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Koha Digest # 149

Front Page: BERISHA, THE ELECTORAL BREAKING POINT


Date: 19 May 1997

EDITORIAL

THE STATUS-QUO SCENARIO

by VETON SURROI

The effect of the internal Albanian political crises is the same as that of the rain in the heat: it
refreshes for a moment, it creates the illusion that the temperature has finally stabilized and
then the same rhythm of heat continues.

So it happened with the created problem about elections: once proclaimed, the postponement
was reported by the press, it eventually was mentioned in a branch of a party and more or less
was put in the drawer of oblivion.

In fact, something of the kind could have been expected. The Kosovar political rhythm
doesn't tolerate since long ago, since 1991, an abrupt and unexpected movement. In the
eventual scenarios of political developments, the Kosovar conflict enters the category of the
stalling, for years, of stuck positions of the opposing parties, waiting for a foreign power to
unexpectedly force the opposing party to change it's position. Moreover, the status-quo
creates such an atmosphere among the opposing sides, that any initiative is experienced by
the parties as dangerous for the stability reached by force. Just let's remember the agreement
on education, which was not applied, among others, because the Serbian party would live it as
a loss of the reached stable position. In these days of heat, at the eve of the dead political
summer season, one must remember that autumn is no more promising when it comes to the
political movements.

The party that must move, the Serb, has only one thing in the list of its priorities, to survive in
power. The Serbian president, since long ago, sees as his main task the maintenance of power,
whatever it may be like, including the future elections and new positioning in the so called
Yugoslav federation. In these conditions, the Kosovar experience shows that not many can
have any influence in the movements about and around Kosova.

Even more having in mind the complex game of the former Spanish premier, Gonzales, in his
mission about the electoral crisis in Serbia, when he showed the Serbian president how deep
can the external intervention be in the "internal political scene". When OSCE, for example,
can be that critical about some local elections, the Serbian leader can think, what is it capable
of doing about the dramatically bad situation in Kosova?

Chances are that the Serbian president will have plenty of time to think about this issue.

The weekly Koha (The Times) was published in Prishtina (Kosovo) between 1994 and 1997. Edited by Veton
Surroi, a young Kosovar journalist and one of the pioneers of democratisation in former Yugoslavia, Koha
soon became a symbol of quality among the region's media. In 1997 it started to be published daily under the
name of Koha Ditorë. W ith the kind permission of Mr. Surroi, Koha digests were originally posted on
http://koha.estudiosbalcanicos.org.
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ALBANIA

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE

by ARTAN PUTO / Tirana

On 16 May, early in the morning, at around 4 o'clock, the Albanian


parliament adopted the new Electoral Law, which will serve as basis
for the new elections, planned for 29 June.

The Albanian Parliament dominated by the Democratic Party, adopted


this law, while MPs of the opposition parties abandoned the
parliament.

During these weeks, the DP and opposition parties had a debate, on


the nature of the electoral law. DP wants a mainly majority law,
similar to the one that gave it a victory on the elections of 26
May, last year. On the other hand, the opposition parties want a
law that will have broad proportional elements, in order to make it
possible for the small parties to enter the parliament.

On 9 May, with help from OSCE's special envoy to Albania, Franz


Vranitzky, parties reached an agreement for the adoption of a
combined law. This means they agreed on a new law that stands
between the '92 variant and the '96 variant.

But, on 13 May, the Albanian Parliament approved a law, which was


actually only a proposal of the DP. Then, on that day, the
opposition parties declared that they will boycott the new
elections planned for June. On 15 May, one day before the expiry
date of the Electoral Law, following long talks, former Austrian
chancellor, Franz Vranitzky, managed to convince DP to reconsider
the law, to make some amendments and to accept and discuss the new
draft electoral law, approved by the Government of National
Reconciliation. On this day, the Albanian prime minister, Bashkim
Fino, said he will go himself to the parliament to present his
Electoral Law. But, in the parliament, the Democrats decided to
discuss only the draft-law presented two days earlier, taking in
consideration some changes proposed by president Sali Berisha.
These proposals have to do with decreasing the level of the
electoral limit from 3% in the first draft, to 2%. Sources from the
DP claim that this will enable small parties to enter the next
Albanian parliament.

