Browse through our Interesting Nodes on Turkey A)? GHT="50">
Compact version
Today's Suggestion
Read The "Macedonian Question" (by Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou)
HomeAbout HR-NetNewsWeb SitesDocumentsOnline HelpUsage InformationContact us
Wednesday, 22 January 2020
 
News
  Latest News (All)
     From Greece
     From Cyprus
     From Europe
     From Balkans
     From Turkey
     From USA
  Announcements
  World Press
  News Archives
Web Sites
  Hosted
  Mirrored
  Interesting Nodes
Documents
  Special Topics
  Treaties, Conventions
  Constitutions
  U.S. Agencies
  Cyprus Problem
  Other
Services
  Personal NewsPaper
  Greek Fonts
  Tools
  F.A.Q.
 

RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 114, 00-06-13

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. 114, 13 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT MAJORITY REJECTS ELECTION LAW REFORM
  • [02] ARMENIA FREES AZERBAIJANI POW
  • [03] EMBATTLED AZERBAIJANI EDITOR TO SEEK POLITICAL ASYLUM ABROAD
  • [04] ADJAR LEADER, FORMER CP FIRST SECRETARY IMPLICATED IN
  • [05] GEORGIA REJECTS CHECHEN REFUGEES' REQUEST TO BE RESETTLED
  • [06] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW CANDIDATE FOR AGRICULTURE
  • [07] ...DENIES HIS HEALTH IS FAILING
  • [08] GEORGIAN SPECIAL POLICE DISPERSE DISPLACED PERSONS' PROTEST
  • [09] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY AGAIN ACCUSES GUERRILLAS OF
  • [10] BOMB DEFUSED IN GEORGIAN CAPITAL
  • [11] TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS KAZAKHSTAN
  • [12] DISPUTED KYRGYZ ROUNDTABLE HOLDS CONCLUDING SESSION...
  • [13] ...AS POLICE DETAIN, BEAT PICKET PARTICIPANTS
  • [14] UZBEK PRESIDENT APPEALS TO PAKISTAN TO HELP MEDIATE END TO

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [15] KOUCHNER UPBEAT ON UNMIK'S RECORD...
  • [16] ...SEES UN IN KOSOVA FOR LONG HAUL
  • [17] ...IS DOWN ON DIENSTBIER
  • [18] KOSOVAR DAILY REAPPEARS AFTER BAN
  • [19] PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN MONTENEGRIN VOTE
  • [20] MILOSEVIC GIVES LI PENG MEDAL
  • [21] DRASKOVIC BACKERS VISIT CHINA
  • [22] SERBIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS MONUMENT FOR 1999 WAR
  • [23] SERBIAN OPPOSITION FORMS MEDIA COMMITTEE
  • [24] TUDJMAN GETS SQUARE IN SPLIT
  • [25] POLICE INVESTIGATE CROATIA'S MAIN SOCCER CLUBS
  • [26] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT BALKS AT TESTIFYING OVER MONEY-
  • [27] ROMANIAN POLITICAL MAP ABOUT TO CHANGE?
  • [28] NEW POLITICAL PARTY SET UP IN MOLDOVA
  • [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT PUTS BORDER TREATY WITH UKRAINE ON
  • [30] BULGARIANS PRAY FOR MEDICS ON TRIAL IN LIBYA

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [31] ELECTORAL YEAR KICKS OFF IN ROMANIA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT MAJORITY REJECTS ELECTION LAW REFORM

    Parliamentary deputies on 12 June voted down a bill co-

    authored by five minority factions that would have

    significantly increased the proportion of parliament mandates

    allocated under the proportional system, RFE/RL's Yerevan

    bureau reported. The Communist, Dashnaktsutiun, and Orinats

    Yerkir parties as well as the National Democratic Union and

    the Right and Accord bloc (which have eight, eight, six,

    seven, and seven deputies, respectively) had proposed

    amending the present ratio of mandates allocated under the

    proportional and majoritarian systems from 56:75 to 101:30.

