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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 3, No. 222, 99-11-15

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. 222, 15 November 1999 "RFE/RL Caucasus Report," Vol. 2, No. 42,

21 October 1999).

CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT, PREMIER AGREE ON NEW CABINET
  • [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO TURKMENISTAN
  • [03] YELTSIN DISCUSSES KARABAKH WITH ARMENIA, AZERBAIJANI
  • [04] GEORGIA HOLDS RUNOFF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
  • [05] UN CALLS ON GEORGIA, ABKHAZIA TO DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO
  • [06] GEORGIA STEPS UP INTERNAL SECURITY...
  • [07] ...EXPRESSES SURPRISE THAT RUSSIA IMPOUNDED UNIFORMS
  • [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PREMIER OUTLINES THREE-YEAR PROGRAM
  • [09] KAZAKHSTAN DENIES PLANS TO MANUFACTURE CHEMICAL WEAPONS
  • [10] INTERNET PROVIDER DENIES BLOCKING ACCESS TO KAZAKH OPPOSITION
  • [11] TYPHOID OUTBREAK IN KAZAKHSTAN
  • [12] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT, FINANCE MINISTER AT ODDS OVER MINIMUM
  • [13] UN EXTENDS MANDATE OF OBSERVERS IN TAJIKISTAN

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] TRAJKOVSKI LEADING IN MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE
  • [15] TUDJMAN REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION
  • [16] CROATIA'S OPPOSITION CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES
  • [17] CROATIA TELLS HAGUE COURT IT IS NOT WELCOME
  • [18] UN PLANE CRASH IN KOSOVA KILLS ALL ABOARD
  • [19] ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER WARNS OF FAILURE BY WEST IN KOSOVA
  • [20] SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES CLAIM TO BE UNITED AGAINST
  • [21] ...AS SERBIAN DIASPORA OFFERS CASH FOR HIS OUSTER
  • [22] MONTENEGRO PASSES AMNESTY FOR DRAFT DODGERS
  • [23] OFFICIALS AGREE TO FIGHT CORRUPTION, STEP UP SEARCHES IN
  • [24] ALBANIAN, MACEDONIAN PREMIERS HAIL 'NEW BALKANS'
  • [25] ROMANIAN SOCCER OFFICIALS TO MONITOR ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS
  • [26] ROMANIAN STEEL WORKERS PROTEST PRIVATIZATION
  • [27] RUSSIA RESUMES WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA
  • [28] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW PREMIER

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [29] CROATIA AFTER TUDJMAN

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT, PREMIER AGREE ON NEW CABINET

    Following

    consultations and overnight talks on 12-13 November,

    President Robert Kocharian and Prime Minister Aram Sargsian

    agreed on the composition of the new cabinet, RFE/RL's

    Yerevan bureau reported on 13 November. Sargsian endorsed

    Kocharian's choice of two career police officials, First

    Deputy Interior Minister Haik Harutiunian and Karlos

    Petrosian, to head the Interior and National Security

    Ministries, while in return Kocharian agreed to Minister for

    Industrial Infrastructures Vahan Shirkhanian's retaining his

    post. Shirkhanian is believed to have been behind a 28

    October demand by senior Defense Ministry officials for the

    sacking of the interior and national security ministers and

    of the prosecutor-general. The only other new cabinet

    appointee is Karen Jshmaritian, who replaces Hayk Gevorgian

    as industry and trade minister. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN PRESIDENT POSTPONES VISIT TO TURKMENISTAN

    The

    presidential administration announced on 12 November that a

    visit by President Kocharian to Turkmenistan scheduled for

    15-16 November has been postponed, ITAR-TASS reported. The

    statement noted that Kocharian was to have been accompanied

    by several government ministers, whose candidacies had not

    yet been officially confirmed at that time. LF

    [03] YELTSIN DISCUSSES KARABAKH WITH ARMENIA, AZERBAIJANI

    COUNTERPARTS

    Russian President Boris Yeltsin telephoned with

    his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, Kocharian and

    Heidar Aliev, on 12 November, Russian agencies reported.