In the meantime, Bashkim Fino, the parliamentarian group of the


Socialist Party and three other opposition parties, including the
Party of the Unity for Human Rights, the Republican Party, Balli
Kombëtar, 14 MPs who left the DP and now are members of a new
party, and the Movement for Democracy abandoned the session as soon
as it became clear that only DP's draft was going to be discussed.

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Therefore the Electoral Law was adopted by the votes of the
Democrats, who have 80% of the seats in parliament.

In the morning of 16 May, DP's chairman, Tritan Shehu, said that


this law had been largely improved, especially following the
proposals made by president Berisha, and according to him this law
takes into consideration the changes proposed by all parties and
also suggestions made by Vranitzky. "We have reduced the electoral
limit to two per cent and we have added some proportional elements,
in order to help small parties. I don't know why other parties left
the parliament hall, but I do know that we are respecting the rules
of the game, as set in the talks we had with Franz Vranitzky", says
Shehu.

The president of the Socialist parliamentarian group, Namik Dokle,


after leaving the session, said that they made it clear that the
elections should be held according to a law proposed by Government
and approved by the consensus of all parties. Nothing else can
guarantee free and fair elections. In these conditions we won't
participate in the elections, he said.

Other parties left the parliament too. On the day the law was being
approved, a meeting was set to be held in Vlorë, where some
opposition parties and members of the Forum for Democracy were
invited. According to the political contract signed with Vranitzky
on 9 May, the committees should have dissolved today. But the bad
political situation in Tirana and failing to achieve a consensus on
the Electoral Law makes this objective less likely to happen. Franz
Vranitzky, said he alone couldn't make any positive changes in his
talks, although he invited president Berisha and prime minister
Fino to have another meeting where they would solve their
misunderstandings.

He also said that he will report to the EU governments on the


situation in Albania, because, "they have the moral right to know
about the situation in Albania, since many funds for the
restructuring of the country are being raised. Yesterday, on a
press briefing, Vranitzky said that if an agreement is not reached
within two days, then his mission will be jeopardized. But, he also
said he would not resign and that he will keep on working on the
Albanian question.

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ALBANIA

BERISHA AGAINST THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE MULTINATIONAL FORCE IN


THE ELECTIONS

by MANJOLA TERSHANA / Tirana

Two gangs exchanged fire on 14 May, in the center of Vlorë, early


in the morning. The Italian soldiers, part of the multinational
force shot in the air in order to stop further violence. On this
occasion, two gang members were shot dead.

Although gun fire is quite normal, especially in the southern parts


of Albania, multinational troops are not intervening since their
mandate does not allow this. A debate is running in Albania on the
need of the interference of the multinational force in these cases.
Many political parties ask for a broader mandate of the
multinational force.

A reason for this statement was the pronunciation of the Italian


Defence Minister, Andreata, who said that troops will stand by
polling stations in order to secure free and fair elections in
Albania. This stand was also backed by Franz Vranitzky, during his
last stay in Albania. The involvement of the multinational force in
the electoral campaign is a request that prime minister Fino is
going to make to the United Nations.

In the meantime, the Commander of "Alba" in Albania, General


Forlani said that in case that the help of his troops is requested
in the electoral process, he is ready to provide it. "It depends on
the mandate that we are given, there is no problem as far as we are
concerned."

Opposition parties dispute the law presented by DP. The


parliamentarian session in which the electoral law was supposed to
be discussed was delayed, because the opposition refused to
participate in the voting procedure. The reason was that the draft
didn't come from the government, but from DP's parliamentarian group.
On 9 May, political parties reached an agreement on the Electoral
Law, similar to the '92 solution. Suddenly this law was not
presented by the government but by the Democratic Party.
This was the reason why the Socialist parliamentarian group,
republicans and MPs of the Human Right Party, were not present in
the session. They left it, in a sign of a public protest.

While leaving the session, the chairman of the HRP, Vasil Melo,
said: "I cannot stay here. Democrats can vote pro if they wish".
The Republican Party said that it will also boycott the elections
if the agreement reached with Vranitzky is not respected.
Democrats say that the law was presented by them, since Fino's

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government didn't present it's draft to the parliament. But,
opposition parties seem to be determined to not vote for the
project presented by DP.

