failed to surmount the 7 percent minimum required

    for parliamentary representation. The National Democratic

    Party of Georgia on 10 November similarly refused to accept

    the official outcome of the vote. It added that while it does

    not consider falsifications by both the Union of Citizens of

    Georgia and, in Adjaria, by the Union for Democratic Revival

    to be the primary cause of the party's failure to gain

    representation in the new parliament, those infringements

    nonetheless mirror "the anarchy reigning in the country,"

    according to Caucasus Press. LF

    [07] KAZAKHSTAN'S NEW GOVERNMENT SWORN IN

    Speaking at the 10

    November ceremony in Astana at which the new cabinet was

    sworn in, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev said the

    government's primary tasks are ensuring balanced economic

    development and expediting the reform process, RFE/RL's

    correspondent in the capital reported. Nazarbaev stressed

    that no overspending of the budget will be tolerated, adding

    that "unnecessary expenditures" by the presidential

    administration and government should be cut. He said foreign

    investment should be increased, but he noted this should be

    done by encouraging "solid investors" rather than "dark

    horses," according to Interfax. Nazarbaev described the

    struggle against corruption and crime as a further key task.

    He urged the government "to work as a single team" in a

    spirit of discipline and mutual understanding. LF

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PRESIDENT SLAMS OSCE...

    Speaking to journalists

    in Astana after the 10 November ceremony, President Nazarbaev

    accused the OSCE of indifference to developments in

    Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, and the North Caucasus, RFE/RL's

    Astana bureau reported. (Afghanistan is not an OSCE member.)

    Nazarbaev suggested that the OSCE is not needed if it "does

    not care about Asian states." Nazarbaev has long been

    lobbying for the creation of an Asian equivalent of the OSCE,

    and two months ago it hosted a conference to discuss that

    project (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 15 September 1999). Nazarbaev

    again rejected the OSCE's criticism of Kazakhstan's recent

    parliamentary elections, noting that up to eight candidates

    contested each mandate. He said the poll constituted a

    difficult but real step toward democratization, adding that

    he considers Kazakhstan "the most democratic country in

    Central Asia." Nazarbaev said the use of "double standards"

    by any organization is "unacceptable." LF

    [09] ...WHILE OSCE OFFICIAL REJECTS NAZARBAEV'S CRITICISM

    Ulrich

    Schoening, who heads the OCSE mission in Kazakhstan, told the

    TV station 31 Channel on 11 November that he considers

    Nazarbaev's accusation that the OSCE is guilty of double

    standards unfounded, RFE/RL's Almaty bureau reported.

    Schoening affirmed the OSCE's readiness to continue

    cooperating with Kazakhstan, adding that he hopes Kazakhstan

    will not become the first country to leave the organization

    voluntarily. LF

    [10] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARTY WANTS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT RULING ON

    ELECTION LAW

    A spokesman for the Ar-Namys party told

    RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau on 10 November that the party has

    asked the Constitutional Court to rule on inconsistencies

    between the country's constitution and the Election Code

    adopted last year. The Election Code stipulates that only

    political parties registered with the Ministry of Justice at

    least one year before parliamentary elections may participate

    in the poll. The constitution does not contain any such

    restriction. President Askar Akaev suggested in June that the

    minimum interval between registration and qualifying for

    participation in elections should be reduced to six months

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 22 June 1999). The Ar-Namys party was

    founded in July by former Bishkek Mayor Feliks Kulov and

    registered one month later (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 August

    1999). The next parliamentary elections are scheduled for

    February 2000. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [11] CROATIAN PRESIDENT'S HEALTH TAKING TURN FOR WORSE?

    The state-

    run Hina news agency quoted Franjo Tudjman's doctors as

    saying on 11 November that the Croatian president suffered a

    "capillary hemorrhage of internal organs" the previous night.

