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Issue No. 196. - October 27 , 2000.
Contents :

An Interview with Veton Suroi By Slobodan Rackovic

An Interview with Srdjan Daramanovic By Stojan Obradovic

By Pavliuk Byikovski

4. Bosnia and Herzegovina : INDIRECT TACTICS TO WIN VOTES
By Radenko Udovicic

By Howard Jarvis

6. Special addition: NEW AT TOL

    An Interview with Veton Suroi By Slobodan Rackovic

    As a prominent Kosovar political analyst, publisher of the
Albanian-language newspaper "Koha Ditore," ex-politician and
former president of the Parliamentary Party, Veton Suroi is no
doubt one of the best experts on the current situation in Kosovo
and consequently on the upcoming local elections in this former
Serbian province on Octoebr 28.

    Q: How do you see the situation in Kosovo now that Slobodan
Milosevic has been removed from power and what will the future
status of the former province be in light of UN Resolution No.

    A: When the resolution was passed, many people said it was a
rotten compromise because we were still left with a kind of
Yugoslavia. It's true that the resolution was a compromise. But it
had important sections stating that Kosovo should build its own
government and only then raise the question of status. This means
that no change of government in Belgrade, not even the removal of
Milosevic, should reflect on the issue of Kosovo's status.
Milosevic's downfall, although his policy on Kosovo still
survives, has had both positive and negative resonances in Kosovo.
It's certainly easier to talk with Vojislav Kostunica or somebody
like that than with Milosevic, a war criminal responsible for the
deaths of ten thousand people in Kosovo. The negative side of the
change is that now the "hit of the season" will be Serbia, and not
Kosovo. But that's nothing new, either: Croats have already
complained that money was going to Bosnia, Bosnians said it went
to Kosovo, now Kosovars will be saying t the money is going to
    In any case, Kosovars now have to pay more attention to
democratization in their communities. They have to think about the
fact that during the next six to twelve months we'll establish a
transitional constitutional system, set up a privatization system,
hold elections for the Kosovar Parliament and probably elect a
president of the Kosovo state. So the basic task is for Kosovo to
become a fully functional country, and not to be so concerned with
the issue of its sovereignity...
    Our defence policy has now been drafted in Brussells, at the
NATO headquarters. We have KFOR and I hope we'll have it for a
long time to come. Our foreign policy is decided by Javier Solana
and Christopher Patten, so we are talking about a sovereignty
bounded by all these integrations taking place in Europe.
    We're often told that we'll be part of Europe someday. But we
don't forget that Europe accepts new members one by one, as they
are ready. That's why we want to prepare for the moment when we'll
become part of that trend. And only soveriegn states can join

    Q: In several days' time the first free elections will be held
here. Is Kosovo ready for that important process? Russian
diplomats say it isn't, considering the unsatisfactory security
situation and Kosovar Serbs' abstaining from the voting.

    A: One shouldn't rely on Russian diplomacy since it's losing
ground in the Balkans and wants to be present here in a different
way. That's why it's been bringing up those issues. I think it's
very important that the elections be held, since they will have a
threefold effect. First, we will finally establish political
transparency--we had a parallel society during the ten-year
struggle with Milosevic, and that society had to be, by
definition, semi-illegal. Second: we'll have political
responsibility, which couldn't be addressed during the last decade
due to the conflict. Third, there will be internal education among
political parties. Up to now it has been very easy to become a
politician in Kosovo, for the very simple reason that the
catchphrase "Kosovo independence" was so popular. However, nobody
explained how that goal could be achieved. And now the time has
come to prove it, and to show it... A good indicator in all this
is that there have been some signs that Serbs could also be in the
local Kosovar government, maybe not immediately, especially since
they almost ritually go to the losing side. Their political
leaders are also their biggest enemies. They recently gave the
majority of their votes to Milosevic and severed their ties with
the opposition in Serbia, which sent a very negative signal to
Kosovar Albanians. It would be best for the Serbs to participate
in the local elections on Saturday, so they can win the number of
seats they have a right to, and have a voice in creating a new
constitutional system that would give them unalienable rights,
indisputable by any party in Parliament...
    As for Albanian parties, all the polls predict that a
significant majority will go the Democratic Alliance headed by
Ibrahim Rugova. However, due to the proportional system of
election, there will be as many as 9 or 10 parties in the
parliament from the whole political spectrum. That will be good
for democracy, because we'll have a variety of coalitions.

    Q: Is peaceful co-existence possible in Kosovo?

    A: I think co-existence is still possible. The only question
is how to put it into practice. It's not enough just to put up
signs with mottos about co-existence. We have already seen that
all through Bosnia and Herezgovina, and it failed dismally. There
has to be a lawful state, a political atmosphere of tolerance, and
many other factors before co-existence will be possible. Kosovo
has to become a tolerant and democratic society. Political parties
already feel a certain level of tolerance toward each other, but
it has to go further than that. That tolerance should be widened
to embrace all nations. We have an example of this in the town of
Prizren, where the townspeople are co-existing peacefully with the
Romas [gypsies], who all returned there. This means that it's not
impossible for people in Kosovo to live together.