    If adopted, that amendment would have increased their chances

    of greater representation in the next parliament. LF

    [02] ARMENIA FREES AZERBAIJANI POW

    The Armenian authorities on 12

    June released an Azerbaijani serviceman taken prisoner in

    July 1999 near Goradiz, close to the Azerbaijani-Iranian

    border, Turan reported. LF

    [03] EMBATTLED AZERBAIJANI EDITOR TO SEEK POLITICAL ASYLUM ABROAD

    Elmar Huseinov, editor of the newspaper "Bakinskii bulvard"

    and the journal "Monitor Weekly," told Turan on 13 June that

    he intends to approach an unnamed Western embassy in Baku to

    request political asylum. He said that decision was prompted

    by ongoing harassment from the Azerbaijani authorities. The

    Baku tax police sealed those publications' premises last

    month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 10 May 2000). Employees were

    allowed to enter the offices again on the morning of 12 June,

    but the premises were sealed again after they left at the end

    of the day. Also on 12 June, a Baku district court rejected

    Huseinov's suit against the district tax office. LF

    [04] ADJAR LEADER, FORMER CP FIRST SECRETARY IMPLICATED IN

    GEORGIAN ASSASSINATION PLOT

    Former Georgian Interior

    Ministry official Otar Melikidze has accused Adjar State

    Council Chairman Aslan Abashidze and former Georgian

    Communist Party First Secretary Djumber Patiashvili of

    participating in plans, foiled in May 1999, to assassinate

    Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze and seize power in

    Georgia, Caucasus Press reported on 13 June, citing "Eco-

    Digest" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 May 1999). Melikidze has

    since reportedly retracted that accusation, saying that he

    made it "under physical and psychological pressure." LF

    [05] GEORGIA REJECTS CHECHEN REFUGEES' REQUEST TO BE RESETTLED

    Georgia's Minister for Refugees Valeri Vashakidze told

    Caucasus Press on 12 June that neither the Georgian

    government nor the UN High Commissioner for Refugees

    considers it expedient to build a tent camp elsewhere in

    Georgia for the Chechen refugees now living in Georgia's

    Pankisi gorge. Those refugees last week petitioned the

    Georgian government to resettle them anywhere in Georgia on

    the grounds that they are held responsible for an upsurge in

    criminal activities in the gorge (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9

    June 2000). President Shevardnadze similarly said on 12 June

    that he does not consider the refugees' presence in the gorge

    a destabilizing factor. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT NAMES NEW CANDIDATE FOR AGRICULTURE

    MINISTER...

    Shevardnadze told journalists in Tbilisi on12

    June that he will propose that the parliament endorse the

    candidacy of its Agriculture Committee Chairman David

    Kirvalidze as minister of agriculture, Caucasus Press

    reported. He characterized Kirvalidze as "a talented man and

    a good farmer." Kirvalidze has been one of the fiercest

    critics of former Agriculture Minister Bakur Gulua, a

    longtime Shevardnadze associate, whose reappointment to that

    post deputies rejected last month (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 25

    May 2000). LF

    [07] ...DENIES HIS HEALTH IS FAILING

    In his traditional Monday

    radio broadcast on 12 June, Shevardnadze rejected as

    "psychological sabotage" rumors that he is gravely ill,

    Caucasus Press reported. He ordered the law enforcement

    agencies to take tough measures against persons who

    disseminate such rumors, which he described as intended to

    undermine Georgia's statehood. LF

    [08] GEORGIAN SPECIAL POLICE DISPERSE DISPLACED PERSONS' PROTEST

    A Tbilisi special police unit used force on 12 June to

    disperse a group of some 300 displaced persons who were

    picketing the Constitutional Court, Caucasus Press reported.

    The displaced Georgians, who had fled Abkhazia during the

    1992-1993 war, were demanding payment of allowances overdue

    for the past four months and new initiatives by the Georgian

    government to restore its jurisdiction over Abkhazia.