    The doctors added that they have changed his treatment for

    complications following his recent surgery for "a rupture of

    his large intestine." Tudjman is widely believed to have

    suffered from cancer since 1996. The state-run media have

    provided no pictures of him in the hospital, while official

    information on the state of his health has been sparse. PM

    [12] CROATIAN SERB LEADER URGES SERBS TO VOTE

    Milorad Pupovac,

    who heads the Serbian National Council and is a member of the

    Croatian parliament, urged Serbs to vote in the 22 December

    legislative elections. He stressed that Serbs can help end

    the rule of Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community only if

    they vote, the Frankfurt-based Serbian daily "Vesti" reported

    on 11 November. Some other leaders of the small Serbian

    minority have called for a boycott of the elections. PM

    [13] NATO: CROATIAN SECURITY FORCES INVOLVED IN BOSNIAN CRIME

    Reuters on 10 November quoted unnamed Western diplomats in

    London as saying that NATO forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina have

    found extensive evidence that Croatian security forces have

    been undermining the Bosnian peace settlement. NATO kept

    Croatian and Bosnian Croat security forces under close

    observation for one year in a project called Operation West

    Star. NATO "hit the jackpot," a diplomat added. The evidence

    "provides conclusive proof of the continuing role of the

    Croatian intelligence service in Bosnia. It points the finger

    directly at Zagreb," he said. Reuters noted that "Croatian

    security services were involved in everything from running

    paramilitary gangs to money laundering and dealing in

    pornography." PM

    [14] HAGUE COURT GIVES SERB ANOTHER 25 YEARS

    Outgoing President

    of the Hague-based war crimes tribunal Gabrielle Kirk

    McDonald handed down on 11 November an additional sentence of

    up to 25 years on Bosnian Serb defendant Dusan Tadic. Tadic

    will serve that sentence consecutively with the 20-year term

    he received earlier. McDonald suggested that the court did

    not give Tadic the maximum penalty, which is life

    imprisonment, because he has become a "model detainee" and

    because of considerations regarding "the effect of the length

    of the sentence" on his family, AP reported. His trial on

    charges of atrocities against Muslims and Croats during the

    1992-1995 Bosnian war began in May 1997. PM

    [15] UN HAS EXHUMED MORE THAN 2,000 BODIES IN KOSOVA

    Carla del

    Ponte, who is the Hague court's new chief prosecutor, told

    the UN Security Council on 10 November that international

    investigators have unearthed the bodies of 2,108 persons in

    Kosova. She noted that some bodies may never be found

    "because we have discovered evidence of tampering with

    graves," Reuters reported. Forensics experts have exhumed 195

    graves and hope to investigate an additional 334 in the year

    2000. Serbian Deputy Information Minister Miodrag Popovic

    told the BBC on 11 November that most of the 2,108 people

    probably "died of natural causes." A forensics expert

    responded that he and his colleagues can easily prove that

    most of the victims died violently and in some cases in

    rather grisly circumstances. PM

    [16] SOME 379 KILLED IN KOSOVA SINCE JUNE

    A KFOR spokesman said

    in Prishtina that 135 Serbs, 145 ethnic Albanians, and 99

    people of other or undetermined nationalities have been

    murdered in Kosova since NATO took control of the province,

    London's "The Guardian" reported on 11 November. The daily

    added that criminal rather than purely ethnic considerations

    appear to have been involved in many of the deaths. For

    example, some Albanians killed numerous elderly Serbs in

    order to take their property. PM

    [17] SERBIAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES CURBS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT

    The

    legislature passed a bill on 10 November giving the central

    government greater control over local administrations.

    Opposition parties, who are in power in more than 30

    municipalities, say the bill is aimed at undermining their

    political base. Vladan Batic, who is a leader of the Alliance

    for Change, said that opposition-run municipalities should

    organize themselves in "self-governing clusters," "Vesti"

    reported. PM

    [18] CLAIMANT TO SERBIAN THRONE URGES OPPOSITION TO UNITE

    Crown

    Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic said that the opposition

    must unite and work together to oust the regime, Belgrade's

    "Danas" wrote on 11 November. He also urged the Serbian

    people to support the opposition. Aleksandar spoke on the eve

    of a conference in Budapest that brings together leaders of

    the opposition and the diaspora. PM

    [19] MONTENEGRIN DAILY SAYS YUGOSLAV COMMANDER SLAMMED GOVERNMENT

    The editors of the Podgorica daily "Vijesti" said on 10

    November that they stand by their story that Chief of the

    General Staff General Dragoljub Ojdanic recently criticized

    top government officials during a visit to Montenegro.

