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Koha Digest # 106


DATE: 5 June 1996




Democracy won, the West won and the Albanians won. Thus were the elections commented,
with capital letters, hundreds of times during these past days, from the ordinary apparatchiks
who under different conditions, if ordered differently, would celebrate the victory of the
Socialists - up to the people who claimed the above deeply convinced in.

Partly, all of these can be true. The Democratic Party is indeed responsible for an accelerated
development of the democratic state that has the most totalitarian heritage in Europe, and
there are no doubts that it will continue towards the liberalization of the economic relations,
changing of the property relations and the integration in the international market. In firm
lines, and thanks to the past mandate, there is no reason to doubt in the continuation of
building the modalities of freedom of expression, different opinions and its inclusion in the
Western security system.

Looked upon in this way, all, Democracy, the West and the Albanians, won.

However, from the other angle, the elections in Albania reveal the enforced image of some
Third World Western model of insecure and impoverished states having no democratic
tradition, where the chief, trying to apply his project of democratization, employs
authoritarian methods. The disapproval of the international observers regarding the elections
in Albania, the OSCE and various NGOs and finally the EU, prove the attempt of the Leaders
of the country to win the elections by all means, starting from the control of the Television
and up to the irregularities at the polling stations. Moreover, the dragging of the opposition
celebrities by the special police, with the use of fists and feet in the middle of the mere
Skënderbej Square, illustrates more than any other assertion, the readiness of the regime to
allow the expression of the opposition opinions only in places determined for it, in the
mouse's hole.

Thus, the victory could evolve worst. Democracy does not win, on the contrary, a regression
in the directions of the democratic development of the country takes place. The victory is not
of the Western European model, but of the authoritarian multi-party model noticed during the
Cold War in Latin America, Africa and finally in Turkey, and definitely, Albanians do not
win. Albanians in Albania will probably experience the rule of economic freedoms with
permanent political limitations, while those in Kosova and Macedonia will be happy because

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
the regime's hand in Albania is strengthening, although it shouldn't be forgotten that this hand
lacks the national consensus. If scenes alike those that took place at the Tirana central square
continue, we will be facing a negative spiral: the regime has to increase the exertion of
repression over the opposition that holds radical positions, be it radical silence or be it radical

The parliament controlled by only one party could be very efficient. It could adopt the
Constitution and the best laws possible, it can achieve miracles. Even, after four years, we can
conclude that Albania has gotten closer to the European development than ever before.
However, the price for this will be very high. For those ruling in Albania it will not sound
excessive to repeat words stated in every book about government: every rule is corruptible,
and the absolute government is absolutely corruptible.




On May 26, 1996, Albanians voted in parliamentary elections --

the third multi-party elections since the fall of the communist
government in 1991.

Unfortunately, numerous human rights violations before, during

and after the vote have undermined the democratic process and
threatened the legitimacy of the elections. Physical attacks,
ballot stuffing and voter list manipulation have violated the
right of the Albanian people to elect their government in a free
and fair manner.

Extreme cases of police violence after the elections have created

a tense atmosphere throughout the country.

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki calls on the Albanian government and

the international community, specifically the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the European Union,
the Council of Europe, the United Nations and the United States
government, to declare these elections invalid. Those responsible
for abuses of the electoral law should be held accountable, and
conditions should be established for new elections to take place
in an atmosphere that is free and fair. The Albanian uniformed
and secret police should allow citizens to peacefully express
their political views.

Even before the elections, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki warned

that the ruling party might try to manipulate the vote. In a
156-page report, Human Rights in Post-Communist Albania, released
on March 14, 1996, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki concluded: The
closing months of 1995 saw renewed efforts by the state to

silence independent voices in the judiciary and media, as well as
those of opposition politicians. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki
fears that these actions are an attempt by the government to
eliminate its political rivals, thereby jeopardizing the fairness
of the forthcoming elections. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki takes
no position on the political contest in Albania, and recognizes
that some of the accusations made by the opposition parties may
be exaggerated. However, it is the responsibility of the Albanian
government to abide by the rule of law and ensure that the voting
process, the basis of any democracy, proceeds in conformity with
Albanian and international law.

