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RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 4, No. 125, 00-06-28

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. 125, 28 June 2000


CONTENTS

[A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

  • [01] ARMENIAN, U.S. PRESIDENTS DISCUSS KARABAKH
  • [02] ARMENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN MOSCOW
  • [03] AZERBAIJAN HALTS OIL EXPORTS VIA RUSSIA
  • [04] GEORGIAN STATE MINISTER UPBEAT ON ECONOMY
  • [05] GEORGIAN MINISTER DISCUSSES PROSPECTS FOR RESOLVING ABKHAZ
  • [06] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY WANTS TV PROGRAM FOR COMPATRIOTS
  • [07] TWO GEORGIAN RENEGADES JOIN FORCES
  • [08] LAW ON KAZAKHSTAN'S FIRST PRESIDENT PASSED...
  • [09] ...AS OPPOSITION UNVEILS ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS
  • [10] KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED...
  • [11] ...AS OPPOSITION CHALLENGER GOES ON TRIAL
  • [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT OUTLINES ECONOMIC PROBLEMS
  • [13] TURKMEN PRESIDENT EXPLAINS AVERSION TO CIS FREE TRADE ZONE

  • [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

  • [14] YUGOSLAVIA GIVES DETAILS OF 'ANTI-TERRORISM' BILL...
  • [15] ...WHILE U.S. SAYS IT'S NOT SURPRISED
  • [16] YUGOSLAV DRAFT LAW AIMED AT CONTROLING BUSINESSES?
  • [17] EU APPROVES AID TO YUGOSLAVIA
  • [18] MOB ATTACKS SERBIAN MONKS, RUSSIAN TV CREW
  • [19] NORWEGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SUGGESTS LONG STAY FOR NATO IN
  • [20] U.S. CONDEMNS INTIMIDATION OF BOSNIAN PRESS
  • [21] MORE BODIES FOUND IN BOSNIA
  • [22] SERBIAN POLICE NOT COOPERATING IN DRASKOVIC INVESTIGATION
  • [23] CROATIA WANTS WAR CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST YUGOSLAV ARMY
  • [24] ROMANIAN BANKING CRISIS SPREADS
  • [25] MONEY-LAUNDERING AFFAIR HAUNTS FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT
  • [26] NATO COMMANDER IN ROMANIA.
  • [27] CORRECTION:
  • [28] BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DEPLORES DECLINE IN MILITARY

  • [C] END NOTE

  • [29] PARTY REGISTRATION ENDS IN KOSOVA

  • [A] TRANSCAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA

    [01] ARMENIAN, U.S. PRESIDENTS DISCUSS KARABAKH

    In a 35-minute

    meeting at the White House on 27 June, Robert Kocharian and

    Bill Clinton reviewed the prospects for a settlement of the

    Karabakh conflict, AP reported. A White House spokesman told

    journalists that Clinton had assured Kocharian that the U.S.

    "will do its part...to support and implement a durable

    settlement." Kocharian also met with Vice President Al Gore

    to discuss economic issues, U.S. economic aid to Armenia, and

    draft projects for regional cooperation in the South

    Caucasus, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. LF

    [02] ARMENIAN DEFENSE MINISTER IN MOSCOW

    Serzh Sarkisian met in

    Moscow on 27 June with Russian President Vladimir Putin,

    Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev, and Russian Security

    Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov to discuss military-technical