    Minister for Refugees Vashakidze said the same day that the

    displaced persons' allowances for February will be paid by 14

    June and that the Georgian authorities have earmarked 3.5

    million lari ($1.8 million) to repay the arrears. Displaced

    persons receive 11 lari a month, LF

    [09] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY AGAIN ACCUSES GUERRILLAS OF

    SMUGGLING

    Speaking at a press conference in Tbilisi on 12

    June, parliamentary deputy Tengiz Jgushia again accused Dato

    Shengelia, one of the leaders of the "Forest Brothers"

    guerrilla organization operating in western Georgia, of

    controlling smuggling operations from Abkhazia to Georgia,

    Caucasus Press reported (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 9 June 2000).

    Jgushia added that neither regional governor Bondo Djikia nor

    the local police are able to prevent Shengelia and his

    estimated 50 men from "terrorizing" the population of the

    west Georgian region of Mingrelia. Local residents, Jgushia

    said, have been reduced to a state of "despair." On 13 June,

    "Alia" quoted Zurab Samushia, who heads the White Legion

    guerrillas, as denying that his men are engaged in smuggling.

    LF

    [10] BOMB DEFUSED IN GEORGIAN CAPITAL

    Police in Tbilisi on 12

    June found and defused a time bomb containing 1.5 kilograms

    of explosives under a staircase in a department store close

    to the city's main railway station, Caucasus Press reported.

    The Security Ministry has begun an investigation. LF

    [11] TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS KAZAKHSTAN

    Ismail Cem met

    with Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev in

    Astana on 12 June for talks focusing on Kazakhstan's possible

    agreement to export oil via the planned Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

    Energy analysts believe that the Azerbaijani sector of the

    Caspian cannot produce enough crude to render the Baku-Ceyhan

    pipeline economically viable but that recent test drilling

    indicates that Kazakhstan's offshore Kashagan field contains

    reserves large enough to warrant the $2.4 billion investment

    the project will require (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 11 May

    2000). Reuters quoted Toqaev as repeating Kazakhstan's

    earlier position that it will select export pipelines

    depending on which becomes operational soonest. He noted that

    the Caspian Pipeline Consortium project will be completed in

    late 2001, while Baku-Ceyhan cannot be finished before 2004

    at the earliest. LF

    [12] DISPUTED KYRGYZ ROUNDTABLE HOLDS CONCLUDING SESSION...