    Ojdanic subsequently denied the report, which claimed he

    criticized Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic, Deputy

    Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, and Defense Minister Pavle

    Bulatovic for what Ojdanic allegedly called the poor state of

    affairs in the army. In addition to their response to

    Ojdanic's denial, "Vijesti" editors also published on 10

    November remarks the army chief had made in Montenegro that

    they had previously withheld from publication. Among other

    things, Ojdanic allegedly commented that he intends to cut

    the size of the navy and the air force, which he considers

    much less important than the army. He added that most

    officers are interested primarily in their pay and that he

    will raise their salaries soon. PM

    [20] MACEDONIA, GREECE START PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION

    Work began on

    10 November on an oil pipeline that will link Macedonia's

    sole refinery with the port of Thessaloniki. Greece will bear

    most of the $90 million costs. Its state-run oil company

    recently acquired a majority stake in its Macedonian

    counterpart. PM

    [21] ITALY, ALBANIA STEP UP COOPERATION AGAINST MIGRANTS

    Albanian

    Prime Minister Ilir Meta said in Tirana on 10 November that

    Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema and Foreign Minister

    Lamberto Dini promised him more assistance to help prevent

    the smuggling of goods and people across the Strait of

    Otranto. Meta had returned from a brief trip to Rome, which

    was his first trip abroad since his recent election as prime

    minister. Traffic in illegal migrants from Albania to Italy

    continues unabated, dpa noted. Drug smuggling from Albania is

    on the increase, despite the presence of Italian forces in

    Albania and in Albanian territorial waters. PM

    [22] TIRANA MAYOR CRITICIZES OLDER GENERATION OF POLITICIANS

    Albert Brojka, who belongs to the opposition Democratic

    Party, told Vienna's "Die Presse" of 11 November that the

    Democrats' Sali Berisha and the Socialists' Fatos Nano "have

    an old communist mentality" that has led to political

    polarization. Brojka stressed that Albania instead needs a

    "European mentality" that allows people to differ on

    political issues without regarding one another as enemies. He

    said that he believes Nano's recent victory over former Prime

    Minister Pandeli Majko for the leadership of the Socialists

    will only make the political climate worse. Majko favored a

    policy of rational political dialogue and reconciliation

    between the two rival parties, Brojka added. He expressed

    regret that Berisha has retained control over the Democrats,

    despite a short-lived challenge from the younger Genc Pollo.

    PM

    [23] RAIL TRAFFIC RESUMES AFTER WORKERS END BLOCKADE

    Railway

    traffic in Romania was back to normal early on 11 November

    after hundreds of railway workers ended a blockade of trains

    at Bucharest's main train station to protest low wages, AP

    reported. Trains were delayed for up to five hours after the

    workers had taken over the North Train Station the previous

    day. They want their wages doubled and the plan to

    restructure and downsize the national rail system to be

    scrapped. Transportation Minister Traian Basescu, whom the

    workers want sacked, said he is happy the situation was

    resolved peacefully, but he called the protest a "serious"

    violation of the law. He said the ministry will file an

    official complaint. Negotiations between the ministry and

    union leaders are due to begin on 11 November. PB

    [24] BULGARIAN DOCUMENTS ON ZHIVKOV OUSTER MISSING

    The head of

    Bulgaria's government archives, Panto Kolev, said on 10

    November that documents related to the coup that ended the

    35-year rule of Communist leader Todor Zhivkov have

    disappeared, AP reported. Kolev said the minutes from the

    Communist Party meeting at which he was dismissed are among

    those documents missing, as are those detailing Bulgaria's

    role in the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of the former

    Czechoslovakia. Former Interior Minister Atanas Semerdzhiev

    is currently awaiting trial for allowing secret police

    officials to destroy files in 1990. In other news, the 10th

    anniversary of Zhivkov's ouster, which fell on 10 November

    1989, was not officially marked in Bulgaria. PB

    [25] BULGARIA'S POPULATION SHRINKING FASTEST

    With a negative

    growth rate of minus 6.4 people per 1,000, Bulgaria's

    population is shrinking faster than that of any other country

    in East-Central Europe, AP reported on 9 November, citing

    BTA. The data were included in a paper delivered at an

    international demographic conference in Sofia. Since 1989,

    Bulgaria's population has sunk by 1 million owing to

    emigration, which was reported at 700,000, and because of a

    high mortality rate. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [26] UKRAINE'S PRESIDENTIAL RUN-OFF: KUCHMA VERSUS COMMUNISM

    by Askold Krushelnycky

    The first round of Ukraine's presidential elections on

    31 October left incumbent Leonid Kuchma in the lead and his

    Communist rival, Petro Symonenko in second place. Under

    Ukraine's electoral rules, if no candidate receives more than

    half the vote, then the two with the highest share of the

    vote go on to a run-off.

    Kuchma seemed comfortably ahead in the first round with

    36 percent of the vote, compared with Symonenko's 22 percent.