    Yeltsin and Kocharian discussed bilateral relations, issues

    related to the latter's 5 November visit to Moscow, and the

    prospects for resolving the Karabakh conflict, according to

    Interfax. Yeltsin also assured Aliev of Russia's readiness

    "to help in every way" to reach a mutually satisfactory

    solution to that conflict. A spokesman for the Azerbaijani

    presidential press service said that other topics discussed

    included the upcoming OSCE summit in Istanbul and Russia's

    proposed introduction of a "temporary" visa regime for

    Azerbaijanis wishing to cross the frontier into the Russian

    Federation. Aliev expressed understanding for that decision,

    while noting the difficulties it creates for Azerbaijani

    citizens, according to ITAR-TASS. LF

    [04] GEORGIA HOLDS RUNOFF PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

    Runoff

    elections took place on 14 November in 24 Georgian

    constituencies where no candidate obtained the required

    majority in the 31 October parliamentary poll. Reuters and

    dpa quoted Central Electoral Commission officials as stating

    that the voting proceeded without incident. But Caucasus

    Press reported on 15 November that shooting broke out in

    Nadzaladevi when an independent candidate who was leading the

    poll tried to prevent falsification of the vote count aimed

    at benefiting his rival from the ruling Union of Citizens of

    Georgia (SMK). The SMK already has a clear majority in the

    235-mandate parliament. LF

    [05] UN CALLS ON GEORGIA, ABKHAZIA TO DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT TO

    PEACE PROCESS

    In a 12 November statement, the UN Security

    Council called on the leaders of Georgia and Abkhazia to

    resume regular contacts with an aim to resolving the

    breakaway region's status vis-a-vis the central Georgian

    government and expediting the return of displaced persons,

    Reuters and AP reported. The statement stressed that such a

    comprehensive settlement must respect Georgia's territorial

    integrity within its internationally recognized borders. LF

    [06] GEORGIA STEPS UP INTERNAL SECURITY...

    Georgian Foreign

    Minister Irakli Menagharishvili told journalists in Tbilisi

    on 12 November that the Georgian authorities have increased

    security measures for top officials and for strategic

    facilities such as the Baku-Supsa oil pipeline, Interfax

    reported. He said those measures were prompted by an

    intensification of military activity at Russian military

    bases in Georgia, particularly the reported arrival at the

    Vaziani base near Tbilisi of Federal Security Service Alpha

    troops. Parliament Defense and Security Committee chairman

    Revaz Adamia said that Alpha troops had been sent to Georgia

    to carry out sabotage assignments and the assassination of

    top officials. Defense Minister David Tevzadze said that the

    Russian troop activity could reflect Russian plans to

    increase its military presence in Chechnya, according to

    Interfax. But an FSB spokesman on 13 November denied any

    Alpha force had been sent to Georgia, Caucasus Press

    reported. LF

    [07] ...EXPRESSES SURPRISE THAT RUSSIA IMPOUNDED UNIFORMS

    Georgian Defense Minister Tevzadze and President Eduard

    Shevardnadze on 12 November both professed to be puzzled over

    the confiscation by Russian customs officials the previous

    day of a consignment of military uniforms donated by the U.S.

    for the Georgian armed forces, Caucasus Press reported.

    Tevzadze termed the incident "a misunderstanding."

    Shevardnadze denied that either the consignment contained

    arms or explosives or it was to be sent from Georgia to

    Chechnya, according to Interfax. LF

    [08] KAZAKHSTAN'S PREMIER OUTLINES THREE-YEAR PROGRAM

    Qasymzhomart Toqaev on 12 November submitted to a joint

    session of both chambers of the parliament his cabinet's

    economic program for the period 2000-2002, Interfax reported.

    He said that by 2002 the government is aiming to increase GDP

    by 10-12 percent compared with 1999, to cut inflation to 4-5

    percent, and reduce the budget deficit to 1.2 percent of GDP.

    Unemployment is to be brought down from the current 13

    percent to 8 percent of the able-bodied population. Toqaev

    also called for a "serious reform" of budget policy, the

    liberalization of foreign trade, and cuts in customs duties.