    The

    second and last session of the roundtable discussion between

    the Kyrgyz authorities, opposition parties, and NGOs was held

    in Bishkek on 12 June, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital

    reported. The first round took place on 8 June. Addressing

    the gathering, President Askar Akaev solicited suggestions

    from opposition parties on measures to stabilize the

    political and economic situation. He said those suggestions

    will be incorporated into a development program for 2001-2002

    that will be drafted by the end of this year. Akaev also

    admitted that irregularities were registered in a number of

    court cases connected with the conduct of the February-March

    parliamentary elections, prompting him to dismiss Asanbek

    Sharshanaliev as prosecutor-general. LF

    [13] ...AS POLICE DETAIN, BEAT PICKET PARTICIPANTS

    Police on 12

    June detained 10 participants in the ongoing picket to demand

    the annulment of the election results, RFE/RL's Bishkek

    bureau reported. Some of the detainees, including two women,

    were beaten. They were released after being held for four

    hours, according to the Kyrgyz Human Rights Committee. On 12

    June, the demonstration entered its 89th day. Meanwhile,

    another group of demonstrators have appealed to the Bishkek

    City Court, which on 9 June rejected its suit against 23

    parliamentary deputies who had published an open letter in

    April alleging that the picket participants were being paid

    for their ongoing protest. The judge ruled that under the

    Procedural-Criminal Code, a suit may be brought only against

    an individual but not against a group of people. LF

    [14] UZBEK PRESIDENT APPEALS TO PAKISTAN TO HELP MEDIATE END TO

    AFGHAN FIGHTING

    Speaking at the 10-11 June summit in Tehran

    of the Economic Cooperation Organization, Islam Karimov asked

    Pakistan's Chief Executive Pervez Musharraf to promote a

    peace settlement between Afghanistan's warring Taliban and

    the Northern Alliance, Interfax reported. Karimov underlined

    that terrorism emanating from Afghanistan is a serious threat

    to his country's security and stability. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [15] KOUCHNER UPBEAT ON UNMIK'S RECORD...

    Bernard Kouchner, who

    heads the UN's civilian administration in Kosova (UNMIK),

    said in Prishtina on 12 June that UNMIK can be proud of its

    achievements during its first year of existence (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 12 June 2000). He argued that one cannot "make a

    Switzerland in 12 months" and stressed that "technically,

    politically, in terms of administration, in terms of human

    rights, of protection, we did a lot," an RFE/RL correspondent

    reported. Kouchner also appealed for inter-ethnic tolerance:

    "Kosovo must join the democracies of Europe, every one of

    which respects and includes all of its minorities in their

    political bodies.... [That] was the reason for our engagement

    and coming in here." PM

    [16] ...SEES UN IN KOSOVA FOR LONG HAUL

    Kouchner said in

    Prishtina on 12 June that the local elections in October will

    lead to the "transfer of more responsibilities of government

    to the people" of Kosova, Reuters reported. Kouchner also

    appealed to members of the Serbian and Roma minorities to

    register and vote to ensure their voice in the province's

    future. The UN will nonetheless need to be present in Kosova

    for "many years" to come, he concluded. PM

    [17] ...IS DOWN ON DIENSTBIER

    Kouchner had sharp words for UN

    human rights envoy Jiri Dienstbier during his 12 June speech

    in Prishtina, an RFE/RL correspondent reported. Kouchner

    slammed Dienstbier for allegedly criticizing UNMIK without

    first checking his facts. The former French cabinet minister

    called on Dienstbier to "shut up," adding that he will not

    receive the Czech diplomat. Kouchner noted that Czech

    President Vaclav Havel has also been sharply critical of

    Dienstbier for being outspoken but poorly informed (see

    "RFE/RL Balkan Report," 23 May 2000). PM

    [18] KOSOVAR DAILY REAPPEARS AFTER BAN

    The Prishtina daily "Dita"

    appeared on 13 June after a recent ban (see "RFE/RL Balkan

    Report," 9 June 2000). Kouchner imposed the ban because the

    daily had published an article that UNMIK called

    "inflammatory." Kouchner argued that the article led to the

    death of a Serbian UN employee. "Dita" wrote on 13 June that

    it will continue to publish the names of persons it believes

    guilty of war crimes. PM

    [19] PRELIMINARY RESULTS IN MONTENEGRIN VOTE

    Preliminary,

    unofficial election results show that President Milo

    Djukanovic's For A Better Life coalition scored a victory in

    the capital, Podgorica, with 28 out of 54 seats in the city

    council, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 12 June 2000). In the smaller port town of Herceg

    Novi, the Yugoslavia coalition loyal to Yugoslav President

    Slobodan Milosevic is leading, with 19 out of 35 seats.

    Podgorica's Mayor-elect Miomir Mugosa said that Milosevic's

    support in Herceg Novi came primarily from "persons of

    Serbian nationality from Bosnia and Croatia" who moved to the

    port town in recent years. He added that the new arrivals

    gave their votes to "the man who destroyed all that they used

    to have in the places they came from before they moved to

    Montenegro." PM

    [20] MILOSEVIC GIVES LI PENG MEDAL

    Milosevic presented the Order

    of the Great Star of Yugoslavia to visiting Chinese

    parliamentary speaker Li Peng in Belgrade on 12 June,

    RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 12 June 2000). The two leaders issued a joint

    statement, saying that UNMIK "is being abused for the

    interests of Albanian terrorists and their allies in NATO.