    Q: There's talk about future confederation

    A: Kosovo's future is very clearly defined. It will establish
local government institutions and initiate talks about the legal
position of Kosovo. Whether Montenegro is included will have to be
negotiated with Belgrade. So Montenegro can neither help us nor
hurt us.
    We don't want to be with Belgrade, and we'll say it plainly.
We don't want Serbian soldiers, Serbian customs officials, or a
joint government. We want open borders, and joint cultural and
economical projects, but we don't want Belgrade to have any
authority over Kosovo. This is the attitude adopted by all
political parties in Kosovo. It is irreversible, and can't be
influenced by future situation in Montenegro. We don't hide it,
and we hope that the time will come when democratic Serbia and
democratic Kosovo will be more amenable to a deal than they are

    Q: How can the protection of minority rights be enforced in

    A:We've come a long way on that issue. We've established
rights which are valid not only for the large minorities (Serbs
and Bosnians), but also for Turks, Romas and others. These laws
acknowledge national identities, languages, etc. For example, the
right to use one's native language also means that that language
can officially be used in communications with the government. A
Turk [0.6 percent of the population] could communicate with the
central government in his own language and expect the government
to respond in Turkish. We insist that elementary and high school
students be taught in the languages of their respective national
minorities. We want national minorities to be represented in
government institutions disproportionately to their actual
numbers. Finally, no minority right can be changed without a
majority vote among minority representatives in the parliament. It
is this so-called "minority veto" that could be used for the issue
of minority rights. In this way minorities ld block Parliament in
order to protect their rights.

    Interview with Srdjan Daramanovic By Stojan Obradovic

    Srdjan Daramanovic is the Director of the Centre for Democracy
and Human Rights in Podgorica.
    The Centre is a non-governmental organisation which, among
other things, deals with transitional monitoring, public opinion
research and strategic analyses. Many foreign diplomats and
politicians turn to Daramanovic for independent analyses of
Montenegrin politics.

    Q: The federal elections that Montenegro boycotted caused some
political changes. But president Djukanovic says the boycott was
principally a political action independent of the possible
outcomes of the elections. How will relations develop between
Serbia and Montenegro now?

    A: First, I think that we should stress the important fact
that, since Milosevic has been removed from office, Montenegro is
no longer threatened by war. Milosevic's departure created
conditions in which Montenegro can't decide whether to strike some
deal with Serbia or seek answers through independence, now that
the fear of war, which was present throughout Milosevic's time in
power, is gone. Although certain representatives in the new
government in Belgrade still have some opinions which are
displeasing to Montenegro, it's clear they won't use force to
solve their political issues.
    At this time Montenegro has two major political options -
either make an alliance or union between the two states with some
joint institutions, or proclaim the independence of the two
countries, either by referendum or by a separation agreement.
    Anyhow, a federation or unitarian state of Montenegro and
Serbia is out of question now. That option was effectively
rejected at every election during the past three years in
Montenegro. After Montenegro's experience with FRY, I doubt any
future Montenegrin government would choose to enter into a
federation with a country seventeen times its size. The federation
option has attracted very little popular support.

    Q: Which of the two major options has more chance of success?

    A: It will depend on a myriad of factors, especially on how
the political situation in Serbia develops, and on the influence
of international community.

    Q: But the international community isn't likely to support
Montenegrin independence...

    A: No, the international community doesn't support the
independence of Montenegro right now. Furthermore, it has clearly
said that in the event of such a solution Montenegro would lose
both economic support and international favour. Even though the
fear that conflicts will escalate in the process of obtaining
independence is now obsolete, there still remains the issue of
Kosovo's status. The international community fears that
Montenegro's independence further complicate things in Kosovo and
would encourage many to ask for a quick resolution on the status
of Kosovo. And foreign countries aren't inclined toward that now.

    Q: Does that mean Montenegro is a kind of hostage to Kosovo?

    A: It is well known that international circles treat
Montenegro as Kosovar's hostage. I repeat, the main reason for the
opposition to Montenegrin independence is the Kosovo factor. But I
don't believe there is a member of government or a politician in
Montenegro who could address the Montenegrin public and tell them
Kosovo is the reason Montenegro cannot be independent. That would
be political suicide. You can say we won't be independent because
the people don't want it, or because we're being threatened, or
because we're not ready for it yet, but you can't say it's because
of Kosovo. International elements have some idea about creating a
triple Serbia-Montenegro-Kosovo federation, but that has no
support in Montenegro, and the people in Kosovo also oppose it. I
think the problem of Kosovo will have to be resolved with a
relationship between Serbia-Kosovo and international community,
but without Montenegro.

    Q: So will the independence of Montenegro be dependent on the
attitude among international community, i.e., the permission of
foreign countries?