    He also announced that measures will be taken to legalize the

    shadow economy which accounts for an estimated 25 percent of

    GDP, mostly generated by small businesses. LF

    [09] KAZAKHSTAN DENIES PLANS TO MANUFACTURE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

    Kazakhstan's National Security Committee spokesman

    Kenzhebulat Beknazarov told Interfax on 12 November that the

    country does not intend to begin production of either

    chemical or biological weapons. Speaking in Washington two

    days earlier, former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan

    Kazhegeldin had said that Kazakhstan might use funds

    allocated by the West for other purposes in order to produce

    such weapons. LF

    [10] INTERNET PROVIDER DENIES BLOCKING ACCESS TO KAZAKH OPPOSITION

    WEBSITE

    In a statement made available to "RFE/RL Newsline,"

    the Internet provider Nursat, which is the largest in

    Kazakhstan, has formally denied blocking access to the

    Eurasia Website maintained by the Kazakh political

    opposition. It also affirmed that it neither condones nor

    supports any Internet "censorship". Internews's office in

    Kazakhstan last week quoted an unnamed Nursat technician as

    saying that access to the Eurasia site would be impossible

    for an indefinite period for "technical reasons" (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 9 November 1999). LF

    [11] TYPHOID OUTBREAK IN KAZAKHSTAN

    Twenty-three people have been

    hospitalized with suspected typhoid in Almaty over the past

    three weeks, ITAR-TASS reported on 12 November. The previous

    day, RFE/RL's correspondent in the former capital reported

    that police have begun confiscating milk samples from non-

    registered traders from rural areas who sell milk on the

    streets in Almaty. It is unclear if contaminated milk is

    suspected to be the source of the outbreak. LF

    [12] KYRGYZ PARLIAMENT, FINANCE MINISTER AT ODDS OVER MINIMUM

    WAGE

    Finance Minister Sultan Mederov outlined the main

    parameters of the 2000 draft budget to parliamentary deputies

    on 11 November, Interfax reported. Revenues are set at 10.6

    billion soms ($200 million) and spending at 11.7 billion

    soms, while GDP will total 53.3 billion soms. Agricultural

    production is expected to grow by 5 percent and industrial

    output by 1 percent. The government will also earmark $83.6

    million toward paying the country's foreign debts (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 12 November 1999). Mederov said defense

    spending will be increased by 46.6 percent. But when the

    debate resumed on 12 November, he rejected as not feasible a

    demand by deputies to raise the minimum monthly wage from 100

    to 150 soms and to increase salaries for doctors and

    teachers, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. LF

    [13] UN EXTENDS MANDATE OF OBSERVERS IN TAJIKISTAN

    The UN

    Security Council on 12 November unanimously approved

    Secretary General Kofi Annan's request for the extension for

    a further six months of the mandate of the observer force

    deployed in Tajikistan, Reuters and AP reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 9 November 1999). Those observers will monitor

    preparations for the parliamentary elections scheduled for

    February. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] TRAJKOVSKI LEADING IN MACEDONIAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE

    Macedonian Premier Ljubco Georgijevski announced on state

    television on 15 November that with 96 percent of the votes

    counted, Deputy Foreign Minister Boris Trajkovski has won 53

    percent of the vote, compared with 46 percent for his

    challenger, Tito Petkovski, AFP reported. Petkovski conceded

    that Trajkovski's 48,000-vote lead cannot be overcome.

    Petkovski's spokesman, Nikola Popovski, charged that

    widespread voter fraud had occurred in the western part of

    the country, which is inhabited by mostly ethnic Albanians.

    Trajkovski, candidate of the center-right government, said

    his election offers a "historic chance" for him and the

    country. No figures were available on turnout. If it falls

    below 50 percent, then the election is declared invalid. PB

    [15] TUDJMAN REMAINS IN CRITICAL CONDITION

    An official Croatian

    medical communique reported on 14 November that President

    Franjo Tudjman's condition had stabilized after fresh

    surgery, Reuters reported. The statement said that

    "difficulties in the digestive system have been removed."

    Doctors had said on 12 November that the health of the

    president, aged 77, was deteriorating after surgery two weeks

    ago was complicated by peritonitis and internal bleeding.

    Some Croatian dailies report the president's condition as

    very grave. Some claim he is on a life-support system.