    cooperation and expanding cooperation in the energy and

    economic sectors, ITAR-TASS reported. Those talks were

    intended to prepare for a visit by President Kocharian to

    Moscow next month. Sarkisian also met with Russian Premier

    Mikhail Kasyanov to discuss bilateral economic cooperation

    and financing the training of Armenian military officers in

    Russia. LF

    [03] AZERBAIJAN HALTS OIL EXPORTS VIA RUSSIA

    Azerbaijan's state

    oil company SOCAR has suspended the export of oil via the

    Baku-Novorossiisk pipeline, Interfax reported on 27 June. An

    unnamed SOCAR official said that the company is currently

    extracting only enough oil to cover the country's immediate

    domestic needs and stockpile supplies of heating oil for the

    coming winter. SOCAR stopped pumping oil into the Baku-

    Novorossiisk pipeline last week, citing the need for

    "maintenance works," according to Caucasus Press. LF

    [04] GEORGIAN STATE MINISTER UPBEAT ON ECONOMY

    Gia Arsenishvili

    said in Tbilisi on 27 June that journalists' assessments of

    the country's economic situation are too negative, Caucasus

    Press reported. Arsenishvili expressed confidence that

    President Eduard Shevardnadze and the Georgian government

    "have the strength to overcome the crisis" and that "only one

    year separates us from complete success." LF

    [05] GEORGIAN MINISTER DISCUSSES PROSPECTS FOR RESOLVING ABKHAZ

    CONFLICT

    Malkhaz Kakabadze, who is minister with special

    responsibilities, held talks in Sukhum on 27 June with the

    prime minister of the unrecognized Republic of Abkhazia,

    Vyacheslav Tsugba, Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba, and

    presidential representative Anri Djergenia, Caucasus Press

    reported. The talks, at which UN special representative for

    Abkhazia Dieter Boden was also present, were intended to

    prepare for a meeting next month of the Coordinating Council

    that is to focus on confidence-building measures between the

    two sides, the repatriation to Abkhazia of Georgian displaced

    persons, and economic issues. Tsugba reportedly insisted on

    the presence at that meeting of his Georgian counterpart,

    Arsenishvili. It is not clear whether the new UN draft plan

    for a political solution of the conflict was also discussed.

    Kakabadze, for his part, assured the Abkhaz officials that

    Tbilisi will not embark on new military action against

    Abkhazia. LF

    [06] GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT DEPUTY WANTS TV PROGRAM FOR COMPATRIOTS

    IN AZERBAIJAN

    Georgian parliamentary Foreign Relations

    Committee Chair Nino Burdjanadze expressed concern on 27 June

    that the Ministry of Communications and Transport is unable

    for financial reasons to air television programs for the

    Georgian minority living in north-western Azerbaijan,

    Caucasus Press reported. Georgian samizdat documents in the

    early 1980s claimed that minority was deprived of basic

    cultural facilities or Georgian-language education. LF

    [07] TWO GEORGIAN RENEGADES JOIN FORCES

    Colonel Akaki Eliava has

    joined forces with Dato Shengelia, a former member of the

    Mkhedrioni paramilitary force who is now aligned with

    Georgian guerrillas operating in western Georgia and

    Abkhazia, according to "Rezonansi" on 28 June. Eliava has

    been on the run in western Georgia since launching an

    abortive uprising in fall 1998 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 and

    20 October 1998). LF

    [08] LAW ON KAZAKHSTAN'S FIRST PRESIDENT PASSED...

    The two houses

    of Kazakhstan's parliament passed the controversial Law on

    the First President of Kazakhstan in the second and final

    reading on 27 June. As predicted by Azat Peruashev, first

    secretary of the Civic Party, which drafted the bill giving

    incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbaev life-long powers and

    privileges, the final version differed only marginally from

    the original draft. Peruashev told Interfax on 26 June that

    the law is needed to prevent an erosion of the country's

    achievements after Nazarbaev's presidential term ends.

    Nazarbaev had voiced reservations about the bill, saying that

    he does not intend to become "a khan or a president for life"

    (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 and 26 June 2000). But opposition

    Azamat Party leader Petr Svoik observed on 27 June after the

    bill was passed that "nothing significant can happen in

    Kazakhstan without the will of the president," Reuters

    reported. LF

    [09] ...AS OPPOSITION UNVEILS ALTERNATIVE PROPOSALS

    At a press

    conference in Almaty on 27 June, the opposition Republican

    People's Party of Kazakhstan outlined seven proposals to deal

    with corruption and the ongoing economic crisis, RFE/RL's

    bureau in the former capital reported. The party termed that

    crisis the direct consequence of a system of government

    tailored to one individual, the country's president. The

    proposals are on redistributing executive power from the

    president to the parliament and government, abolishing the

    upper house of parliament and increasing the number of

    deputies to the lower house, reducing the president's powers

    and cutting his term of office from seven to five years,

    conducting direct elections for the posts of regional

    administrators and judges, ensuring the independence of the

    judiciary, making all violations of human or constitutional

    rights punishable by law, and barring the president's

    relatives from holding positions in the executive or

    judiciary for the duration of his term in office. LF

    [10] KYRGYZ PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS SCHEDULED...