    A: No. Despite that unfavourable sentiment, the future is in
our hands. Were Montenegrin citizens to vote for independence, I
don't see how could the international community oppose it. They
would have to accept it in the end; anything else would be a
violation of the democratic rights of Montenegrin citizens. The
international community, and this is for certain, will continue to
pressure Montenegro not to hold a referendum. But if the issue is
solved by a loose confederation or something similar, the trend of
Montenegro as an independent state will be unstoppable.
    The political and cultural elite is firmly in favour of
independence, and most of the public is also for independence or
some kind of loose union. A key role will now be played by the
ruling Democratic Socialists' Party, headed by president
Djukanovic. If the ruling politicians, led by Djukanovic, decide
to support the idea of Montenegrin independence, such an option
would get 60 to 70 percent of the votes at the referendum. If the
political leadership decides not to risk confrontation with its
main allies in the West, then there will probably be the option of
prolonged discussions with the new Serbian government, with a
demand for minimal joint institutions between the two countries,
joined in some sort of Commonwealth.

    Q: But the Serbian side always talks about a common currency,
army and foreign policy. These are not minimal institutions, and
they are basically key factors in the joint state...

    A: A common currency cannot be the matter of negotiations, a
"common" currency is possible only if Serbia introduces the German
mark or the euro, since Montenegro will never fall back to the
dinar. At this moment, the dinar in Montenegro amounts to less
than 5 percent of the total currency traffic, and soon there will
be new laws passed that further strengthen the monetary
independence of Montenegro. A common border is much more likely
than common currency.
    When it comes to the matter of a joint army, based on our
former experience and what Montenegrin government offered in its
1999 document on resolving open issues with Serbia, I think it is
out of question for Montenegro's military command to be located in
Belgrade. If there were some joint army, each state would have its
own headquarters, with some kind of co-ordination or the like. The
biggest problem is foreign policy, because there are conflicting
viewpoints. For example, Montenegro readily agrees to promptly
extradite indicted or sentenced war criminals to the court in
Hague, while the Serbian attitude is yet unknown. Also, we have
resolved the issue of Prevlaka for ourselves. It is a Croatian
territory, and Montenegro has no pretensions to it. The area will
be de-militarised, and a system of free maritime traffic will be
established. Furthermore, Montenegro doesn't have Kosovo, which
causes problems on an international level. I doubt that the
government of Montenegro can suppo he present country being
accepted by the UN under the current name of Yugoslavia. If the
Montenegrin government accepted the name, then it would have to
separate from that country tomorrow. At this point, everything
begins from zero; Yugoslavia was effectively non-existent once
Milosevic destroyed it with his constitutional changes of July 6.
Montenegro is negotiating with Serbia.
    I don't think politicians from Democratic Opposition of Serbia
(DOS) understand these problems, which is why they accuse
Montenegro of blocking the constitution of the federal government.
That is not the real issue, the real issue is what the status of
Montenegro will be.

    Q: Kostunica mentioned the possibility of an independence
referendum both in Montenegro and Serbia. What if Serbs vote for a
joint state?

    A: It is enough for one party to say "no". There is no
"marriage" if one side doesn't accept it. Kostunica himself was
very clear about that; he said that he respected the law, and that
he therefore thought a referendum should be held in both states,
but if one state decides in favour of separation and independence,
then that decision stands. Even I think it would be good for the
Serbian people to have this kind of referendum, since nobody has
yet asked them whether they want a joint state or not.

    Q: Isn't it more realistic to suppose that the idea of
separation will be overwhelmingly opposed in Serbia, since there
are crucial strategic interests at stake, such as, for example,
sea access?

    A: I am certain there will be no problems regarding that
issue. Whatever the final solution will be, it will represent an
arrangement between two friendly countries. All issues can be
solved by various contracts. We will guarantee the property of
Serbian citizens, there will be no visas or passports required at
our borders, Serbia will have open access to Montenegrin ports,
but Montenegro will also have similar access to Serbian market,
etc. It isn't hard to resolve at all.

    Q: What is your standpoint on the formation of the federal

    A: I'm afraid Kostunica will make the mistake of giving a term
to someone from the Socialist People's Party (SNP), led by Momir
Bulatovic, since the prime minister has to come from Montenegro.
Montenegro will never accept such a government, and will oppose
every decision it makes, since the SNP is a minority party in
Montenegro. I understand that Kostunica has no majority in the
federal parliament, and I can understand his appealing to
legality, but I don't think he's fully transparent. If there are
some emergency headquarters throughout Serbia instead of legal
government institutions, I don't see any reason not to form a
transitional government formed from some group of experts in order
to solve some joint problems--a government not dominated by a
political party. Besides, Kostunica is also a transitional leader
in Yugoslavia. He may play an important role in Serbia, but not in
the federation itself. He is the leader of one of the 18 parties
in the ruling coalition, and his party is not the strongest among
them. At this moment he is the president of a country, but no one
really knows what that country is. Montenegro can cancel his job
with only one move - by proclaiming independence or by creating a
new union, since there is no president after a new union is

    Q: What good will state elections in Serbia bring in further
resolving relations between Montenegro and Serbia?

    A: I expect that at these elections Milosevic's socialists
will finally be defeated, and that there will be a new Serbian
government, with which Montenegro will be able to communicate
about further partnership.

