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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 21, 00-01-31

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. 4, No. 21, 31 January 2000 Report," Vol. 3, No. 1, 6 January 2000 and

"RFE/RL Newsline,"

CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] U.S. REGISTERS PROGRESS IN KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS
  • [02] AZERBAIJAN PROTESTS SWISS INVESTMENT IN KARABAKH
  • [03] TWO GEORGIAN WARLORDS DISCUSS JOINING FORCES
  • [04] THREE MORE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES APPLY FOR
  • [05] KAZAKHSTAN, CHINA SEEK TO RESOLVE OIL COMPANY DISPUTE
  • [06] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARLIAMENT CANDIDATES PROTEST MEDIA POLICY
  • [07] KYRGYZSTAN POSTS MODEST GDP GROWTH IN 1999 BUT FAILS TO PAY
  • [08] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ACCUSES DEPUTY PREMIER OF CORRUPTION...
  • [09] ...APPOINTS NEW AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA
  • [10] UZBEK POLICE CONFISCATE COUNTERFEIT DOLLARS

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [11] CROATIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ENTERS FINAL WEEK...
  • [12] ...AS BUDISA, MESIC COMPETE FOR HDZ VOTES
  • [13] NEW CROATIAN AGENDA FOR BOSNIA
  • [14] BOSNIAN SERB GOVERNMENT COALITION BREAKING UP?
  • [15] MONTENEGRO SAYS SERBIA USING 'RACKET' AGAINST IT
  • [16] SERBIAN PUBLISHING HOUSE SHUT DOWN
  • [17] BELGRADE, BAGHDAD TO PROMOTE TRADE
  • [18] CONCERN IN ALBANIA OVER REPATRIATION AGREEMENT
  • [19] ROMANIAN FORMER PREMIER MOVES TO FORM NEW PARTY
  • [20] ROMANIA'S MAIN RULING PARTY SUPPORTS PRESIDENT
  • [21] REPUBLICA MOVEMENT OFFICIALLY SUPPORTS MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT
  • [22] BULGARIAN PREMIER MEETS WITH KOSOVA ALBANIAN LEADER
  • [23] BULGARIAN ETHNIC TURKISH LEADER WANTS TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION
  • [24] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT EXPLAINS VETOES

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [25] CROATIA TURNS ITS BACK ON TUDJMAN LEGACY

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] U.S. REGISTERS PROGRESS IN KARABAKH PEACE PROCESS

    A senior

    U.S. State Department official said in Davos on 28 January

    that "there is clearly movement" in the Karabakh peace

    process, AP and Reuters reported. "We are further ahead than

    before," he added. Armenian President Robert Kocharian and

    his Azerbaijani counterpart, Heidar Aliev, met for talks the

    previous day on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in

    Davos, and on 29 January held separate meetings with U.S.

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. No details of those

    talks were revealed. Kocharian and Aliev, together with

    Kyrgyzstan's President Askar Akaev, Kazakhstan's Prime

    Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev, and the Turkish and Iranian

    foreign ministers, also participated in a 28 January

    roundtable during which participants unanimously agreed that

    the Silk Road Project to revive east-west trade routes will

    have a positive impact on the situation in the region. LF

    [02] AZERBAIJAN PROTESTS SWISS INVESTMENT IN KARABAKH

    Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry on 25 January lodged an

    official protest with its Swiss counterpart in connection

    with the stated intention of two Swiss companies to begin the

    production of clocks and jewelry in the unrecognized Nagorno-

    Karabakh Republic and to embark on banking and agricultural

    projects there, Armenian news agencies reported on 29 January

    quoting the enclave's Foreign Minister Naira Melkumian. The

    Azerbaijani statement termed the Swiss companies' plans an

    encroachment on Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and

    appealed to the Swiss government to prevent their

    implementation. Representatives of Switzerland's Frank Muller

    company visited Nagorno-Karabakh in July 1999. Armenian

    President Robert Kocharian met in Davos on 29 January with

    the head of the second Swiss company planning to begin

    operations in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Armenian

    Television reported. LF

    [03] TWO GEORGIAN WARLORDS DISCUSS JOINING FORCES

    Former Georgian

    Defense Minister Tengiz Kitovani and Colonel Akaki Eliava,

    meeting in the west Georgian town of Senaki on 29 January,

    agreed that Georgia can regain control of the unrecognized

    Republic of Abkhazia only by means of a military operation in

    which Georgia's armed forces participate, Caucasus Press

    reported. Kitovani was jailed in 1995 for organizing a

    spontaneous military campaign to reconquer Abkhazia. Eliava

    has been in hiding in western Georgia since he led an

    unsuccessful coup attempt in the fall of 1998 (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 19 and 20 October 1998). The two men told