At the same time, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki condemns the

international community's unwillingness to criticize human rights
violations committed by the Democratic Party of Sali Berisha
since it came to power in 1992. The United States and European
governments have repeatedly turned a blind eye to human rights
abuses that undermine the rule of law and democratic reform
because Albania is an "ally" in the region.


A number of developments in recent months threatened the

legitimacy of the elections before the vote had taken place.

"Decommunization" Laws

Two laws passed in late 1995 established a seven-person

commission to review the files of the communist-era secret
police. Those found to have "collaborated" with the former regime
were banned from holding public office until the year 2002. Six
of the commission members, however, were appointed by the
government. The head of the commission was elected by the
parliament, which is strongly influenced by the ruling Democratic

Altogether, the commission banned 139 individuals from

participating in the elections. Of these, forty-five were from
the Socialist Party (former communists), twenty-three from the
Social Democratic Party, eleven from the Democratic Alliance,
thirteen from the Republican Party and three from the Democratic
Party. The remaining individuals were from smaller parties.
According to law, these individuals had the right to appeal the
commission's decision to the Supreme Court (Court of Cassation).
Fifty-seven people availed themselves of this right, and seven of
them had their "verdicts" overturned. The entire process,
however, violated Albanian and international law by failing to
grant prospective candidates the right to due process. All of the
court's sessions were closed to observers and the media, and none
of the defendants was allowed to see the evidence against him.

The Albanian government defends this process as a means of
"decommunizing" Albanian politics.

However, many of the former communist officials guilty of past

crimes have already been convicted by Albanian courts and are
serving time in prison. Three of them were sentenced to death for
"crimes against humanity" two days before the elections. In
contrast, some of those banned from the elections played
important roles in Albania's democratic transition.

The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), a

U.S.- based elections monitoring institute, conducted a
pre-election assessment in Albania in March 1996. The
organization's final report stated: "Because of the potential for
abuse and denial of human rights, it is recommended that the
verification process used to screen candidates for the 1996
Assembly elections be ended. If such a process is kept, the
definition of ineligibility should be narrowed, more time should
be permitted for candidacies, and a greater time for appeal of
adverse decisions should also be allowed". The OSCE Parliamentary
Assembly also expressed its disagreement with the laws, stating:
"... the Delegation also discussed the "Law on Genocide" and
considers that the law includes procedures which are not entirely
transparent. It also includes stipulations which limit the
electorate's possibilities to choose freely their candidates".

Restrictions on Free Expression

Despite numerous promises from President Sali Berisha, no

legislation exists to allow for the transmission of private
television or radio, leaving the state-run programs that favor
the government as the main provider of news for the majority of
the population.

Attempts to open private local radio stations have been thwarted

by the police.

While there are many private newspapers throughout the country,

they are restricted by a repressive press law and obstacles to
their distribution. Since 1992, a large number of journalists,
including foreign correspondents, have been harassed, arrested or
beaten by unknown assailants after writing articles that were
critical of the government.

In the months leading up to the elections, the country's largest

daily, KOHA JONË, was repeatedly harassed and intimidated by the
authorities. In January, the paper was publicly accused of
collaborating with the Serbian secret police, although no
supporting evidence was made public. On February 26, police
detained the entire staff of the paper, including the publisher,

editors, journalists, computer operators, drivers and a cleaner,
in order to question them about a bomb that had exploded that
morning in Tirana. Other journalists were arbitrarily detained
and, on occasion, physically abused.

Harassment of the Political Opposition

Since coming to power in March 1992, the Democratic Party, led by

President Sali Berisha, has used a variety of means to promote
itself and stifle the opposition. The secret police, the
state-owned media and the judicial system are all used to silence
political opponents.

There have been numerous violations of the right to association,

peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and freedom of the press
directed against the political opposition and other initiatives
that express views critical of the state.