    Q: Is there any possibility of Milosevic ever returning to

    A: None. Milosevic stands no chance of ever returning to
politics. If his party underwent some changes and democratisation,
it might have a chance. But if Milosevic remains at the head, it
will mean the end of the party.

    Q: If Montenegro has nothing to fear from Serbia, is there
anything to fear from internal struggles, since there are many who
oppose separation from Serbia?

    A: Well, no, those who are for a firm mutual state with Serbia
are now in a minority and have lost the support they once had.
They cannot impose their will through force as a minority. If
there will be a referendum, it will be organised in accordance
with democratic standards and the Constitution. Nobody could
dispute its outcome. True, there is the People's Party in the
ruling coalition which is in favor of some kind of bond with
Serbia, but they haven't completely decided on it. But were they
to support some kind of more radical approach, then they would
surely drop out of the ruling coalition, which cannot endanger the
government but could help form a so-called independence block.

    Q: Montenegro recently set a positive example of
democratisation in FRY. But there have been constant pressures and
threats of conflict. Did this serve to establish a kind of
political monopoly on national interests and their anti-democratic
abuse as, unfortunately, often happens?

    A: The rift with Milosevic three years ago didn't mean just a
change of a policy but also really opened democratic processes in
Montenegro. There are greater possibilities for freedom of the
press, for NGO activities, for minority rights, etc. Of course,
like any transitional country Montenegro still has much to
achieve. During last years, Montenegro hasn't completely
homogenised on a political level. At the elections in 1998
Bulatovic's party won 36 percent of the votes. Political fights
are alive in Montenegro, and that is perfectly okay, as long as
they stay within the usual political rules and methods. But, the
truth is that there was an unwritten consensus in the ruling
coalition not to push or open certain disputed issues during
recent struggle with Milosevic, so criticism of the government and
Montenegrin authorities was somewhat reduced. It was an
understandable situation, but there were no rude government
attacks on democratic process. I think that what was lacking will
ve oon be compensated for in the new circumstances.