    journalists after their talks that their interests, including

    winning back Abkhazia, coincide but that it is too early to

    talks of joint actions. LF

    [04] THREE MORE GEORGIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES APPLY FOR

    REGISTRATION

    The number of persons who wish to contest the 9

    April presidential poll has risen to six, Caucasus Press

    reported on 29 January, citing the Central Electoral

    Commission. In addition to the incumbent, Eduard

    Shevardnadze, and two political unknowns who last week

    announced their intention to run (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 26

    January 2000), National Ideology Party chairman Zurab

    Gagnidze, former Finance Minister Guram Absandze and Davit

    Aghmashenebeli Party chairman Roin Liparteliani have applied

    to the commission to register as candidates. Absandze is

    implicated in the February 1998 attempt to assassinate

    Shevardnadze. Liparteliani was barred from registering as a

    candidate in the 1991 presidential election, and polled only

    0.2 percent of the vote in the 1995 presidential poll. LF

    [05] KAZAKHSTAN, CHINA SEEK TO RESOLVE OIL COMPANY DISPUTE

    Kazakhstan's Premier Toqaev met in Davos on 29 January with

    Chinese Vice Premier Wu Bangguo to discuss Kazakhstan's

    Aktobemunaigaz company in which the Chinese National

    Petroleum Company (CNPC) purchased a 60 percent stake in the

    fall of 1997, Interfax reported. One year later, the CNPC

    dismissed 2,000 employees of the company, but to date has

    neither paid them compensation nor offered them alternative

    employment. Toqaev said this failure risks compounding social

    tensions in Aktobe Oblast. The two ministers also discussed

    the planned construction of a gas export pipeline from

    Kazakhstan to China. Agreement on that project was reached in

    late 1997, but the agreed feasibility study for the project

    has not yet been undertaken. Kazakh officials last summer

    cast doubts on that project's economic viability (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 17 and 18 August 1999). LF

    [06] KYRGYZ OPPOSITION PARLIAMENT CANDIDATES PROTEST MEDIA POLICY

    NGOs in Kyrgyzstan on 28 January wrote to the country's

    leadership protesting that pro-government candidates for the

    20 February parliamentary elections have greater access to

    the media than do opposition candidates, RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported. Also on 28 January, opposition El (Bei

    Bechara) Party chairman Daniyar Usmenov, who is being held

    under arrest in a Bishkek hospital, told RFE/RL that he is

    not allowed to receive visits from prospective voters. The

    reason given for that ban is the flu epidemic currently

    sweeping the city. LF

    [07] KYRGYZSTAN POSTS MODEST GDP GROWTH IN 1999 BUT FAILS TO PAY

    FOREIGN DEBTS

    Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Finance Minister Kubat

    Kanimetov told a cabinet meeting in Bishkek on 28 January

    that GDP grew by 3 percent and agricultural output by 8.7

    percent last year, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital

    reported. But industrial production fell by 1.7 percent and

    annual inflation totaled 39.9 percent. In addition, Kanimetov

    warned that Kyrgyzstan's foreign debt now equals GDP, which

    is $1.4 billion. He added that Kyrgyzstan failed last year to

    repay $33 million owed to Russia, Turkey, and Pakistan and

    must pay $87 million in foreign debts in 2000, which is equal

    to 44 percent of total budget expenditure. Prime Minister

    Amangeldi Muraliev said that in conjunction with the National

    Bank and the World Bank, the government must draft a program

    for repaying the country's external debt. LF

    [08] TURKMEN PRESIDENT ACCUSES DEPUTY PREMIER OF CORRUPTION...