In these conditions the Albanian parliament found itself facing a


dilemma. The question is: will the Democrats use their power of
vote or will they wait for the vote of other parties participating
in the parliament?

ALBANIA

9 MARCH - RECONCILIATION OR REVENGE

by ARTAN PUTO / Tirana

KOHA: You were against the agreement of 9 March. Are you still
thinking the same?

LUBONJA: Today there is plenty of talk about the agreement of 9


March. Some consider it as grounds for the restructuring of
Albania. Fino calls the government that came from it, "the last
chance" for Albania. The West, when judging the Albanian crisis,
considers it as the only point of reference. But, what is this
agreement in essence? According to Berisha and some members of the
opposition, it was constructed over one "great moral act": national
reconciliation. Even the government of coalition, formed a few days
later and which should make the preparations for the free and fair
elections was named accordingly. But, it wasn't very clear what
kind of reconciliation was this: was it a reconciliation between
former persecutors and those who were persecuted; between Berisha
and the people of the South; or a reconciliation between ruling
party and the opposition. Nobody asked the harmed, the persecuted
or the people from the South whether they agree to reconciliate. In
the best case, this could be the reconciliation of some
politicians. On the next day, as it is known, an order came from
the top and the ammunition warehouses were opened in the North and
in Tirana, where there were no anti-government riots. A TV crew,
nobody knows how, found itself on the spot and filmed the
plundering of weapons in one village of Tropojë, and the people
waving arms against the South. Foreign medias started to talk about
an Albanian civil war of the North against the South. Instead,
anarchy spread all across the country. Albanians that had no motive
to kill each other plundered the ammunition depots and took
everything they found there. Armed men rushed towards the prisons
and freed all the prisoners, among whom were 700 jailed for murder.
The number of those killed in two days was more than 200, and
thousands were wounded. The gangs started looting. So, the economic
and political insurrection of the South was absorbed by the chaos

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that spread all across the country. People rushed onto the ports
and a new exodus started. In that moment, western countries with
the persistence of Italy, decided to give a positive answer to the
request for sending their troops, that was first made by President
Berisha, later accepted by the political parties and formalised by
the government of reconciliation. This was an immediate result of
the agreement of 9 March. Therefore, while reconciliation was
reached on the scene, a government of the coalition was formed and
the elections were assured, a civil war was being prepared in the
background. There was anarchy and foreign troops were called in.
This was the peak of Berisha's policy "abyss calls an abyss". In my
opinion, on 9 March, Albania fell deeper in the abyss.

KOHA: Do you think that the members of the opposition were naive,
didn't understand that they were giving Berisha "the hand of God" -
as he called the idea of the Government of Reconciliation?

LUBONJA: I think that they thought that he was weak, and above all,
that he couldn't be that irrational to do what he did - to order
the opening of the ammunition depots, what was equal to the
destruction of Albania. It is understood that "the hand of God"
didn't come to Berisha, it was rather the hand of the Devil,
because this led to the worst scenarios in Albania, perhaps worse
than those from the times of Enver Hoxha. How can be something that
killed hundreds of Albanians, that made them become preys of
criminals, that forced them into the Adriatic sea were lot of them
found only death, be called "the hand of God". From that day
Albanians are continuously being killed and it is hard to believe
that for a long time they will live in peace. The fall of the
pyramid schemes is a children's game compared to what was done by
the fall of the state.

KOHA: Do you think that even the Forum for Democracy lost it's
strength after 9 March?

LUBONJA: It cannot be ignored that after 9 March, the centre of


action of the Albanian opposition was shifted from the Forum into
the offices of Fino and Berisha. I think that this was not positive
thing to happen. Forum for Democracy was an effort for the
emancipation of Albanian politics. With it, I understood two
things: first, for the first time political parties of the left and
right sat together, putting national interests above their parties'
interests, and second, a positive outcome of this would be gaining
the respect for each other, that would build the grounds for future
coalitions, and also for the coexistence in the Parliament, based
on dialogue and not confrontation.

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From this point of view, the behavior of each political party would
be important also for the political future of Albania and for the
real national reconciliation. This would be especially important,
because in the past, our people have been disappointed with the
politicians. I am saying that people needed to have faith in
politicians. The elimination of the Forum disillusioned many of
them. Historically, all the agreements between Albanians failed,
because in all cases, one side had invalidated the agreement, and,
step by step, had eliminated the others.