    By Pavliuk Byikovski
    The second round of Belarussian elections will take place
October 29, the results of which may bring a new group of
representatives to the House. The members of this lawmaking body
have finally been elected, but the heads of the government remain
undetermined. And all the same, like their predecessors, they will
not be recognized by the West.
    The Belarussian Parliamentary elections have failed. From the
beginning it was tacitly understood that the Parliamentary
elections were only a prologue to the presidential elections
scheduled for 2001. President Alexander Lukashenko and his closest
aides spoke directly about it, the opposition leaders trumpeted it
while announcing their boycott of the elections; even several
candidates openly disseminated this idea. In other words, everyone
in Belarussian society knew that while one thing occurred in the
public eye, an entirely different game was being played under the
    This attitude toward the elections can be explained by events
that occurred four years ago. In November 1996 Lukashenko
initiated a referendum on changes to the Constitution. It passed,
albeit with many serious irregularities, and as a result
Lukashenko took over many lawmaking powers, greatly reducing
Parliament's authority. He fired the old parliament (Eighth
Meeting of the Upper House), and from a group of loyal deputies
formed a Lower House of a new parliament (House of
Representatives), then openly determined the Upper House (House of
the Republic), and prolonged his own presidential term by two
years. The question regarding constitutional changes appeared on
the ballot with an explanation that it would be used in an
advisory capacity, but Lukashenko post factum put the changes into
effect as law.
    This was the most shocking irregularity (there were others),
and naturally neither the Belarussian opposition nor the
international community recognized the constitutional changes. As
a result Belarus was left with two parliaments (the Eighth Meeting
of the Upper House, and opposing representatives who affirmed the
validity of their seats as the lawful parliament), two
constitutions, and the problem of choosing between them.
    The European Union and the OSCE, acting in a mediating
capacity, exercised considerable force to resolve Belarus'
constitutional contradictions. As a compromise, the international
mediators proposed holding open, free and democratic elections
with the participation of both sides. It was hoped that both sides
would recognize the new Parliament (the opposition has ceased to
recognize Lukashenko as president of Belarus, since according to
the pre-referendum variant of the Constitution, his term ended in
1999), and with the help of this new lawmaking organ the conflict
could gradually be resolved.
    The current regime took the actions of the international
mediators as an intrusion into Belarus' internal affairs, and
almost sabotaged the proposed solution in its infancy, although of
course the newly elected representatives have not refused their
offices. The opposition, it its turn, was convinced that Europe
aimed to legitimize the current regime, and therefore used all
means at their disposal to oppose the elections. Lukashenko's
opponents gave four conditions for their participation. Their
demands were supported by the OSCE, but by definition the current
regime was powerless to carry them out, since one stipulated that
Parliament's authority be increased, which would require changing
the constitution and canceling their victory of November 1996.
    Consequently, the elections failed. They failed to fulfill not
only the objective set out by Europe (resolution of the
constitutional contradictions), but also the objective of any
normal parliamentary election, where representatives of various
political views fight for the right to influence state politics.
The post-referendum variant of Parliament, if not completely
deprived of political weight, was almost certainly organized with
that aim in mind. A representative's post, therefore, was
attractive for the immunity status it granted and for its
proximity to financial information. Representatives could not even
act as a Parliamentary tribunal; it was as difficult for them to
reach the government as an ordinary citizen.
    Political parties had two reasons to participate in the
elections: to advertise their perspective (candidates for office
had the right to free publicity in pre-election programs televised
by local state TV stations), and to create parliamentary factions
as platforms for participation in the upcoming presidential
    The results of the first round of elections showed that the
latter aim would probably prove unsuccessful: out of over 40 newly
elected candidates, only 8 were members of a party; moreover,
these were only party members de jure, but probably simply chose
the easiest path (prominent party members are not required to
gather signatures in order to register as candidates for office).
    Judging the effectiveness of the propaganda campaigns is
perhaps best left to the parties that launched them, but when
looked at from a distance, it doesn't seem they accomplished
anything in particular. The general population, at least, has yet
to notice that Belarus has two Communist Parties (one loyal to and
one opposed to Lukashenko), and that they both participated
actively in the elections. A considerable portion of the
Belarussian opposition considered themselves to be boycotting the
elections, but could not get their message to a mass audience.
    The Central Election Committee of Belarus (Centrizbirkom)
announced the results of the first round of elections on October
20. According to official data, elections occurred in 97 out of
110 districts ( 41 officials elected; 56 more are scheduled for
the second round on October 29); in 13 districts elections failed
and will be held again. It was announced that 61.08 percent of the
population turned out to vote, but the current list of citizen
with suffrage has diminished by over 73 thousand people compared
to the list publicized before the elections.
    It's curious that Centrizbirkom head Lidia Yermoshina spoke on
October 13 of 7,328,0000 voters, and later of 7,254,752, a
difference of 73,000 people, or about 1 percent of the population.
The state's version is that the election commission at first
accidentally used last year's voter lists for local elections,
where the right to vote was extended to Russian citizens, and that
to correct the list it was necessary to eliminate those names.
    This explanation could entirely strike down the opposition's
claims that the government massively reduced the numbers of voters
on the lists (information regarding the massive absences at the
polls and the corresponding failure of the elections could also be
hidden in this manner), but the Russian population falls short by
20,000 persons. A 1 percent decrease in the voter lists would not
decide country-wide elections, but it could make a difference in
the capital, where voter turnout was less than half, but where
elections took place in all but 3 districts, according to official
    The Belarussian government has also had trouble getting its
elections recognized on an international level. The
representatives of international parliamentary bodies (with the
exception of the CIS Assembly), did not observe the October 15
parliamentary elections, but instead only monitored the political
    In this regard a statement was issued both by the
"Parliamentary Troika," composed of the representatives of the
European Parliament and the parliamentary assemblies of the OSCE
and the European Union, and by the Technical Assessment Office
(TAM) of the OCSE Office for Democratic Institutes and Human
Rights (ODIHR) (these documents are available at The statement calls into doubt not only the
possibility of holding democratic elections in Belarus under the
existing conditions, but also disputes the conclusions drawn by
international observers invited to Belarus by the current regime A
conflict has arisen between, on one hand, the representatives of
OSCE/ODIHR and the Parliamentary Troika; and on the other,
international observers, Centrizbirkom, and the Belarussian
Ministry of External Affairs.
    In its main offices in Warsaw, TAM announced the "obvious
manipulation of international observers in Belarus." The document
levels blame at the organizers of the elections; moreover,
OSCE/ODIHR considered it necessary to distance itself not only