    Under the authority of the UN, genocide against the Serbian

    people and other non-Albanians is being carried out," AP

    reported. The two men called for the return of Serbian forces

    to the provinces. Li is the highest-ranking foreign official

    to meet with Milosevic since the Hague-based war crimes

    tribunal indicted him in May 1999 for atrocities in Kosova.

    PM

    [21] DRASKOVIC BACKERS VISIT CHINA

    A delegation from Vuk

    Draskovic's Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) led by Belgrade

    Mayor Vojislav Mihajlovic returned from China on 12 June. SPO

    spokesman Predrag Simic noted that delegates held talks with

    government and business leaders in Beijing and Shanghai,

    "Danas" reported. PM

    [22] SERBIAN PRESIDENT UNVEILS MONUMENT FOR 1999 WAR

    In Belgrade

    on 12 June, Milan Milutinovic dedicated a white obelisk

    topped by an eternal flame to honor the "victims of NATO

    aggression," Reuters reported. He noted that "even in the

    aggressors' countries" there is an increasing number of

    people who regard "NATO as the loser" of that conflict (see

    "RFE/RL Newsline," 8 June 2000). PM

    [23] SERBIAN OPPOSITION FORMS MEDIA COMMITTEE

    Representatives of

    all major opposition parties and coalitions, with the

    exception of the SPO, agreed in Belgrade on 12 June to set up

    a joint public relations committee. They also decided to

    establish a body of experts to draft the principles for a

    joint opposition slate in the local elections expected in the

    fall or winter, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. In

    addition, opposition leaders called on the West to back up

    its offers of moral support for the opposition with concrete

    help. The G-17 group of economists especially wants to be

    able to show the electorate that it has firm plans and

    pledges from the EU's Stability Pact to carry out

    reconstruction. G-17 leaders called on the EU to organize a

    donors' conference for a post-Milosevic Serbia, "Danas"

    reported. PM

    [24] TUDJMAN GETS SQUARE IN SPLIT

    The city council voted on 12

    June to name a square after the late President Franjo

    Tudjman, RFE/RL's South Slavic Service reported. The council

    also agreed to remove the name of controversial writer and

    World War II government minister Mile Budak from a street. PM

    [25] POLICE INVESTIGATE CROATIA'S MAIN SOCCER CLUBS

    Police have

    launched an investigation into irregularities in the business

    affairs of Dinamo Zagreb, "Jutarnji list" reported on 13

    June. Top officials of Hajduk Split are already under

    investigation. PM

    [26] FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT BALKS AT TESTIFYING OVER MONEY-

    LAUNDERING

    Party of Social Democracy in Romania Chairman

    (PDSR) Ion Iliescu failed on 12 June to heed a summons by the

    Prosecutor-General's Office to testify in the investigation

    launched on behalf of the French authorities into the Adrian

    Costea money-laundering affair. PDSR Deputy Chairman Ioan

    Mircea Pascu said Iliescu's agenda was "too heavy" due to the

    ongoing electoral campaign. Pascu accused the investigators

    of "attempting to create a false image of unwillingness to

    cooperate" on Iliescu's part. He said the summons should have

    been "more amiably coordinated" with Iliescu and that the

    affair "is clearly being exploited for electoral purposes

    directed against our party," RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau

    reported. Meanwhile, the Prosecutor-General's Office

    announced that it has again summoned Iliescu, who is now

    required to appear on 19 June. MS

    [27] ROMANIAN POLITICAL MAP ABOUT TO CHANGE?