What can I say about the agreement of 9 March?

Vranitzky said that this was the first time such an accurate
agreement was reached, he even called it "a new invention". Only
two days later, the Parliament approved a partial Electoral Law,
and it came out that all of this was only a new invention in the
Byzantine manoeuvres of Berisha.

An agreement as that of 9 March, leaves space for different


interpretations, and this will be used by the Parliament controlled
by Berisha. Also, the agreement doesn't foresee the demanded
changes in RTV and "SHIK" (National Intelligence Service). The
truth is that this agreement is only the scene of the Albanian
politics. The question is what is happening in the background,
where the fate of the nation is actually decided? Albania is still
crowded with Berisha's gangs, criminal gangs and it's people are
fully armed and they won't give the weapons back until they see
that Berisha left the political scene. I think that the Government
of reconciliation remains being that of cease-fire; and the day of
elections risks to become a night of conflicts. All this is
happening because this politics is grounded on false
reconciliation, that was agreed without even mentioning the word
justice, and without asking forgiveness from any side.

KOHA: But, can we hope for a reconciliation in the future?

LUBONJA: This is the main problem in Albania. Albania reaches


either false reconciliations or revenges. If justice is not met,
especially when crime is still fresh, the evil will always remain
inside. A nation that was looted and killed cannot reconciliate
with those who committed these crimes. This would be a disgrace for
the whole nation. The best would be, as Qosja said in an interview
for BBC, if Berisha and people like him disappear for good in the
blackness of political oblivion.

KOHA: From what is seen on TV, it seems that right now, Berisha's
only ally is King Leka Zogu. How do you explain this?

LUBONJA: This proves that Berisha is ready to use all means and
every kind of allies to stay in power. A few years ago, Berisha

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didn't allow King Zogu to come to Albania. Perhaps, Berisha
considers him to be out of this conflict and out of the hatred he
feels towards other politicians. But, I think that it is not good
to hold a referendum together with the elections. For this kind of
referendum, it is necessarily to have a calm situation, a situation
in which Albanians could think and judge better whether they want
a monarchy or a republic. I'm afraid that Berisha could use King
Leka in his efforts to divide the North and South.

KOHA: How do you perceive the attitude of the West towards all what
is happening in Albania?

LUBONJA: When Western countries decided to send troops into


Albania, the chaos in the country was caused by the armed people in
the south, by Berisha's gangs, different criminal gangs and the
paralysed police. The best way to come out of this situation would
be the resignation of Berisha. This would bring good things
immediately. His gangs would lose motivation and would disappear,
people in the South would give in their arms. Following this, the
elimination of criminal gangs would be much easier. But this would
not guarantee the immediate stop of the exodus of Albanians into
Italy, that has caused a political crisis there. Therefore a
military mission was needed. And, it was necessary to insist that
Albanians were not able to do it on their own, that they were
starving, as the Italian foreign minister insisted. When we speak
about the West, we must say that Albania was unfortunate to be
taken care of by Italy, a country with a huge political
instability. On the other side, the foreign factor is of a
secondary importance in deciding the fate of the country.

KOHA: So, you are not very positive about the military
intervention?

LUBONJA: A few weeks after the arrival of the international troops,


Albania still has Berisha's gangs, criminal gangs, an armed nation
that is asking the resignation of Berisha, and has no police.
Another eight armies were added to those forces, and looks that
they are not doing much, not just in preventing the killing,
assassinations, the fights, but also in preventing the exodus.
Albanians compare this time with the times of World War I, when our
difficultly created country became a crossroad for different
armies. This is the biggest offence for our national dignity and is
more despairing when we recall that the protests of January-
February 1997 could have succeeded to overthrow a dictatorial
regime. A smart and disinterested European hand could have helped
Albania more than the presence of armed troops.

KOHA: How do you think that the conflict will be solved?

LUBONJA: Only the Western intervention has stopped Berisha so far.

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But, the worst thing is that he plays two cards: one in the scene
and another on the backstage. He does not realize that he is
fighting his people. And, I think that it is very hard to deal with
somebody that is more an object of psychiatry or justice. Perhaps
the situation could be solved with more patience, with an increased
intervention of Europe, or perhaps with more courage. But, with
politically incriminated people, it is very unlikely to find a
solution.