from the observer's conclusions, but also from the observers
    OSCE/ODIHR claims it has information showing that
Centrizbirkom "invited [some observers]... with hotel expenses
paid," " provided most of these observers with guided bus tours of
selected polling stations,", gave observers OSCE/ODIHR's
confirmation forms without OSCE/ODIHR's permission, and after the
elections, announced the international observers' endorsement of
the elections before any positive assessment of the elections had
been made.
    Centrizbirkom head Yermoshina told the private news agency
BelaPAN that the OSCE/ODIHR was lying: "This press release
explains only one thing: TAM got scared. It saw that there exist
powerful opinions that contradict theirs, and that these opinions
must be opposed. The best method to oppose them is to throw a
shadow of doubt onto the people who came in the capacity of
international observers, in other words, to say they weren't
objective, that they were controlled and paid off by the Central
Election Commission. I can say that's a complete lie."
    But the simple existence of such different interpretations
calls the results of the election into question. All in all, these
elections, along with the Second Meeting of the House of
Representatives, clearly failed.
    By Radenko Udovicic
    As Bosnia and Herzegovina approach their November 11 election
day, campaigns are gaining momentum from political events that at
first glance have little to do with elections.
    Political parties know people are tired of the usual election
propaganda: these will be the fifth elections held in the region
since the 1995 peace agreement. They are therefore trying indirect
tactics to win votes. Parties are presenting every political event
or incident through a party lens, and using them either to promote
their own cause or to discredit their political opponents.
Especially important in this sense is the withdrawal of Bosnian
SDA party leader Alija Izetbegovic, whose party has been the de
facto head of Bosnia and Herzegovina for 10 years.
    Izetbegovic has honored the promise he gave several months ago
and stepped down from the Bosnian presidency when his term ended
on October 14. Izetbegovic was ushered out with compliments from
the Bosnian and international communities, although according to
international observers in Sarajevo this merely means he carries
less blame than neigboring presidents Tudjman and Milosevic for
the events of the past decade. And while he has withdrawn from the
B-H presidency, he will remain in politics, and says he intends to
keep his post as party leader for as long as his health holds out.
Nor is the function he now serves insignificant: Parliament
reaches most of its decisions by working out compromises among the
parties, so Izetbegovic could easily be the strong man behind the
scenes. But if a strong Social-Democrat party manages to come out
on top in the Bosnian elections, Izetbegovic's role will be
    The SDA used its president's withdrawal as proof that the
party leader is a wise and experienced statesman who played his
role in the bloody events in the Balkans fairly and innocently.
Bill Clinton's words to Izetbegovic, "You will be remembered as a
great statesman and a key figure in the Bosnian history" have
often been repeated to support this reasoning.
    Although the international community greeted Izetbegovic's
departure with praise and respect, it was also clear they could
hardly wait to see him leave. Although Izetbegovic's contribution
to the war was nowhere near as great as Tudjman's or Milosevic's,
he is still a war leader who headed a hard-line nationalist regime
responsible for many injustices and human rights violations. This
point has been hammered home by the Social-Democrat party, SDA's
chief opponent. Contrary to the SDA's claims that Izetbegovic's
withdrawal demonstrates his lack of ambition, SDP explains the
move to voters as "the escape of the nation's father" from all
mistakes he has made over the last ten years.
    Serbian parties in the Serb Republic have also been taking
advantage of political events recently. Nationalist clashes have
occurred among high-school students in Brcko, a city that is
technically a district and doesn't belong to any political entity.
The fighting was sparked by the city authorities' decision that
students of different nationalities must attend classes in the
same building, albeit in different rooms. A group of Serbian
students physically attacked their Bosnian counterparts, resulting
in a demonstration the next day staged by Bosnian high school
students. The following day brought violent mass demonstrations
from Serbian students demanding that Bosnians attend classes in
separate buildings, and that the authorities return the Serbian
national symbols that were removed from the classrooms when the
joint schools were formed. The Serbian Democratic Party (SDS)
supported these demands and used this opportunity to accuse the
authorities in Brcko, primarily members of the parties of the
former Unity coalition, of bad planning resulting in chaos. In
reality, the SDS had directed the demonstrations from the wings,
manipulating the children in hopes of scoring political points.
However, this provoked anger from the international community and
from other parties in the Serb Republic, winning the SDS the
uncomplimentary label of a party that uses children to achieve
political goals.
    But if this event backfired on SDS, Yugoslav president
Vojislav Kostunica's visit on October 22 was put to good use.
Vice-president of the Serb Republic Mirko Sarovic, one of SDS
leaders, met Kostunica in Belgrade and invited him to visit the
Serb Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The great Serbian poet
Jovan Ducic's funeral in Trebinje, the town of his birth, was used
to justify Kostunica's arrival. This cultural and religious event
was primarily organised by SDS, which used Kostunica's visit as
proof that "the democratic Yugoslav president is supporting this
party." The SDS even got credit for Kostunica's visit to Sarajevo
after Trebinje, emphasising that they organised the whole visit.
    Regarding Croats, it has been unclear recently whether the
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), by far the strongest Croatian
party in Bosnia and Herzegovina, will participate at the elections
at all. This party, which still enjoys popular support among
Croats in Bosnia Herzogovina regardless of her sister party's
defeat in Croatia, has expressed extreme concern over the newest
decision of the Temporary Election Commission (PIK), governed by
OSCE. The decision has changed the way representatives in the
House of Nations of the federal and state parliaments are elected.
Generally speaking, it means that representatives of the canton's
assemblies in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation will elect
national representatives in the House of Nations, where the most
important issues are resolved by a consensus vote. HDZ wants
Croats to choose Croatian representatives, and Bosnians to choose
their own; i.e., it doesn't want everyone to be allowed to vote
for everyone. HDZ is worried because it thin osnians will vote for
candidates "who do not have Croatian interests in mind". Such
people, in HDZ's view, include all Croats who have adopted less
rigid nationalistic attitudes--mostly those belonging to
multi-ethnic parties. The PIK created the new rules with the idea
of minimizing the influence of hard-line nationalist parties like
    Threatening to boycott the elections, HDZ made further steps
to block the new rule. It appealed to the Republic of Croatia to
protect the interests of its diaspora and to press for the new
decision's repeal. Croatian president Stipe Mesic rejected these
requests, but the Croatian government agreed to help resolve the
issue. In this manner Bosnian Croats once again caused another
collision between the Croatian president and the government.
    The HDZ will also organise the Assembly of Bosnian Croats at
the end of October. Most Croatian parties and organisations will
participate in the Assembly, whose purpose is to decide whether to
hold a referendum to create a third Croatian entity in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, effectively separating the Federation into two
distinct parts. The international community responded immediately
to this dangerous intention, saying the referendum would be
invalid and that the Dayton Accords cannot be changed