    National Liberal

    Party (PNL) Deputy Chairman Valeriu Stoica has said the

    Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR) can regain its

    political predominance "only if its structure and leadership

    become more pronouncedly liberal," RFE/ RL's Bucharest bureau

    reported on 12 June. He proposed the setting up of a new

    political alliance that would include the CDR, the Democratic

    Party, and the Alliance for Romania (APR), adding that those

    parties should run on joint lists for the parliamentary

    elections and support a joint candidate in the presidential

    ballot. Stoica also did not rule out that the PNL will again

    run in the parliamentary elections on lists separate from

    those of the CDR should it fail to resolve its problems. APR

    Chairman Teodor Melescanu responded that the PNL must "first

    distance itself from the government's and particularly from

    President Constantinescu's...erroneous economic policies"

    (see also "End Note" below). MS

    [28] NEW POLITICAL PARTY SET UP IN MOLDOVA

    The Association of

    Victims of the Soviet Occupational Regime and Veterans of

    Romanian Army is to transform itself into a political party

    and will call itself the Romanian National Party (PNR). Party

    chairman Gheorghe Ghimpu said on 12 June that his formation

    will demand from the Russian Federation $10.7 billion in

    compensation for "the damage inflicted on Moldova during the

    Soviet period." Ghimpu added that the PNR may field its own

    presidential candidate in the elections due in the fall. He

    also said the party has 10,000 members, RFE/RL's Chisinau

    bureau reported. MS

    [29] MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT PUTS BORDER TREATY WITH UKRAINE ON

    BACKBURNER

    The parliament has again voted against debating

    the 1999 treaty with Ukraine on settling the border dispute

    between the two countries. Under that treaty, the two states

    were to exchange small chunks of territory, giving Ukraine

    sovereignty over a portion of a highway to Odesa that passes

    through Moldovan territory in exchange for a small strip of

    land leading to the River Danube, where Moldova wants to

    build an oil terminal. The Party of Moldovan Communists said

    it has "other constructive proposals to make," while the

    Popular Party Christian Democratic called the treaty "a

    fiasco for Moldovan diplomacy." The Ukrainian parliament has

    ratified the treaty, and experts cited by Infotag said

    Moldova's refusal to do so might result in Ukrainian

    lawmakers' refusal to ratify an agreement recognizing

    Moldovan properties on Ukrainian territory. MS

    [30] BULGARIANS PRAY FOR MEDICS ON TRIAL IN LIBYA

    Some 3,000

    people gathered outside Sofia's main cathedral on 12 June to

    pray for the six Bulgarians who are due to go on trial in

    Libya on charges of deliberately infecting children with the

    HIV virus in a Benghazi hospital. The prayer was organized by

    popular television and radio personalities as well as the

    daily "24 Chasa," Reuters reported. MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [31] ELECTORAL YEAR KICKS OFF IN ROMANIA

    By Michael Shafir

    The final results of the first round of Romania's local

    elections were officially released on 8 June, four days after

    the ballot. Reactions, however, came sooner. Just one day

    after results were becoming known, politicians and political

    analysts, in a rare display of unanimity, agreed that the

    vote had produced a clear winner: the opposition Party of

    Social Democracy in Romania (PDSR). But there was less accord

    on the extent of the PDSR's victory and its implications for

    "electoral year 2000."

    The ballot's outcome confirmed pollsters' predictions.

    Yet in the last few months, the PDSR and its leaders had

    become increasingly entangled in political and legal

    scandals, and some people--particularly among the ruling

    coalition and its sympathizers--were obviously hoping that

    these developments would either diminish or even fully

    obliterate the lead that the PDSR had built up in opinion

    polls. That hope was not realized, however.