KOHA: How do you judge the attitude of Prishtinë towards the events
in Albania?

LUBONJA: It is understandable that the medias in Kosova maintain a


distance toward the events in Albania. But, I don't think it should
be so. If Albanians in Kosova really love Albania, they must
"touch" the situation, make mature evaluations and help in
resolving the crisis. It is embarrassing that some see in Berisha
a symbol of the nation, same as they used to do with Enver Hoxha in
the past.

KOSOVA

THE RETURN OF UÇK

by YLBER HYSA / Prishtinë

After a pause, it seems like the Liberation Army of Kosova (UÇK) is appearing on the
political scene again. Apparently this pause was caused by the Albanian crisis and the
destabilization of the country. But, after an action in Drenicë, and, especially after UÇK
people decided to talk to “The New York Times”, the public’s attention was again
redrawn on them.

In fact, appearing in a prestigious newspaper such as “The New York Times”, marks a
new phase in the organization’s political appearance, which this time chooses a
concrete communication form with the public, moreover, a worldwide public. It can be
said that UÇK, starting from anonymity and deep conspiracy, by further perpetrating
some armed attacks in order to finally come our with political statements, now seems to
have found a form of communication with the public through the international media.
“Within three years, the Serbian regime in Kosova will be destroyed”- is Alban’s
analysis as stated in “The New York Times” and this, besides being an analysis, seems
to eventually mark the organization’s stand to continue it”s activities.

This promise came only after a group of people whom the Serbian authorities in Kosova
accuses of belonging to the organization, were captured, arrested and are soon
expected to face trial. Moreover, this argument was used even from senior Serbian
police authorities, in order to show their successful work. On 13 May (Security Day),
the new police chief, Stoiljkovic, stated that the main achievement of the police, as
evaluated by the minister, was “the capturing of Albanian terrorists in Kosova”.

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Same as Stoiljkovic, Prishtinë's police chief, Keric, counted the capture of the group
that "they believe is connected to UÇK and whose trial will begin soon", as their
greatest success. In fact, the previously captured group was merged with the group of
five, which according to Serbian police authorities, operated close to the Prishtinë
region. The captured group was shown on the main TV news broadcast, besides
weapons and different explosive devices. The trial against the whole group of the
arrested and accused of terrorism in Kosova, has been already announced.

The present increased Serbian police activity and the pronouncement of the high
officials of the Serbian Ministry of Interior has, with no doubts, political marketing
purposes, which is utmost necessary in electoral times. Moreover, waving with this
joker is necessary for both the domestic and international public, which is supposed to
prove how the Serbian regime has everything under control, including Kosova.
And, right now, at the time of these Serbian efforts, UÇK appears in public, through a
prestigious newspaper to which it's members sketch a symbolic drawing with the blue
marker that shows the Serbian regime in Kosova as an empty box that will be hit by
them and will be destroyed within three years. The Albanian emigrant who was
wearing jeans and looked ordinary, but who has spent a long time in Serbian jails and
who is “one of the most wanted terrorists in Yugoslavia”, said to The New York Times
journalist, that UÇK is not IRA nor is it the Basque movement. “We’re not a terrorist
organization. We only attack the representatives of Serbian regime. We target the
secret police, the Albanian collaborationists that cooperate with the Serbian regime”.
But, the thing stated in the newspaper and that is worth mentioning again is that this
organization is leaning on 700.000 Albanian emigrants in the West. It is also very much
worth mentioning their evaluation that “Kosova is at the edge of a guerrilla war”, and
that this situation is a result of having ignored the Kosova issue in Dayton, as states
the newspaper.

The thing that proves that the problem won't remain within media, is the writing of a
senior American diplomat, who has read the agency’s information claiming that it was
not accurate. Even though the information is considered as such, this doesn’t
necessarily dodge the worldwide political circle’s interests for a phenomena such as is
the UÇK in Kosova. In the highly tense situation in Kosova, UÇK doesn’t only interest
the Serbian police, but it seems like it interests some important world political factors.
Especially if the drawing with the blue marker is at least a bit true.

So, UÇK, and anybody else doing similar things, will not remain only a Serbian or
Albanian electoral marketing issue...”