    Speaking at a cabinet meeting on 28 January, Saparmurat

    Niyazov accused 66-year-old Deputy Prime Minister and

    Minister of Energy and Industry Saparmurat Nuryev of abusing

    his official position for personal gain, Interfax and ITAR-

    TASS reported. Niyazov claimed that Nuryev has "practically

    privatized the energy sector" and appointed relatives to jobs

    in the energy sector and machine-building and chemical

    industries, for which he is responsible. Nuryev has been

    dismissed as deputy premier but will retain his ministerial

    post until an investigation into his alleged malpractice is

    completed. LF

    [09] ...APPOINTS NEW AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA

    Also on 28 January,

    Niyazov appointed Khalnazar Agakhanov, Turkmenistan's

    ambassador to Kazakhstan, to serve as ambassador to Moscow,

    ITAR-TASS reported. Agakhanov was born in 1952 and served

    from 1991-1999 as minister for trade and economic relations.

    He replaces Nury Orazmukhammamedov, who will take up the post

    of ambassador to Moldova. LF

    [10] UZBEK POLICE CONFISCATE COUNTERFEIT DOLLARS

    Uzbek police on

    28 January arrested four men from whom they had confiscated a

    total of 388,000 forged dollars, AP reported. The four men

    said they purchased the counterfeit currency in the

    neighboring Kazakh city of Shymkent from a native of the

    Caucasus. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [11] CROATIAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ENTERS FINAL WEEK...

    Leading

    presidential contender Stipe Mesic on 30 January urged voters

    to cast their ballots for him to prevent the large two-party

    governing coalition from "having a monopoly on power." Drazen

    Budisa, his opponent, accused Mesic of engaging in "populist

    demagogy" typical of the defeated Croatian Democratic

    Community (HDZ), RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported from

    Zagreb. The following day, "Slobodna Dalmacija" published a

    poll giving Mesic 43.5 percent of the vote and Budisa 34.4

    percent. Some 22.1 percent remain undecided. PM

    [12] ...AS BUDISA, MESIC COMPETE FOR HDZ VOTES

    Budisa said that,

    if elected president, he will ask defeated presidential

    candidates Mate Granic and Slaven Letica to be his foreign

    and domestic policy advisers, respectively. Budisa added that

    he would like former General Antun Tus or sociologist Ozren

    Zuneca to advise him on military matters, "Jutarnji list"

    reported on 31 January. Letica and Zuneca told the daily that

    Budisa did not mention the offer to either of them prior to

    his public statement. They added that they would not like to

    comment on that statement. Granic told the daily that he

    appreciates the offer but that he prefers to concentrate on

    his duties as a member of the parliament. Mesic, for his

    part, said that he would like Granic to become ambassador to

    the UN. Observers note that conservative voters who cast

    their ballots for Granic in the first round of voting on 24

    January are likely to decide the contest between Mesic and

    Budisa (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 January 2000). PM

    [13] NEW CROATIAN AGENDA FOR BOSNIA

    Foreign Minister Tonino

    Picula told "Slobodna Dalmacija" of 31 January that the new

    Croatian government will carry out its obligations toward

    Bosnia under the 1995 Dayton peace agreement "even if there

    are certain [unspecified] political realities that we do not

    like." Picula stressed that Zagreb will try to better the lot

    of the Croats in the neighboring state but not by calling for

    a revision of the Dayton agreement, as did the HDZ. Picula

    added that he hopes a new election law in Bosnia will put an

    end to ethnic polarization in voting patterns there. He

    called upon Serbian and Muslim leaders to help end such

    polarization. The Croatian government will continue to

    provide financial assistance to the ethnic Croats in the

    neighboring state but will do so in a completely transparent

    manner. Picula also said that it is time to put an end to the

    "political manipulation" of the Herzegovinian Croats.

    Observers note that this is an apparent reference to the

    close links between Croatian nationalists in Herzegovina and

    hard-line HDZ factions in Croatia. PM

    [14] BOSNIAN SERB GOVERNMENT COALITION BREAKING UP?