    The main reason seems to be the poor marks the main

    coalition partners are now receiving from an electorate that

    is clearly disillusioned with the change of government that

    took place in 1996. Another reason is the division within the

    ranks of the Democratic Convention of Romania (CDR). Four

    years ago, that political umbrella included the National

    Peasant Party Christian Democratic (PNTCD), the National

    Liberal Party (PNL), the Romanian Alternative Party, as well

    as some ecologist formations and several civic movements, the

    most important of which was the Civic Alliance (MAC). The

    PNTCD has in the meantime experienced several serious crises

    and splits, and two former PNTCD premiers are now the leaders

    of separate formations: Victor Ciorbea chairs the National

    Christian Democratic Alliance (ANCD) and Radu Vasile heads

    the Popular Party-National Right (PPDR). The Romanian

    Alternative has changed its name to the Union of Rightist

    Forces (UFD) and left the CDR. More important, the PNL chose

    to run on lists separate from those of the CDR in the local

    elections, as did one of the two green parties.

    The ballot outcome shows that these divisions were

    insufficient to produce a new electoral map but sufficient to

    drastically alter political hierarchies on the right of the

    political spectrum, thereby weakening rightist forces. The

    ANCD, the PPDR, and the UFD are likely to sink into political

    oblivion or somewhere close to it, but the CDR--or rather

    what is left of it, which is, above all, the PNTCD-- has

    suffered an obvious blow.

    MAC's non-participation in the election campaign (after

    suspending itself from the CDR to protest "politicking") also

    played a role in the defeat of the rightist forces. The PNL,

    on the other hand, has apparently succeeded in its goal of

    demonstrating to the PNTCD that it is at least as strong as

    its "sister party". In fact, it did better in the ballot than

    the PNTCD, having received 9 percent backing in the mayoral

    elections, some 7 percent in the ballot for county

    councilors, and nearly 8 percent in the vote for local

    councilors (compared with 8 percent, 7.4 percent, and 7.2

    percent, respectively, for the CDR). It will now be difficult

    for the PNTCD to reject an expected PNL demand for parity on

    the lists for the parliamentary elections, in which the two

    parties will again run jointly if their alliance survives

    till then.

    Local elections have only a limited use as barometers

    for parliamentary elections, particularly when turnout is low

    (less than 51 percent, in the case of the 8 June vote) and

    even more so when most mayoral races remain to be decided in

    runoffs on 18 June. The best yardstick is the outcome of the

    county councilor elections (where no runoffs are to be held)

    because the distribution of mandates employed in this case is

    similar to that used in the parliamentary elections.

    Judging by this yardstick, the PDSR's victory is not

    that impressive. The party leads the field--as indeed it has

    done in all local elections held to date--with 27.4 percent

    of the vote, well ahead of the second-placed Democratic Party

    (9.9 percent). Still, it neither commands a majority, nor can

    it forge one at little expense. But a new leftist

    parliamentary majority might be in the offing. Come the fall

    parliamentary elections, the PDSR and the PD could easily

    include the third-placed Alliance for Romania Party (7.3

    percent) and the Social Democratic Party (2.2 percent)-- if

    the latter manages to pass the electoral hurdle (currently 3

    percent but it might be raised). Such a parliamentary

    alliance comes close to a majority and could be expanded into

    one by extending an invitation to another small formation.

    It is to be hoped that such an offer will not be made to

    the extremist Greater Romania Party (6.6 percent). The other

    extremist formation represented in the parliament, the Party

    of Romanian National Unity, has, like the PNTCD, suffered

    numerous crises and splits and--as pollsters predicted--seems

    to be on its way out of the legislature, having gained 2.3

    percent in the county councilor ballot. The Hungarian

    Democratic Federation of Romania, with 6.2 percent backing,

    performed somewhat less well than in the 1996 parliamentary

    election but remains the obvious choice of the bulk of

    Romania's Magyar population.

    These, however, are just the opening chords. In the

    fall, the main theme is likely to be more or the less the

    same, but even more strident for the CDR.

    13-06-00


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


    Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: Newsline Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
    Back to Top
    Copyright 1995-2016 HR-Net (Hellenic Resources Network). An HRI Project.
    All Rights Reserved.

    HTML by the HR-Net Group / Hellenic Resources Institute, Inc.
    rferl2html v1.01 run on Tuesday, 13 June 2000 - 15:33:12 UTC