    Tudjman's youngest son, Stjepan, said after leaving the

    hospital that his father is in a better condition than is

    being reported (see "End Note"). PB

    [16] CROATIA'S OPPOSITION CALLS FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES

    Drazen

    Budisa, the leader of Croatia's opposition Social Liberals,

    called for changes to be made to the country's constitution

    to reduce President Tudjman's authority, AP reported, citing

    Hina. Budisa said "the president has not been capable of

    running the country for 10 days now, and we know how wide his

    powers are." Parliamentary speaker Vlatko Pavletic of

    Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ) would act as

    interim head of state if the president were to die or be

    declared incapacitated. A presidential election would be held

    within 60 days. The president's health caused the HDZ to

    withdraw a motion to dissolve the parliament, allowing the

    lower house to reconvene for emergencies until its mandate

    expires on 27 November. PB

    [17] CROATIA TELLS HAGUE COURT IT IS NOT WELCOME

    Justice Minister

    Zvonimir Separovic said in a letter to Carla del Ponte, the

    chief prosecutor of the international war crimes tribunal at

    The Hague, that UN war crimes investigators are not welcome

    in Croatia, AFP reported. The tribunal wants to send teams

    into central Croatia to investigate alleged crimes against

    ethnic Serbs committed during the 1991-1995 war. Separovic

    said the tribunal has no jurisdiction over Croatia's military

    operations against the Serbs. PB

    [18] UN PLANE CRASH IN KOSOVA KILLS ALL ABOARD

    A UN plane

    carrying officials from the organization's World Food Program

    and a number of private humanitarian groups crashed into a

    mountaintop near the Kosovar town of Mitrovica on 12

    November, killing all 24 people onboard, Reuters reported.

    KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt said there is no

    indication as to the cause of the crash, but he noted that

    weather conditions were extremely foggy. Most of those killed

    were Italians. PB

    [19] ETHNIC ALBANIAN LEADER WARNS OF FAILURE BY WEST IN KOSOVA

    Veton Surroi, the publisher of the independent daily "Koha

    Ditore," urged the West on 12 November to provide adequate

    funds to shore up the police force and the judicial system in

    the Serbian province, Reuters reported. Surroi, in an address

    to NATO's Parliamentary Assembly in Amsterdam, said the

    alliance's intervention in Kosova is at risk of failing if

    certain needs are not met. He said "serious reconstruction"

    has not begun and, that as a result, too many people are left

    idle. Surroi, who has come under fire from hard-line ethnic

    Albanians for his calls for tolerance toward Serbs, urged the

    rapid creation of a judiciary system and the involvement of

    Kosovar political parties in the running of the province. He

    said the term "multiethnic society" is misunderstood by

    ethnic Albanians as meaning the "forced cohabitation" that

    was experienced under Serb rule. He said a "tolerant and just

    society" would bring the same result. PB

    [20] SERBIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES CLAIM TO BE UNITED AGAINST

    MILOSEVIC...

    Serbian opposition politicians pledged on 14

    November to unite their efforts to force Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic from power, Reuters reported. More than 50

    leading opposition activists signed a declaration after a

    three-day meeting in the Hungarian town of Szentendre that

    states their main tasks are to form an alliance, oust the

    current government, and hold free elections. The document

    also called on the international community to immediately

    lift sanctions against Serbia. The talks were organized by

    Yugoslav Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic, who also announced

    that he is willing to become king of Yugoslavia under a

    constitutional monarchy. Alliance for Change leader Zoran

    Djindjic attended the talks, as did the leader of the Serbian

    Orthodox Church, Bishop Artemije. Serbian Renewal Movement

    leader Vuk Draskovic did not attend, claiming he feared for

    his safety. PB

    [21] ...AS SERBIAN DIASPORA OFFERS CASH FOR HIS OUSTER

    Prominent

    Serbian expatriates from North America, Europe, and Australia

    on 13 November offered to give Serbian opposition groups $1

    million if they unite and remove President Milosevic from

    office, AP reported. They also promised to provide access to

    Western governments and technical advice to the opposition.

    Opposition leader Zoran Djindjic said the money would be best

    used to support independent media in Serbia. He said that

    political parties "should renounce this money" so that it

    could be given to "organizations which find it even harder to

    survive in a very poor country." PB

    [22] MONTENEGRO PASSES AMNESTY FOR DRAFT DODGERS

    The Montenegrin

    parliament adopted a law on 12 November that grants amnesty

    to anyone who defied orders to join the Yugoslav army during

    the conflict in Kosova, Reuters reported. The measure was

    passed unanimously after deputies from the Socialist People's

    Party, which is loyal to Belgrade, walked out of the chamber.

    The legislation covers the period from June 1998 to June of

    this year. A Montenegrin deputy said that some 14,000 people

    in Montenegro will gain amnesty from the legislation. In

    other news, Montenegrin Justice Minister Dragan Soc confirmed

    that Veselin Vlahovic, wanted for war crimes in Bosnia, is in

    jail in Montenegro. The war crimes tribunal at The Hague has

    given Bosnia the right to put him on trial in Sarajevo.