KOSOVA

COURTS AS POLITICAL MARKETING

by GJERAQINA TUHINA / Prishtinë

Eighteen Albanians, (two of them in absence), will be facing


trial at the Regional Court of Prishtinë, on Monday, 19 May. All
of them were arrested during the January/February police

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campaign, when over 60 people accused of anti-governmental
activities were placed behind the bars, according to police
sources.

Eighteen of them are accused of, as attorney Fazli Balaj says,


“Association for committing hostile activities", (Art. 136),
meaning that they were making preparations to make Kosova an
independent state and consequently unite it with Albania. They
are also charged with Art. 125, accused of terrorism, according
to which they made preparations to do terrorist attacks. The rest
of people are accused of being members of this group.

There are no proofs for these allegations, same as for the rest
of political trials. But, it seems like this will “pass” too,
because as Balaj says, “some of the accused admitted the facts
and circumstances, which will be used by the prosecutor as proof
that corroborates the existence of the criminal act they are
accused of”. According to these statements, there are no elements
for accusation, because according to the lawyers, “this
accusation incriminates the freedom of speech, the free political
will of the accused to have Kosova become an independent state or
to become unified with Albania. In fact, it is the right of each
citizen to feel or act this way, but using no violence”. One of
the incriminating elements is the publication of a leaflet called
“Çlirimi” (Liberation), which is, according to the accusation, “a
vital part of the illegal organization, the LKÇK ("National
Movement for the Liberation of Kosova")”. For the public
prosecutor, this also counts as proof of the committed crime.
But, the defense considers this unacceptable, because as Balaj
puts it, “there are many other ordinary texts published and these
texts can be found published in the other media in Kosova and
abroad”. The freedom of expression through media can’t be
incriminated because, says Balaj, “since the times of the Romanic
law, it is well known that governments and leadership can’t be
overthrown by words or newspapers, but only with the use of force
and violence, and in this case there was no violence nor force
used”.

"We are again facing a `prefabricated political trial'", is a


statement that the defense is backing with the fact that the
police has applied violence on the accused, in order to come to
the self-incriminating statements they subsequently signed.
The use of violence, say the defenders, was confirmed by the
prison doctor and these facts shouldn’t be ignored. This even
means that there is insistence to create a “hostile group”,
independently from that fact that the actual Serbian laws
decisively state that “the plea of guilt caused by the use of
force can’t be taken as proof”.

But, apparently the use of violence is nowadays a part of

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investigation procedures against Albanians in Kosova. The
chairperson of the “Humanitarian Law Center” in Belgrade, Natasa
Kandic, stated that “Following an extensive report on human
rights violations, a commander of a police station wrote us a
letter in which he says that the use of violence during
interrogations will continue and that all “secessionists” will be
further tortured”.

The new trial of the eighteen accused, is considered by the


Albanian political subjects as a “political frame-up”. The
Association of Political Prisoners, considers that the trial is
“a political prefabrication and full disrespect of the freedom of
speech”, as the chairman of APP's informing commission, Bedri
Halimi, would say.

This association has made a call to the EU and the USA, to use
their mechanisms and monitor this trial and thus get acquainted
with the reality more closely. Even president Rugova asked for
“the framed-up trials to be stopped”, saying that , “they make
the situation in Kosova even more difficult”.

The Albanian political side has insisted continuously on the


monitoring of the trial. Such a request was addressed to the UN
rapporteur on human rights in the Former Yugoslavia, Elisabeth
Rehn, whose office has promised that their monitoring officers
will attend the trial.

Anyhow, this lawsuit will become part of a series of the “big”


trials that have characterized Kosova's reality in the past
years. According to the CDHRF in Prishtinë, hundreds have been
sentenced to many years behind bars and around 100 who were
arrested on political charges, are suffering in Kosovar and
Serbian jails. According to some information, living conditions
in prison are extremely difficult.

It seems that this trial is just the beginning of the “reprise”


of the past years. The Albanian side claims that this usually
happens during the most delicate times when the solution of the
Kosova issue is discussed. It is also said that the trials are,
in most of the cases, in function of the political “marketing” of
the actual regime. As attorney Balaj would say, “the law here
only exists to assure the prosecutor’s and the government’s
allegations”.