    The government

    of the Republika Srpska voted on 29 January to support Prime

    Minister Milorad Dodik's decision to sack Deputy Prime

    Minister Tihomir Gligoric, whose Socialist Party belongs to

    the governing coalition. Zivko Radisic, who is the ethnic

    Serbian member of the Bosnian joint presidency and a member

    of the Socialist Party, said Dodik should stop accusing the

    Socialists of making trouble and "admit" that he himself will

    be to blame if the coalition splits. Dodik, who supports the

    opposition in Serbia, has recently been at odds with the

    Socialists, whose party is linked to Milosevic's Socialist

    Party (see "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 25 January 2000). PM

    [15] MONTENEGRO SAYS SERBIA USING 'RACKET' AGAINST IT

    Montenegrin

    Economics Minister Vojin Djukanovic said in Podgorica that

    the Serbian authorities engage in a "racket" to extort money

    from Montenegrin businesses. Montenegrin companies buying

    goods in Serbia are forced to pay fees to the Serbian

    authorities that are the equivalent in German marks of up to

    $3,500 per truckload of goods. Djukanovic charged that

    Belgrade uses the money from the Montenegrin companies to

    "wage a political campaign against the authorities in

    Podgorica," RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported on 30

    January. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Montenegrin Justice Minister

    Dragan Soc said Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has

    "used up" Kosova as a political issue and is now seeking to

    make trouble with Montenegro. PM

    [16] SERBIAN PUBLISHING HOUSE SHUT DOWN

    A Belgrade court on 28

    January ordered closed the premises of the independent ABC

    printing company, AP reported. The court made the move as

    part of a bankruptcy procedure against the firm. ABC general

    manager Slavoljub Kacarevic said, however, that the company

    has reached agreements with its creditors. He charged that

    the court wants to shut down his company because it publishes

    the independent daily "Glas javnosti" and other anti-

    Milosevic publications. PM

    [17] BELGRADE, BAGHDAD TO PROMOTE TRADE

    Yugoslav Trade Minister

    Borislav Vukovic agreed in Baghdad on 30 January with Iraqi

    Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan to promote bilateral

    trade. Ramadan said that Baghdad wants to "confront the

    aggressive American policy against Iraq and Yugoslavia,"

    Reuters reported. Vukovic replied that "Iraq has great

    economic potential and [has successfully confronted] arrogant

    U.S. policy." In November 1999, the two countries concluded a

    trade agreement in conjunction with Iraq's oil-for-food

    agreement with the UN. PM

    [18] CONCERN IN ALBANIA OVER REPATRIATION AGREEMENT

    Several

    Tirana dailies wrote on 30 January that Albania will have

    difficulty carrying out its recent agreement with Germany to

    help repatriate 100,000 refugees from Germany to Kosova.

    "Gazeta Shqiptare" argued that the Albanian police do not

    have the manpower to protect the convoys of refugees from

    probable attacks by armed bandit gangs, dpa reported.

    Elsewhere, an Albanian Defense Ministry spokesman said that

    Germany has sent $3.5 million worth of military equipment to

    Albania "in recent years." Observers note that much of it

    comes from stocks of the former East German army. PM

    [19] ROMANIAN FORMER PREMIER MOVES TO FORM NEW PARTY

    Radu Vasile

    on 28 January announced that he and 10 members of the

    National Peasants' Party Christian Democratic (PNT-CD) will

    leave that group and form their own political party. The

    group of defectors includes PNTC-CD Vice President Sorin

    Lepsa, who told a gathering of the party's top leadership on

    28 January that he is "ashamed" of the way the party has

    performed in government. The defectors also accused the PNT-

    CD leadership of cronyism and adopting "dictatorial" stances.

    PNT-CD President Ion Diaconescu said at the meeting that

    Vasile has "proved his incapacity" as prime minister.

    Delegates elected Agriculture Minister Ioan Muresan as PNT-CD

    vice president and Remus Opris as secretary-general, Rompres

    reported. VG

    [20] ROMANIA'S MAIN RULING PARTY SUPPORTS PRESIDENT

    The PNT-CD

    announced on 30 January that it will support President Emil

    Constantinescu for a second term in office, AP reported.