    Meeting on 27

    June, the People's Assembly (the upper house of Kyrgyzstan's

    parliament) scheduled the presidential elections for 29

    October, RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau reported. The deadline for

    nominating candidates is 14 September and for registration 24

    September. Several opposition politicians have announced

    their intention to contend the poll. Incumbent President

    Askar Akaev has not yet formally confirmed that he will run

    for another term, but he is expected to do so before the end

    of this month. LF

    [11] ...AS OPPOSITION CHALLENGER GOES ON TRIAL

    Opposition Ar-

    Namys party chairman Feliks Kulov's trial on charges of abuse

    of power and forgery during his tenure as Minister of

    National Security opened at a military court in Bishkek on 27

    June, RFE/RL's bureau in the Kyrgyz capital reported. Only

    witnesses and Kulov's lawyers were permitted to attend; his

    wife was barred from the proceedings, as were OSCE

    representatives and a Kyrgyz representative of the New York-

    based International League for Human Rights. In an interview

    published on 27 June in the Bishkek newspaper "Litsa" and

    summarized by Interfax, Kulov predicted that the presidential

    poll will be "tough," but he added that he does not think any

    opposition candidate stands a chance of victory. He said that

    he will contest the poll if acquitted. LF

    [12] TAJIK PRESIDENT OUTLINES ECONOMIC PROBLEMS

    Addressing a

    special session of the UN General Assembly in Geneva on 27

    June, Imomali Rakhmonov expressed concern that integration

    processes in the world economy create problems for countries

    in transition whose industrial output cannot compete on world

    markets and that incur mounting debts for the import of raw

    materials, Asia Plus-Blitz reported. The most important task

    for the Tajik government, he said, is alleviating poverty,

    adding that a program has been drafted to reduce by 2003 the

    present 80 percent of the country's population who live in

    poverty. Rakhmonov added that natural disasters in recent

    years have compounded the country's economic and social

    problems, and he appealed to world wheat producers for

    supplies to compensate for the loss of most of this year's

    wheat crop owing to drought. LF

    [13] TURKMEN PRESIDENT EXPLAINS AVERSION TO CIS FREE TRADE ZONE

    Meeting with foreign ambassadors to Ashgabat on 27 June,

    Saparmurat Niyazov explained that Turkmenistan declined to

    join the proposed CIS free trade zone because it stands to

    lose some $500 million by doing so. He admitted that not all

    goods produced in Turkmenistan would find buyers in other CIS

    states. Niyazov added that he does not plan to attend the

    informal CIS summit to be held in Crimea on 18 August. Also

    on 27 June, Russian President Putin and his Ukrainian

    counterpart, Leonid Kuchma, discussed by telephone the draft

    agenda for that gathering, Interfax reported. LF


    [B] SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE

    [14] YUGOSLAVIA GIVES DETAILS OF 'ANTI-TERRORISM' BILL...

    The

    Yugoslav government released details on 27 June of a draft

    law it says is aimed at punishing people who commit "acts

    that threaten constitutional order," Reuters reported. The

    bill, which is expected to be passed by the parliament on 30

    June, would allow jail terms of at least five years for any

    behavior deemed to endanger "constitutional order" or

    threaten "the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic

    of Yugoslavia." The legislation would also allow suspects to

    be detained for 30 days without being charged with a crime;

    the current legal limit is three days, although the

    constitution states only one day. The opposition Christian

    Democratic Party said in a statement that the bill should be

    called "the anti-opposition law." Djordje Subotic of the

    League of Social Democrats said the passage of the bill will

    plunge the people of Yugoslavia into "darkness and fear." PB

    [15] ...WHILE U.S. SAYS IT'S NOT SURPRISED

    The U.S. State

    Department said on 27 June that it is not surprised by the

    proposed "anti-terrorism" bill. Acting State Department

    spokesman Phillip Reeker said "Milosevic's rather rancid

    regime has a strong history of trying to stamp out democratic

    movement within Yugoslavia." In other news, the trial in

    Belgrade of five Serbs accused of being French mercenaries

    and plotting to assassinate Yugoslav President Slobodan

    Milosevic began on 27 June. The five are charged with spying

    for France during NATO's bombardment of Yugoslavia last year

    and with the murders of two ethnic Albanians in Kosova. PB

    [16] YUGOSLAV DRAFT LAW AIMED AT CONTROLING BUSINESSES?