    Bosnian officials said they will request Vlahovic's

    extradition. PB

    [23] OFFICIALS AGREE TO FIGHT CORRUPTION, STEP UP SEARCHES IN

    BOSNIA

    U.S. and Bosnian officials agreed on 14 November to

    form a commission that will monitor corruption in Bosnia-

    Herzegovina, AP reported. The agreement was reached after two

    days of talks in Dayton, Ohio. Bosnian officials also agreed

    to allow more vigorous searches by NATO peacekeepers for

    indicted war criminals hiding in Bosnia. PB

    [24] ALBANIAN, MACEDONIAN PREMIERS HAIL 'NEW BALKANS'

    Ilir Meta

    and his Macedonian counterpart, Ljubco Georgievski, held

    talks in the southeastern Albanian town of Korce on 12

    November, dpa reported. Meta said the two agreed they must

    "work together for the creation of a new Balkans." Meta added

    that the two countries are eager to make the stability pact

    for southeastern Europe "a reality." Georgievski said the two

    countries are working on a bilateral trade agreement and on

    integrating infrastructure and communications systems. PB

    [25] ROMANIAN SOCCER OFFICIALS TO MONITOR ANTI-SEMITIC REMARKS

    Romanian Soccer Federation officials on 12 November decided

    to monitor publications owned by the federation's vice

    president, Dumitru Dragomir, to prevent him from printing

    anti-Semitic remarks, AP reported. The federation was

    reacting to a request from FIFA, the international soccer

    association, which is contemplating a ban on all Romanian

    soccer squads if Dumitru permits his publications to run any

    more anti-Semitic or racist remarks. Dumitru's publications

    have published such remarks in the past. For instance, one

    article referred to government officials as "dirty Jews" and

    "Gypsies." VG

    [26] ROMANIAN STEEL WORKERS PROTEST PRIVATIZATION

    More than 1,500

    employees of the Petrotrub steel pipe manufacturer blocked a

    major road in northeastern Romania on 12 November to protest

    the privatization of their company. The previous day, the

    Gibraltar-based Tubman International Ltd. signed a deal with

    the Romanian government to purchase a 70 percent stake in

    Petrotrub for $42.6 million. The deal calls for Tubman to pay

    off Petrotrub's debts of about $39 million and lay off about

    1,500 of the company's 3,000 employees. VG

    [27] RUSSIA RESUMES WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS FROM MOLDOVA

    Russia on

    13 November resumed withdrawing its troops from the breakaway

    Transdniester region of Moldova, dpa reported. Russian

    officials gave no indication as to how many troops or how

    much military hardware will be moved out of the region.

    Lieutenant-General Valerii Yevnevich told ITAR-TASS on 13

    November that the military is loading the "first three of a

    total of 13 convoys" on 13 November. He said the weapons that

    are being moved could arm "a medium-sized army in Europe."

    Russian newspapers noted that Moscow transferred anti-tank

    rockets from Moldova to Chechnya during the last war there in

    1995. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the OSCE is

    monitoring the troop and weapon withdrawal from Moldova (see

    also Part 1). VG

    [28] MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW PREMIER

    Petru Lucinschi on

    12 November appointed Moldovan Ambassador to Russia Valeriu

    Bobutac as prime minister. Bobutac replaces Ion Sturza, whose

    government fell in a no-confidence vote on 9 November (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 November 1999). The new government,

    which is to be formed by the Popular Front Christian

    Democratic and the Communists, is to be named this week.

    Lucinschi picked Bobutac because he was acceptable to both

    parties. Bobutac served as trade minister from 1986 to 1988,

    when Moldova was part of the former Soviet Union. He was

    economic minister from 1992 to 1994 and again in 1997. The

    president said the new prime minister should "fight

    corruption and resume good relations with international

    organizations." VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [29] CROATIA AFTER TUDJMAN

    by Patrick Moore

    The critical state of President Franjo Tudjman's health

    suggests Croatia will soon begin a new era. The tasks facing

    the new leadership will include instituting political change,

    promoting Euro-Atlantic integration, and raising the standard

    of living.