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki recognizes that all political forces

in Albania, including the opposition, have used questionable
means on occasion in the struggle for power. However, it is the
responsibility of the government to respect the principles it has
promised to uphold in both Albanian and international law, as
well as to prosecute fairly all those found to have broken the

In addition to physical attacks against opposition politicians

and activists like Gjovalin Cekini, Teodor Keko and Gjergji Zefi,
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki is concerned about restrictions on
party meetings and slanderous attacks in the state media. Also of
concern is the imprisonment of Fatos Nano, leader of the
Socialist Party, who was convicted in April 1994 to twelve years
imprisonment for corruption after a trial fraught with due
process violations. The Inter-Parliamentary Union, Council of
Europe and many human rights organizations have expressed their
concern that Nano was imprisoned for political reasons.

The Electoral Law

In February 1996, a new electoral law was rushed through

parliament despite protests by opposition parties. The law is
problematic since it restructured the electoral commissions to
the advantage of the government and gave the president the sole
power to approve changes to the voting districts. President
Berisha ordered changes to the electoral zones on April 5.
The government said the changes were needed to ensure more equal
voting districts but the opposition claimed that districts were
redrawn to the advantage of the government. Human Rights
Watch/Helsinki has not been able to confirm whether
gerrymandering to the advantage of the ruling party took place,

but is concerned that the president has the sole right to make
such changes.

The electoral law also allocated a disproportionate amount of

time on television to the ruling party. According to Article 53
of the law, the parties with seats in the previous parliament are
granted four hours of air time. But half of this time is
allocated to the parties in the government (i.e. the Democratic

The biggest problem with the electoral law, however, was how it
restructured the composition of the electoral commissions to the
favor of the government, thereby opening the door for
manipulation of the vote on the local level, especially in the
second round of voting.

Three levels of election commissions were established under

Article 34 of the law: the Central Election Commission (CEC), the
Zonal Election Commission (ZEC) and the Voting Center Election
Commission (VCC). The CEC has fourteen members appointed by the
president upon the recommendation of the parliament and the
political parties. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki heard numerous
complaints that the proposals from the opposition parties were
largely disregarded and the CEC was heavily slanted in favor of
the government.

Under the electoral law, the ZECs are composed of a chairman,

deputy chairman, secretary and a representative from each party
that is fielding candidates in the zone. The chairman and the
deputy chairman are appointed by the CEC, while the secretary is
appointed by the local prefect (a position appointed by the
national government).

In the case when there is an even number of people on the ZEC,

then the prefect appoints an additional non-party person.
Finally, the VECs are composed of a chairman, secretary and one
member from each party with candidates in that zone, as well as a
non-party person when the number is even. The chairman is
selected by the chairman of the ZEC, the secretary and non-party
person by the prefect.

International monitors confirmed that the electoral commissions

were controlled by the government appointed chairmen and

A statement made by eleven OSCE monitors from the United Kingdom

and Norway after the elections said: "The key positions in the
election commissions at all levels were occupied by the ruling
party which did not assure an atmosphere of trust and reliability
during the polling. Decisions were in many instances taken only

by the government appointed chairmen and secretaries. The
opposition party representatives in the commissions were often
not allowed to participate in the process, if not outright
evicted from the premises. This pattern was also visible in the
zone commissions". The post-election statement of the OSCE Office
for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which had
fifty-three monitors throughout the country, also concluded that
the "decisions of the polling station commissions were not made
by majority vote, but by the arbitrary decisions of the
government appointed chairman and secretary."

Opposition politicians and election monitors told Human Rights

Watch/Helsinki that there was a great danger for manipulation in
the second round of voting, scheduled for June 2. In the run-off
election, held between the two candidates who received the most
votes in the first round, only representatives of those parties
are on the commission, in addition to the chairman and secretary
appointed by the government. Therefore, a run-off with a
Democratic Party candidate would have a commission with three
government appointees versus one opposition member.

Election Monitors

International monitors were present from a large number of

governmental and non governmental organizations, including the
European Union, OSCE and the U.S.-based National Democratic
Institute and International Republican Institute. The level of
cooperation these monitors received from the government was
mixed. The OSCE-ODIHR mission, which had some members in the
country two months prior to the elections, said that "the level
of official co-operation offered to its representatives was of
such a limited nature."