    Constantinescu, who was present at the party's meeting on 30

    January, thanked the delegates. But he added that the PNT-CD

    must clarify allegations by some party members of corruption

    within the PNT-CD. He also said the alleged "profiteers"

    should "leave now." In other news, the former leader of the

    Democratic Agrarian Party, Victor Surdu, has announced his

    membership in the Party of Social Democracy in Romania,

    Mediafax reported on 28 January. And the previous day, the

    Federation of Rail Unions signed a protocol with the national

    railway company management whereby wage increases are tied to

    the company's monthly revenues. VG

    [21] REPUBLICA MOVEMENT OFFICIALLY SUPPORTS MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT

    The Republica social movement announced at its general

    assembly on 29 January that it supports President Petru

    Lucinschi's intention to modify the country's constitution,

    BASA-Press reported. Republica submitted to the president

    lists containing some 500,000 signatures in support of the

    president's aims. Former Interior Minister Mihai Plamadeala,

    who was elected chairman of the Republica Presidium at the

    general assembly, said the organization wants all political

    forces in the country to sign a "pact of social consensus."

    In addition to calling for a "tightening" of executive power,

    Plamadeala called for revoking parliamentary deputies'

    immunity, the establishment of a national anti-corruption

    program, and an increase in local authorities' powers.

    Lucinschi, who attended the meeting, said Republica's ideas

    "perfectly coincide" with his own. In other news, Romanian

    President Constantinescu on 28 January granted Lucinschi The

    Star of Romania award for his contribution to "fraternal

    relations" between their two countries and also in

    recognition of the Moldovan leader's 60th birthday, Infotag

    reported. VG

    [22] BULGARIAN PREMIER MEETS WITH KOSOVA ALBANIAN LEADER

    Hashim

    Thaci, the head of the former Kosova Liberation Army, on 29

    January said he is confident Kosova will eventually gain its

    independence from Serbia through a referendum, Reuters

    reported. Thaci, who heads the Democratic Progress Party of

    Kosova, made his comments after meeting with Bulgarian Prime

    Minister Ivan Kostov in Sofia. Thaci said he believes that

    "Bulgaria under Kostov will continue to be a stabilizing

    factor in the Balkans." Arben Xhaferi, the leader of the

    Democratic Party of Albanians in Macedonia, said "we need the

    support of important external factors like Bulgaria and

    Kosova for the stabilization of Macedonia." Both ethnic

    Albanian leaders stressed that they want closer ties with

    Bulgaria but added that such ties should not be based on what

    Thaci described as "anti-Serbian feelings." VG

    [23] BULGARIAN ETHNIC TURKISH LEADER WANTS TO CHANGE CONSTITUTION

    The leader of the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and

    Freedoms (MRF), Ahmed Dogan, on 30 January repeated his

    recent call for the Bulgarian Constitution to be changed to

    recognize ethnic minorities (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25

    January 2000). Dogan made the comment after being re-elected

    leader of the MRF at a party congress on 30 January. Thaci

    and Xhaferi attended that meeting. In other news, Bulgarian

    parliamentary deputies on 28 January approved agreements with

    NATO on Bulgaria's participation in KFOR, BTA reported (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 26 January 2000). VG

    [24] BULGARIAN PRESIDENT EXPLAINS VETOES

    Petar Stoyanov on 28

    January explained his decision to veto recent amendments to

    the Penal Code dealing with punishments for violating libel

    laws and committing crimes under the influence of drugs, BTA

    reported. Stoyanov said that while he agrees with the

    parliament's decision to abolish prison sentences for libel

    and defamation, he believes the fines that have been imposed

    instead are too high. He added that amendments dealing with

    the punishment of crimes committed under the influence of

    drugs are not consistent with the trend of liberalization in

    Bulgaria. VG


    [C] END NOTE

    [25] CROATIA TURNS ITS BACK ON TUDJMAN LEGACY

    By Andrej Krickovic

    The ruling Croatian Democratic Community's (HDZ)

    resounding defeat in the recent parliamentary and

    presidential elections signals a turning point for Croatia.