    Tudjman is apparently losing his battle with

    cancer, which has lasted at least three years. He would be

    the first of the major figures in the dramatic events in the

    former Yugoslavia this past decade to die in office. It is

    ironic that the first of this small group likely to pass on

    is Tudjman, a life-long athlete and non-smoker.

    Tudjman's legacy is likely to remain the subject of

    controversy for a long time to come. To his supporters, he

    has his place in history as the father of independence and

    the man who "made Croatia." They argue that he alone had the

    organizational skills, the contacts to wealthy Croats in the

    diaspora, and the personal reputation as a nationalist leader

    to perform three vital tasks: ousting the Communists in the

    1990 elections, winning independence the following year, and

    defeating the ethnic Serb rebels in 1995.

    To his detractors, Tudjman will remain a tyrant who

    should have left office long ago, at the very latest

    following his defeat of the Serbs. A stiff man comfortable

    only with his trusted inner circle, his military and

    communist experiences made him authoritarian and intolerant

    of differing views. His ego and obsession with the trappings

    of power often made him the butt of jokes. Tudjman may have

    been the right man to win independence, his detractors would

    say, but he was not the one to build a democratic, prosperous

    country integrated into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

    In fact, post-Tudjman Croatia faces a wide array of

    problems. The first question is the future of Tudjman's

    governing Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), which has

    dominated politics for nearly a decade. It is the last of the

    East European mass movements that emerged in the 1980s to

    bring about the fall of communism. All the others--including

    Solidarity in Poland and the Civic Forum in the former

    Czechoslovakia--have broken up into ideologically-based

    successor organizations. Many observers argue that the time

    for the HDZ to do likewise is long overdue.

    They may not have long to wait. At least since

    Tudjman first underwent cancer surgery in 1996, several

    prominent subordinates have been jockeying for top positions.

    These individuals might soon find themselves heads of new

    political parties that would emerge from the main factions of

    the HDZ. For example, Foreign Minister Mate Granic might head

    a moderate party, while the deputy speaker of the lower house

    of parliament, Vladimir Seks, might lead a stringently

    nationalist organization. Tudjman's aide Ivic Pasalic might

    become head of a grouping of his fellow Herzegovinians, who

    form a very powerful interest group in the HDZ.

    A second issue involves the future of the

    opposition and its impact on the broader political scene. One

    reason why the HDZ and Tudjman have held power for nearly 10

    years is the ineptitude of the fractious opposition. The two

    leading opposition parties have formed a coalition, and the

    four smaller ones have made a pact of their own to fight the

    elections for the lower house on 22 December. The question is

    whether they will be able to maintain unity of purpose in a

    post-Tudjman world. Some observers suggest that the impending

    fragmentation of the HDZ will lead to a totally new political

    landscape in which individual factions of the HDZ will

    combine with what are now opposition parties. Others fear

    that Tudjman's departure will remove the common enemy to all

    opposition parties and leave them fighting once again among

    themselves. In such a scenario, the HDZ would continue to

    hold on to power as before.

    This leads to a third issue stemming from the

    Tudjman era, namely the democratization of political life.

    Washington and Brussels have made it clear time and again

    that electoral, minority, and media legislation will have to

    be brought up to Western standards if Croatia is to become

    integrated in Euro-Atlantic institutions. Furthermore, Zagreb

    will have to respect all of its obligations regarding the

    sovereignty and integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina under the

    1995 Dayton peace accord. Croatia, moreover, has a long way

    to go to raise its standing in the West's estimation. In

    1991, Croatia and Slovenia both emerged as independent

    states. At present, Slovenia seems well on the way to

    membership in the EU and NATO, while Croatia has fallen

    behind even such poor Balkan countries as Albania and

    Macedonia.

    This state of affairs is unacceptable to the center

    and left portions of the political spectrum. One may expect

    any government that they may eventually form to make serious

    efforts to accommodate Croatia's Western friends on

    democratization.

    A closely related issue is privatization. To the extent

    that it has been carried out at all, it has chiefly benefited

    people with close ties to the HDZ. There have been loud calls

    from many sections of society for a thorough investigation

    into this and other forms of corruption. Furthermore, most

    Croats have to struggle to make ends meet with monthly

    incomes of about $450 but with prices on a German level. As

    far as the majority of the population is concerned, the first

    priority of a post-Tudjman leadership should be to raise the

    standard of living, particularly for people with low or fixed

    incomes.

    15-11-99


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


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