    However, many think HDZ's attempts to initiate important
decisions before the elections indicate a fear that the party will
emerge as the election's losers, since support for the party is
rumored to be on the decrease. According to research conducted by
American National Democratic Institute, only 40 percent of Croats
are prepared to vote for HDZ, a significant decrease compared to
70 percent in the last elections.
    However, one should keep in mind that polls produced similar
results before the last elections, and HDZ still came out on top.
The final picture of Bosnian Croats, as well as of other nations,
therefore, will not come into focus until a few days after the
     By Howard Jarvis
     As the game of arranging the precise formation of a new
Lithuanian government enters its second week, some political
observers are becoming worried that the new centrist coalition
will be ponderous and unstable. Some nervously think of Latvia's
political instability caused by a succession of complex coalition
governments throughout the 1990s. These gained Latvia a reputation
for lacking political and economic direction. In current president
Vaira Vike-Freiberga and prime minister Andris Berzins, Latvia has
finally found firm leadership. Now, the observers say, it is
Lithuania that is struggling to find a firm hand. They should not
be so concerned.
    The October 8 voting for a new parliament was a model of 'free
and fair elections', particularly compared to those held a week
later in neighboring Belarus. After casting their votes, many
Lithuanians watched the results come in on TV. It quickly became
clear that the left-wing Social Democratic Coalition led by former
president Algirdas Brazauskas was doing well.
    At noon the following day, the Central Electoral Committee
announced the preliminary results: the Social Democrats had won 51
of the 141 seats in parliament; the youthful, right-of-center
Liberal Union led by former prime minister and Vilnius mayor,
Rolandas Paksas, won 34 seats; the center-left New Union (Social
Liberals) of lawyer Arturas Paulauskas got 29; and the ruling
right-wing Conservative Party, weighed down by years of sleaze and
mismanagement, was crushed from a majority to only nine seats. A
hodge-podge of nine other parties from all corners of the
political spectrum managed to get between one and four seats each.
It seemed that the Lithuanians, many of whom have not yet
benefited from the country's slow recovery from a two-year
recession, had voted for a swing to the left.
    Eager to declare victory, the Social Democrats awaited the
approval of President Valdas Adamkus. But the invitation to form a
government never came. Brazauskas had counted on the support of
the New Union. Instead, on October 9, Paulauskas agreed to form a
coalition government with Paksas and a handful of minor parties.
This has brought about a liberal, centrist coalition that is
unlikely to favor a slowdown in economic reforms and
privatization. Lithuania's determination to seek membership of
both NATO and the European Union will not slacken.
    An alliance between the parties of Paksas and Paulauskas was
floated in the spring under the name New Policy Bloc, but no
pre-election commitment to form a coalition was made. Right up
until October 9 it was unclear which way Paulauskas would swing.
Once the decision was made, Adamkus quickly endorsed the
coalition. According to the constitution, it is the president who
names the prime minister, and 44-year-old Paksas--a close ally of
Adamkus--will return to his post as premier.
    Adamkus, a US citizen before becoming Lithuanian president,
was anxious to give the signal to Western business representatives
and foreign diplomats that Lithuania was not about to return to a
more cautious path of economic transition. This had been pursued
in the early and mid-1990s by the elderly President Brazauskas and
his party of former communists, who now come under the Social
Democratic umbrella. Another government of former communists would
have been Adamkus' worst nightmare. Lithuania is a parliamentary
republic with a largely symbolic president, and Adamkus is using
his limited constitutional powers to the extreme. He has been
instrumental in pushing the New Policy Bloc forward.
    With both the Conservative Party, led by the increasingly
undiplomatic and eccentric independence leader Vytautas
Landsbergis, and the Social Democrats forced into opposition, it
seems that Lithuania may have its youngest, cleanest, most
positive (most Estonian) government yet. But the Lithuanian
economy is built on an intricate network of personal contacts
frequently impenetrable to outsiders. Even Liberal and Social
Liberal party members will have business interests that go beyond
any ideological party commitment. Within the new coalition, it is
this factor rather than conflicting party concerns that could
cause disruption to policy making. Exactly what sort of people are
taking their seats in the new parliament remains to be seen. Most
Lithuanians would find it difficult to name more than two members
of the New Union.
    Whoever they may be, the new MPs will not have much to learn
from the incompetent outgoing, predominantly Conservative, members
of parliament. Some, for example the fiery redhead Nijole Ozelyte,
a professional actress, were entirely unsuited to politics. During
her stint as MP, Ozelyte was hardly ever seen attending
parliamentary sessions, preferring more glamorous activities such
as co-hosting a TV chat show. As an MP, Ozelyte insulted
journalists, insulted Landsbergis, her Conservative Party boss,
and became mired in a series of minor scandals. The Liberal Union
has its own share of showbiz personalities in its ranks, and one
can only hope they do not turn out like Ozelyte.
    The Conservative Party's political naivete sometimes sank to
alarming depths. In mid-September, the Conservatives tried to rush
a controversial resolution through parliament that legalized 23
June 1941 as the declaration of the restoration of Lithuania's
independence. To many Lithuanians, the rebellion against the
withdrawing Soviet occupation that occurred on this date has
romantic connotations of the fight for the homeland. That there
was a simultaneous explosion of violence against Jews in Lithuania
is usually ignored. Despite widespread disapproval of the bill,
parliament merely voted to suspend rather than repeal it.
    When the new government assumes its responsibilities, it will
be Paksas, a prominent, visible personality, who as prime minister
takes the blame for any policy failures. He can only try to ensure
that Lithuania pulls itself out of its recession quickly, which it
should. Investors will look to the new, youthful government with
confidence. Paulauskas, meanwhile, will prepare himself for
presidential elections in a year's time. He lost to Adamkus in the
1997 presidential race by just 0.74 per cent, or 16,000 votes.
    Lithuania is at the start of a process of learning about how
coalition governments work. Lithuanians are used to one-party
majorities. Many of those who voted for Brazauskas' coalition feel
confused and betrayed by the political system. Some even assume it
to be a conspiracy that cheated the politicians who appeared to be
the election winners out of power. The country's media have also
missed the point, and have failed to explain the political process
to the Lithuanian people.
    Brazauskas, who emerged from retirement to fight the election,
has retired again. Landsbergis is under pressure to resign as
Conservative Party leader. What has happened in Lithuania is part
of a wider trend across much of Central Europe--the replacement of
old timers with smart, Western-minded youngsters. If a content
analysis of election manifestos can be believed, there are many
points of convergence between the two main coalition partners. So
it seems that political stability and Lithuania's chosen westward
path will continue.
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 (Free Access)
  U.S. Threatens Sanctions Against Russia Over Pope Case
  U.S. Rejects Armenian Genocide Resolution
  No Balkans With Bush
  Izetbegovic Steps Down, Leaves Radisic as Chair of Bosnian Presidency
  Italian Journalist Found Murdered in Georgia
  Ukraine, Russia Strike Gas Deal
  Kostunica Makes Some Progress, Practices Diplomacy in Bosnia
  Moldova Agrees To Privatize Wine and Tobacco Enterprises
  Slovenia's Drnovsek To Form Next Government Coalition
  Walesa's Delusions of Grandeur