    The

    Yugoslav parliament on 30 June is to consider a bill that

    would put insolvent firms under the control of the central

    bank, Reuters reported, citing the state news agency Tanjug.

    Aleksandar Vlahovic of Deloitte & Touche in Belgrade said the

    bill "is an efficient way to replace current management" of

    companies the government views as unfriendly. The draft says

    "a company will be treated as insolvent if it does not have

    enough funds to make all due payments." Critics point out

    that virtually every firm in Yugoslavia has debts but is not

    necessarily bankrupt. PB

    [17] EU APPROVES AID TO YUGOSLAVIA

    The European Commission on 27

    June approved allocating 61 million euros ($57.4 million) in

    humanitarian aid for refugees, displaced people, and others

    in Yugoslavia, Reuters reported. The funds are to be spent on

    providing better food supplies, shelter, sanitation, and

    health services. Some 32 million euros of the total will be

    sent to Serbia, and an additional 18 million euros to its

    southern province of Kosova. PB

    [18] MOB ATTACKS SERBIAN MONKS, RUSSIAN TV CREW

    Ethnic Albanians

    stoned a group of Serbian Monks and a Russian television crew

    near the Kosovar town of Prizren on 27 June, AFP reported. UN

    peacekeepers said the crew was attacked while making a film

    on the monks at the Svete Bogorodice monastery in the village

    of Musutiste, some 15 kilometers northeast of Prizren. A KFOR

    spokesman said the Kosovar Albanians surrounded the group and

    demanded that one of the monks be handed over because, they

    said, he had committed war crimes. PB

    [19] NORWEGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER SUGGESTS LONG STAY FOR NATO IN

    KOSOVA

    Bjorn Tore Godal said on 27 June that NATO forces in

    Kosova are facing a long stay in the province, AP reported.

    Godal made his comments in Prishtina to UN officials and

    commanders of the NATO-led peacekeeping force. Godal said

    stability in Kosova would allow the troops to leave, but he

    added that stability "is still far away from the current

    situation." In other news, the body of a Serbian man who

    vanished last week was found in Prishtina. Police said the

    man, who is from Strpce, about 40 kilometers south of

    Prishtina, died "under suspicious circumstances." Some 500

    Serbs staged a peaceful protest in front of the UN building

    in Strpce after the discovery of the body. PB

    [20] U.S. CONDEMNS INTIMIDATION OF BOSNIAN PRESS

    The U.S. said

    that measures undertaken by Bosnian federation officials

    against the newspaper "Dnevni Avaz" are attempts to

    intimidate the independent press, Reuters reported on 26

    June. Tax authorities have frozen the daily's bank accounts

    for several days, and police have raided the newspaper's

    offices on several occasions. Bosnian Prime Minister Edhem

    Bicakcic denied the claims of repression and said the checks

    were routine and had been made on some 70 companies. PB

    [21] MORE BODIES FOUND IN BOSNIA

    Forensic experts uncovered

    another 24 bodies on 27 June in a cave and in graves in

    Sarajevo, bringing the total number of bodies found at the

    two sites over the last week to 82, Reuters reported. Amar

    Masovic, the head of the Sarajevo-based Muslim State

    Commission for Missing Persons, said the victims from the

    cave in Lisac are thought to be from the Serbian-run Omarska

    prison camp in Prijedor. Lisac is 18 kilometers east of

    Bosanska Krupa. Masovic said the commission has found the

    remains of some 900 non-Serb victims in the Prijedor area but

    was searching for another 3,227. In other news, three people

    died in separate landmine incidents on 26 June. One victim

    was a shepherd and the other two were workers attempting to

    clear mines. PB

    [22] SERBIAN POLICE NOT COOPERATING IN DRASKOVIC INVESTIGATION

    Zoran Zikovic, a judge in the Montenegrin capital of

    Podgorica, said on 27 June that Serbian police are not

    cooperating with their Montenegrin counterparts in the

    investigation of the shooting of Serbian opposition leader

    Vuk Draskovic, AFP reported. Zivkovic said the police should

    have brought a suspect, Dusan Spasojevic, to court in

    Podgorica but have not yet done so. Two men are being held in

    the shooting (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 16 June 2000), but

    Montenegrin authorities want to question four other suspects.