    The country's citizens flocked to the polls to vote out the

    HDZ with the same sense of urgency and enthusiasm they had in

    1990, when they ousted the communist regime and supported

    Croatian independence. Only a few weeks have passed since the

    death of President Franjo Tudjman, but the citizens of

    Croatia have already turned their backs on his legacy with

    breathtaking speed.

    It is telling that the candidate who gained the

    most votes in the first round of the presidential elections,

    Stipe Mesic, was also the most uncompromising in his

    criticism of Tudjman's regime. In fact, the three leading

    candidates--including the HDZ's Mate Granic--all promised to

    reduce the extensive powers of the presidency, cut aid to the

    Herzegovinian Croats, and support the return of Serbian

    refugees who fled Croatia during the war. Tudjman would have

    regarded such policies as treason.

    Even Granic sought to distance himself from

    Tudjman's legacy. When speaking about Tudjman during the

    campaign, he sought to emphasize the role he himself had

    played as foreign minister in moderating the late president's

    nationalism and anti-Western policies. Meanwhile, the HDZ has

    been paralyzed by Tudjman's failure to organize an orderly

    succession. Instead, the party shows every sign of rapid

    fragmentation and may not last as a unified party much

    longer.

    Tudjman was very much a nationalist of the old school

    and an authoritarian at heart. He believed in the sanctity of

    the nation and nation-state. He regarded the continuation of

    HDZ rule and his grandiose project to annex a piece of

    Bosnia-Herzegovina for Croatia to be matters of national

    survival. And he also surrounded himself with a motley crew

    of radical emigres (many of whom had ties to the fascist

    World War II Croatian regime), mediocre nationalist writers,

    regime journalists, as well as other opportunists and "yes-

    men" whose loyalty to him was unquestioning. For years, this

    new elite was able to bully and manipulate the public into

    backing Tudjman's policies and voting for the HDZ. Any figure

    of any prominence who opposed these goals was labeled a

    traitor and could expect to be hounded by the loyalist state

    press or spied on by the secret police.

    Ten years ago, Croatia voted in Tudjman and the HDZ

    on a wave of nationalistic euphoria. Most Croats

    wholeheartedly backed Tudjman's drive for Croatian

    independence and even accepted his xenophobic and paranoid

    statements about foreign anti-Croatian conspiracies during

    the 1991-1995 war. Such statements were welcomed by those who

    were frustrated with the West's unwillingness to intervene

    against Serbian aggression.

    Yet Tudjman's nationalist message began to lose its

    appeal in peace time. Citizens became dissatisfied with his

    autocratic and arrogant style of rule. They were also angered

    by the financial scandals that dogged the new ruling elite,

    including Tudjman's own family. But despite the system's

    increasing public unpopularity and the growth of support for

    the opposition Social Democrats, the system continued to

    function as long as the "old man" was still alive but came

    crashing down like a house of cards when the main player--the

    man whom it was all designed to serve--left the political

    scene.

    In retrospect, it is probable that Tudjman's system

    of values was never really accepted by a majority of Croatian

    citizens. The hopes and dreams of most of Croatia's citizens

    focus on economic prosperity and acceptance as a normal

    European country. In the end, voters realized that Tudjman's

    regime could not offer them anything more than economic

    misery, corruption, and international isolation.

    The international community now has high hopes for

    Croatia. The country is the first of the big three (Bosnia

    and Serbia being the other two) that were involved in the

    wars of the Yugoslav succession to vote out its nationalist

    regime. Both the EU and the U.S. hope that democratic and

    economic reforms in Croatia will provide a shining example

    for Serbia, Bosnia, and other countries in the region that

    have lagged behind in the reform process.

    The road ahead will be difficult. The HDZ has left

    behind a myriad of social and economic problems. The new

    government will have to maintain its unity and stick to its

    course if it wants to solve these problems and keep the

    confidence of its citizens. If it falters, however, Tudjman's

    political successors may benefit from a public backlash.

    Nevertheless, there will be no going back. The arrogant and

    intractable policies that proved an obstacle to the country's

    democratic development seem to have been laid to rest with

    the late president.

    The author is a Zagreb-based writer (akrickovic@aol.com)

    31-01-00


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


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