    But Kuchma has been criticized throughout his term in office

    for the troubled state of the economy, for failing to

    introduce major market reforms, and for presiding over a

    government riddled with corruption. Critics say that Kuchma

    is now playing on the fears of a communist return to power in

    order to win second-round votes from many who intensely

    dislike him.

    Symonenko has openly acknowledged he favors a return to

    Soviet-style government and wants a new Soviet Union, with

    Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan as initial members.

    He has also said he will reverse those market reforms Kuchma

    has introduced.

    Ahead of the second round of voting on 14 November,

    Symonenko has been trying to gather support from some of his

    former rivals among the 12 other opposition hopefuls who

    competed in the first round. Symonenko has put together a

    loose coalition of three leftist and three centrist former

    candidates in the hope that their supporters will vote for

    him on 14 November. He has the backing of the leader of the

    Peasant Party and parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Tkachenko.

    But his support from the two candidates who took third and

    fourth places in the first round is clearly less than whole-

    heated.

    Socialist Party leader Oleksandr Moroz, the third-place

    candidate, has said he will support Symonenko--but he has

    given that support only grudgingly. Moroz notably failed to

    turn up beside Symonenko on 7 November for Communist Party

    commemorations in Kyiv of the October 1917 Bolshevik seizure

    of power in Russia.

    Like Moroz, ultra-Marxist Natalya Vitrenko scored some

    11 percent of the vote in the first round to come in fourth.

    Some analysts believe Vitrenko's popularity was boosted by an

    apparent assassination attempt against her during the

    campaign. Vitrenko has since said she will give her blessing

    to Symonenko only if he promises her the prime minister's

    job. That is a promise the communist leader has not been

    willing to make. However, Vitrenko's Progressive Socialist

    Party announced on 10 November it will throw its support

    behind Symonenko because he "stands for changing the course

    of economic and political reforms."

    Mary Mycio, the Ukraine correspondent for the "Los

    Angeles Times," told RFE/RL that she does not believe the

    people who support Symonenko can deliver votes. "They can

    basically only provide him with their own personal support,"

    she argues. "In the case of Vitrenko, I think that a lot of

    her votes were very emotional and based perhaps on her

    popular slogans and not necessarily on any program or

    proposals that she was making."

    At the 7 November rally in Kyiv, attended by some 3,000

    mostly elderly party faithful, Symonenko toned down his

    rhetoric in an attempt to appeal to a wider range of voters.

    His supporters have sought to dispel fears of a communist

    comeback, presenting Symonenko as a moderate who would take

    care of Ukraine's sluggish economy and its people and even

    restore churches now in disrepair.

    But analyst Mycio does not think Symonenko will be able

    to persuade enough voters of his new-found moderate views to

    win the run-off. She believes Kuchma could have been defeated

    only if Symonenko had stepped down in favor of another

    candidate, as is allowed under Ukraine's electoral law.

    "Ironically," she added, "I think that the only person in the

    election, in the stable of candidates, who could deliver

    votes would be Symonenko.... If Symonenko told the members

    and supporters of the Communist Party to vote for a

    candidate, they would."

    Kuchma has dismissed the alliance backing Symonenko,

    saying he is "not afraid, even if they are joined by several

    more candidates." But he and his supporters have also sought

    help from former first-round rivals. And they have stepped up

    efforts to portray a potential communist victory as a

    national disaster. State-controlled television, moreover, has

    been showing grim film footage of Soviet atrocities in

    Ukraine.

    Among Kuchma's democratic opponents in the first round,

    the candidate who did best was Yevhen Marchuk. On 10

    November, Kuchma named Marchuk to head the National Security

    Council, a presidential body with sweeping powers in security

    matters. The move is seen as a clear attempt to win over the

    some 8 percent of voters who backed Marchuk in the first

    round.

    Meanwhile, Kuchma has won support from the Green Party,

    whose leader was also one of the first-round losers. And a

    faction of the divided nationalist Rukh movement said it will

    back the president on condition that Ukraine seeks membership

    in NATO. Like many who will support Kuchma in the second

    round, Rukh sympathizers will vote for him only because they

    fear the alternative more than the incumbent.

    In fact, it is this sentiment that Mycio and some other

    analysts believe will allow Kuchma to pull off a victory on

    14 November--barring any unexpected developments during the

    last days of campaigning.

    The author is an RFE/RL correspondent based in Prague and

    currently covering the Ukrainian presidential election from

    Kyiv.

    11-11-99


    Reprinted with permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
    URL: http://www.rferl.org


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