    PB

    [23] CROATIA WANTS WAR CRIMES CHARGES AGAINST YUGOSLAV ARMY

    Croatia said on 27 June that it has sent documents on the

    1991 Yugoslav siege of Dubrovnik to international war crimes

    tribunal at The Hague, Reuters reported. Justice Minister

    Stjepan Ivanisevic said that Croatia's new government has

    handed over to the tribunal several documents and videotapes

    related to the bombardment of the city. Ivanisievic said "by

    doing this we wanted to speed up the process of investigating

    and indicting" the Yugoslav army and paramilitaries. He added

    that "we intend to provide more material so that indictments

    are raised and [Carla] del Ponte has publicly pledged to

    [make indictments] in [the] near future." PB

    [24] ROMANIAN BANKING CRISIS SPREADS

    The National Bank has

    revoked the license of the private Banca Columna, after the

    bank failed to obtain capital to pay back its creditors, AP

    reported on 27 June. The formal closure of the bank comes

    three years after it had effectively ceased operations. The

    National Bank also decided to begin bankruptcy proceedings

    against the International Bank of Religions (see "RFE/RL

    Newsline," 25 May 2000) and placed Banca Unirea under

    supervision. Unirea encountered liquidity problems after

    one of its main shareholders withdrew capital. Also on 27

    June, the Prosecutor-General's Office said Romania

    completed the documentation necessary for the extradition

    from Israel of Ioana Maria Vlas. Vlas is the former chief

    of SovInvest, whose management of the National Investment

    Fund resulted in that organization's collapse. Romanian

    lawyers will present the case to an Israeli court that will

    decide on Vlas's extradition. MS

    [25] MONEY-LAUNDERING AFFAIR HAUNTS FORMER ROMANIAN PRESIDENT

    In a 27 June open letter to former President Ion Iliescu,

    Romanian-born French businessman Adrian Costea, suspected

    by the French authorities of money-laundering, refuted

    Iliescu's claims that their relationship was a

    "superficial" one. The letter, published by Mediafax,

    details the development of their relationship and Costea's

    financing of Iliescu's 1992 and 1996 presidential campaign.

    Costea is also demanding that Iliescu immediately settle

    the debt owed to one of his companies for different

    services to the former president. MS

    [26] NATO COMMANDER IN ROMANIA.

    NATO Supreme Allied Commander

    Europe General Joseph Ralston met with Premier Mugur

    Isarescu and Foreign Minister Petre Roman in Bucharest on

    27 June to discuss the modernization of Romania's military

    and the country's preparations for joining NATO. Ralston

    said the purpose of his visit was to acknowledge the

    important role Romania plays in providing regional

    security. On 28 June, he is to meet with President Emil

    Constantinescu, Defense Minister Sorin Frunzaverde, and

    Chief of Staff General Mircea Chelaru, RFE/RL's Bucharest

    bureau reported. MS

    [27] CORRECTION:

    "RFE/RL Newsline" incorrectly reported on 27

    June that new Transportation Minister Anca Boagiu is the

    first woman in the Romanian cabinet. The first woman to

    join the cabinet, in December 1999, was Labor and Social

    Affairs Minister Smaranda Dobrescu.

    [28] BULGARIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DEPLORES DECLINE IN MILITARY

    COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA

    Defense Minister Boiko Noev, who is

    currently on a visit to the U.S., said in Washington that he

    "regrets" that military cooperation with Russia has declined

    in recent years, ITAR-TASS reported. Noev said there are two

    reasons for this decline: Bulgaria's determination to join

    NATO and unsatisfactory Russian supplies of spare parts for

    military equipment used by the Bulgarian forces. Meanwhile,

    on 27 June, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji began a two-day visit

    to Bulgaria that Reuters describes as being "largely of

    symbolic importance." MS


    [C] END NOTE

    [29] PARTY REGISTRATION ENDS IN KOSOVA

    By Fabian Schmidt

    With the recent conclusion of the registration of

    political parties, the OSCE has taken one step closer to

    organizing local elections in Kosova, which are scheduled to

    take place this fall. On 20 June, the OSCE submitted

    preliminary lists of political parties that will take part in

    that ballot, but it has not yet settled on a voting system,

    "Koha Ditore" reported on 21 June. No Serbian political

    parties have registered, nor have many Serbian voters.