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SERBIA

SERBIA - REPUBLIC OR MONARCHY?

by TEOFIL PANCIC / AIM / Belgrade

Fifty six years after the King of Yugoslavia, Petar


Karadjordjevic I fled to London just before the attack of
Hitler's bombers, the restoration of monarchy has reached the
Serbian political agenda again.

After the war, communists prohibited the return of the king and
his family, they confiscated his property and proclaimed the
republic.

Since the multi-party system was introduced in post-communist


Serbia, the political force that nourished the image of the
monarchy was the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO). The strength and
the weakness of this large opposition party relied on the idea to
rehabilitate Draza Mihajlovic's Ravnagora movement, as an
antifascist guerilla that fought on the side of the (Western)
allies and on the program of restoration of royalism. Thus, SPO
attracted a number of Serbs who had for years been feeling as
losers and victims in front of God's justice, and who had always
considered partisans and the communist authorities as usurpers.
At the same time, such an ichnography of the SPO and the image of
it's charismatic leader Vuk Draskovic, was repudiated by most of
the Serbs that were against the restoration of the monarchy. In
this way, this party has always been "the biggest opposition
party in Serbia (and their leaders don't mind repeating this),
but with the "introduced mistake" of it's ichnographic-ideologic
rigidity and devolution which didn't allow it to gain more
supporters and win the majority in Serbia.

Normally, without winning the majority, there are no changes in


power, without changes of power, there are no changes of the
political system, without the change of the system, Serbia will
remain the autistic island in the Europe which is being
built...and so it goes rolling, and the regime wisely identifies
the Serbian opposition with the (lardy and beardy) SPO, and any
kind of change in the conscience of the voters is liquidated once
a question is put - Sloba is not good for you, but, do you want
Vuk to come to power?

Vuk Draskovic, even though he will never admit it, was aware of
his image. This is why since the horrendous defeat that SPO
suffered in 1990, he always appeared in the following elections
in coalitions, trying to amortize the image of SPO created by the
regime's propaganda and the endless mistakes of the proper SPO.
"ZAJEDNO", without any doubt, was the best combination of the

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opposition in the Serbian post-communist elections that achieved,
despite the bad results in the federal elections last autumn, the
victory in all major towns and thus open the path for the
republican parliamentary and presidential elections. The "Yellow
Revolution", organized by the opposition and the impressive
performance of the civic and pro-European Serbia, for the first
time gave the impression that the democratic opposition of
Serbia, identified as "Zajedno", could put in trouble the
personal rule of Slobodan Milosevic. The fraud gave wings to the
opposition, and for the first time, Milosevic found himself in
more serious troubles.

When he finally understood that the theft must be emended, the


rule made itself a big service - faced with the victory, the
opposition tactically didn't know what to do with it and how to
protect "the minimal unity of actions".

The old conflicts of the SPO and Democratic Party (DS), and
especially between their leaders Vuk Draskovic and Zoran
Djindjic, emanated once more with full intensity, as soon as the
demonstrations were over. The biggest obstacle was the "creative"
agreement of the coalition partners on the share of posts
following the (eventual) victory in the republican elections -
which implied that the candidate for President should be proposed
by SPO, the prime-minister by DS, and the chairman of the Serbian
parliament by the Civic Alliance of Serbia (GSS). Normally, SPO
nominated Vuk Draskovic, for president, but the coalition
partners didn't seem to be delighted. Now, SPO is feeling hurt
because of the "betrayal" of the partners, which seems to be
true. However, Djindjic has a very strong counter-argument: "We
need a candidate who could win the elections, and it is not
likely that Draskovic, who is satanised, is the right person - we
don't want to go into defeat just to preserve the coalition".
SPO has no rational answer to this argument, that is why in the
past weeks it returned to its "grassroots", and the story about
the return of the Karadjordjevic, the rehabilitation of the
Ravnagora movement and the vulgar anticommunist movement which,
because it lacks statal power, spends it's energy on changing the
names of the streets and other manifestations of revenge.

The story about the return of Serbia under the rule of the
monarchy, could seem as the best way to move away from the
Communist past. However, it is also important that it is not
supported by most of the Serbs.