OUR TAKE: Until They're Blue in the Face
    Once again geopolitics trumps human rights
FEATURE: Inflammatory Elections
    by Altin Raxhimi
    Albania's southwestern Himara region, made up of seven
villages, stretches along a spectacularly beautiful strip of the
Ionian coastline. The village houses are made of whitewashed
stone, and the roofs and courtyards are arranged like steps up the
mountain side. But recently the picturesque region has become the
center of the country's political attention, after the second
round of local elections on 15 October--the first test for
stability since the anarchy of 1997--prompted allegations of
improprieties and meddling from Albanian and Greek authorities.

    ELECTION SPECIAL: Victory For Lukashenka--So Far
    by Alex Znatkevich
    Belarusian authorities organized the 15 October parliamentary
elections in a similar fashion to how the Soviets would serve up
sour cream--watered down and lacking in substance. Most opposition
parties did not participate and hundreds of activists were
detained and beaten for boycotting. The opposition cried foul as
local election commission members told of widespread fraud.
Meanwhile, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's support is eroding
and the opposition doesn't seem to be gaining any in return.
This month's "In Focus" package: Rotten To the Core
    Three more pieces on corruption in the region.
IN FOCUS: The Other Side of the Corrupt Coin
Interview by Peter Pomaranzev
    Debate surrounding corruption has increasingly come to focus
on the role Western firms and international lending institutions
play in post-communist countries. Transparency International (TI),
an NGO whose stated aim is to increase government accountability
and curb corruption, says it is concentrating on a more
constructive approach to the battle by creating independent civil
society groups to fight corruption in these countries. Dr. Miklos
Marschall, the executive director of TI's Central and Eastern
European department, talks about the organization's work, and how
Western bodies have influenced the extent of corruption in the

    IN FOCUS: The Catch-22 of Giving Aid
    Opinion by Susan Rose-Ackerman
    The most needy countries are often the most corrupt. That puts
international financial institutions in a difficult bind. Because
of the need for accountability to donors, some form of loan
conditionality for borrowers is inevitable, but it should not take
a mechanical form. The World Bank should concentrate on public
sector reform and on supporting service delivery projects that are
insulated from the corrupt environment. That might mean involving
the private sector, both for-profits and nonprofits, or insulating
government-run projects from those public officials and agencies
judged to be most corrupt.

    IN FOCUS: Rich Pickings
    by Andras Pap
    Motorists digging deep into their pockets after police
officers have slapped them with a spot fine is a common enough
sight throughout the post-communist world. In the crime-infested
areas of the former Soviet bloc, empowering the police and
widening their powers sounds good, as does raising the fines on
impudent drivers and other violators. But a constitutionally
sanctioned, armed kleptocracy, where the police can stop and fine
almost at will, hinders rather than furthers the fight against
corruption and immoral behavior.