    OSCE officials explained that the list includes some

    parties that have not yet provided all the necessary

    documentation for registration and that in these cases the

    Central Election Commission (KQZ) will have to approve their

    status. The official deadline for registration of political

    parties was 11 June, while independent candidates and

    citizens' groups had until 19 June to complete their

    applications.

    The Democratic League of Kosova (LDK), the Democratic

    Party of Kosova (PDK), and the Alliance for the Future of

    Kosova (AAK) are the main competitors for the ethnic Albanian

    vote. The LDK was the strongest and most influential party of

    the Kosovar shadow-state, which pursued its pacifist policies

    under shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova between 1991 and

    1998. Now it faces two big challengers that emerged from the

    subsequent armed conflict.

    Both the PDK of former Kosova Liberation Army (UCK)

    commander Hashim Thaci and the AAK, led by Ramush Haradinaj,

    who is another former high-ranking UCK leader, have adopted

    pro-Western political platforms. They maintain, however, that

    their long-term goal is independence for Kosova, an aim also

    shared by the LDK. The AAK is an alliance of six political

    parties that joined forces in order to pose a more effective

    challenge to the two main contenders.

    UNMIK's David de Beer, who is responsible for the

    registration of political parties, said that the LDK and AAK

    are running for seats in 29 out of 30 communities and

    municipalities, while the PDK has candidates in only 27.

    Other potentially important parties include the Liberal

    Center Party of Kosova (PQLK), which is running in 20

    communities and municipalities, and the Liberal Party of

    Kosova (PLK), which will field candidates in 19. The PQLK is

    headed by Naim Maloku--yet another former senior UCK leader--

    who has gathered mainly former UCK fighters around him. The

    PLK, headed by Gjergj Dedaj, is a party that has its roots in

    the shadow-state structures and is closely allied to the LDK.

    The LDK will have no candidates in Zvecan, which is

    inhabited mostly by Serbs, while the AAK failed to register

    in Zvecan, Zubin Potok, another mostly Serbian community, or

    in Leposaviq, a Serbian community close to the northern

    Serbian border.

    Altogether 23 political parties, including the AAK, have

    filed registration applications. De Beer did not announce the

    number of independent candidates running but acknowledged

    that the OSCE has received numerous applications.

    The fewest applications, however, came from the Serbian

    communities of Zvecan, Leposaviq, Zubin Potok, and Novoberda.

    Serbian political parties did not register in any district.

    Only six parties of ethnic minorities registered: three

    representing Slavic-speaking Muslims, two the Turkish, and

    one the Ashkali community. The last-named are a group of

    Albanian-speaking Muslims, probably of Romany origin, who

    claim to be of Persian descent. On average, there are eight

    parties running in each community.

    According to OSCE plans, the parties are to present

    their candidates for each municipality (district?) by the end

    of July, even though the OSCE has not yet set a formal

    deadline. Nor is it clear what kind of election system UNMIK

    will introduce. This, however, must be decided before the

    candidates' lists can be drawn up.

    UNMIK, OSCE, and other unnamed officials told "Koha

    Ditore" that they are leaning toward a proportional

    representation system, even though the three largest ethnic

    Albanian political parties are opposed to that idea. De Beer,

    however, made clear that it is up to the UNMIK's Bernard

    Kouchner to decide. Another open question is whether the

    parties will have the right to name candidates for the

    proportional lists after the elections or whether the lists

    will be closed before the vote.

    Voter registration will end on 15 July. OSCE spokeswoman

    Claire Trevena acknowledged that the process is proceeding

    more slowly in Prishtina than in other parts of Kosova. As of

    17 June, only 76,900 citizens of Prishtina had registered,

    which is just over one-third of the city's estimated

    population. By that day, 651,551 voters out of a total

    estimated population of 2 million had registered throughout

    Kosova, including many newcomers from Albania. But only

    people who were living in Kosova on 1 January 1999 will have

    the right to vote (this excludes refugees who left Kosova

    before that date).

    The Serbian population has been largely boycotting the

    voter registration process and is also expected to boycott

    the elections. This, however, poses a great danger for post-

    election Kosova. If ethnic Albanian political parties win an

    overwhelming majority of seats in the city council of

    Mitrovica, the Serbs will refuse to acknowledge its

    authority. If the local government in the divided city then

    tries to interfere in the affairs of the Serbian-dominated

    north, new violent conflicts may be hard to avoid.

    28-06-00


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


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