It is true, as monarchists claim, that the European monarchies


are rich and developed, but it is also true that the monarchy is
related to continuity and once it is replaced by the republic, it
has almost no chances to return. Thinking that they are fighting
the consequences of the Bolshevik revolution, they are really

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fighting against French revolution. Also it is true, that the
communist historiography has destroyed many aspects of the
Ravnagora movement during World War II, but serious politicians
should take into consideration the long-term indoctrination by
Bulajic's films, even when the images don't have much in common
with the always disputable historical truth. The differences
between coalition partners are increasing as the elections
approach. The collapse of the coalition is very likely to happen.
New links could be created. In this situation, SPO can expect a
kind of isolation, which would split the opposition in two parts -
SPO against all the others. This would be a favorable solution
for the regime, while Vuk Draskovic's party will continue its
course in the shining path, to which Draskovic's wife Danica
referred to as: "We will keep losing, until it becomes
monotonous".

The members of opposition say that the defeat of the opposition


should become monotonous to the losers and not the winners. In
other words, the "Chetniks" and romantic neo-monarchists are the
best pre-electoral gift, which will help the actual regime to
remain in power, until deep into the third millennium.

MONTENEGRO

THE PRESIDENT'S FROZEN SMILE

by HAXHI SHABANI / Ulqin

In times when the session of the Parliament was supposed to seal


the political end of premier Djukanovic, a surprising turn
happened and now the end of president of Montenegro, Bulatovic,
is being awaited. Compromise seems impossible to reach.
The reason for the changes within the Montenegrin political scene
is the change in the relation of forces between the two
protagonists. Thus, president Bulatovic who was known as an
eloquent politician with a rich political terminology, quite
persuasive at first sight, has quite changed now. In his
appearances, especially in front of TV cameras, he has lost the
characteristic sweet smile he once possessed; the president’s
smile has frozen. The reason is big.

Known as a devotee to Milosevic, he could not obey his last


orders "to strike down the tall man from Niksic", the president
of the government called Milo Djukanovic. He tried to accomplish
this by accusing the government state organs; pressing criminal
charges on officials; through the Main Board of the ruling DPS,
but his efforts were in vane. Even his two main allies seem to
have turned their back on him. The first is the party's Central

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Council, that decided to reconfirm Djukanovic in the post of
vice-chairman of the party. The second one is his tutor,
Milosevic, who has so far, met several times with Djukanovic, and
who is now seldom talking with Bulatovic even on the phone; not
surprising, for no one likes the weak. And what about the
Montenegrin parliament, is it going to help Bulatovic? There are
no encouraging signs for that. The source of all his hopes, could
easily be the source of his disappointment, because a Montenegrin
president is not supported by the state institutions.

On the other hand, Montenegro's prime-minister, as opposed to


the frozen smile president, has proved to be very capable and
concrete. In the internal plane, he controls all major
ministries, like the Ministry of Interior and that of Finances,
etc... He is otherwise known as an enthusiast of illegal
trading, which said in other words means that he is rich. He,
according to our sources, in one of the many meetings of the
party, said to his opponents: “I have been feeding you for six
years now, what else do you want from me?”. Considering his
external relations, he has made three spectacular visits. His
short visits to Slovakia, Greece and Great Britain, have been
very fruitful and have ensured Montenegro a loan of several
hundred million dollars. Even his position in regard to the media
in the country and abroad, has been modern.

Another factor that could somewhat affect the solution of the


turmoil by compromise, that now seems difficult, is the Speaker
of the Montenegrin Parliament, Svetozar Marovic. He publicly
favors the prime minister, but known as an intellectual that
deals with politics, he could make the extreme solutions
relative. By calling the parliamentary session at short notice,
and not discussing "the reconstruction of the government", he has
amortized Bulatovic's offensive.

Anyhow, the possible interpretation of the Government


reconstruction, is that the appointing will not be done according
to Bulatovic (read Milosevic), but according to Djukanovic (as
also ascertained by the Constitutional court).

Last but not least, is that people support Djukanovic, and


surveys prove this. Just think of the loans. In the meantime, the
only possible political way out for him is to escape to the
federal organs, which still isn't sure, because Milosevic, is
very angry at him, for his failure in Montenegro's political
scene. Even the last appearances of these two politicians on TV,
give the impression that the prime minister is definitively
defeating the president.

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