Moreover, the Albanian Helsinki Committee, the country's most

prominent human rights organization, was denied permission to
monitor voting in Tirana polling stations. The International
Foundation for Electoral Systems was denied permission to send an
expert monitor to the Central Electoral Commission.

Violations on Election Day

Polls opened at 7:00 a.m. on May 26.

Shortly thereafter, reports of voter fraud filtered in from

districts throughout the country.

Around 6:00 p.m., the largest opposition party, the Socialist

Party, declared that it would not acknowledge the results of the
elections because of widespread manipulation. The Social
Democratic Party, Democratic Alliance, Party for Human Rights,

National Unity Party and Democratic Right Party joined the
boycott shortly thereafter.

According to a statements issued by the opposition parties, the

following violations took place: Non-government appointed members
of the local electoral commissions were intimidated and, in some
polling places, beaten by police. Many others were expelled from
the polling station.

Opposition party observers were prohibited from monitoring many

polling stations, as is allowed under Article 66. In some cases,
police removed monitors by force.

Some opposition candidates were harassed, physically attacked or

detained by members of the secret police. The government
responded that the elections had proceeded in a generally free
and fair manner, and that the "red front" was trying to provoke
trouble. A number of violations committed by the Socialist Party
were cited by Tritan Shehu, head of the Democratic Party, and
ATA, the state-run news agency. By the next morning, the
Democratic Party claimed a large-scale victory. On May 30, the
Central Elections Commission announced that the Democratic Party
had won ninety-five of the 115 seats in parliament. The Socialist
Party won five seats, and the Party for Human Rights won two
seats. The ten remaining seats would be contested in the second
round of voting.

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki is not in a position to confirm all

of the specific allegations made by the opposition parties or the
government. There is reason to believe that some accusations by
both sides are exaggerated. Some election monitors, for example,
told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki that some of the Socialist
Party's allegations had proven to be false.

However, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki interviews with

international election observers and foreign journalists
corroborate the general claims of manipulation made by the
political opposition. Taken together, they establish that in many
instances the uniformed police, secret police and government
appointees of the electoral commissions acted in violation of the
electoral law. Anders Eriksson, a Swedish monitor with the
OSCE-ODIHR delegation, told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki: The
elections were not free or fair according to international
standards or Albanian law. So, they failed to meet their own
criterion. ... The opposition pulled out around five or six, but
there had not yet been any results. They saw how the election was

They had no contact with the electoral commission. They were not
treated as observers, but as school boys. It was a pattern all

over the country, from day to night. It was quite obvious that
just the two government appointees on the electoral commissions
were in charge and made decisions without the whole commission.
The opposition representatives were not involved at all.
And we [the monitors] were not allowed to speak with the party
representatives. A journalist for an international news agency
who asked to remain nameless said that non-government appointed
commission members were not present in many of the polling
stations: I went to Kuçovë and Berat, and I saw stations without
anyone from the opposition there. Only a policeman with a gun. In
one station in Berat, the Socialist Party observer had been
beaten at 8:00 in the morning.

Bob Hand, an American observer with the OSCE, told Human Rights
Watch/Helsinki: The counting of ballots was clearly
discriminatory against the Socialist Party. It was clear that
many ballots were being declared invalid. On ballots where a
judgment call was required, those with Socialist votes were
almost always declared invalid.... After the elections, the
police were celebrating by driving up and down the boulevard in
Tirana with civilians in the cars, the sirens on and DP flags
flying out the window. I didn't see, but heard them firing guns
into the air. It was a disgusting display, especially when the
cars were waving American flags. Paskal Milo, a former member of
parliament and candidate for the Social Democratic Party,
monitored a polling station in Lushnje. He said: Many people
voted twelve to fifteen times. Even the observers from Europe saw
this. I personally saw the police force people to vote for the
Democratic Party, especially old people. Sometimes a member of
the commission pretended to help the old person and said, "You
must vote for the DP." The elections were organized not by the
state but by the secret police.

They surrounded all the voting centers. Sometimes they went

inside, removed members of the commission and stuffed the boxes.
Or they said: "You must vote for the DP because, if you don't,
the communists will come to power." Other international monitors
reported similar violations. On May 28, the OSCE-ODIHR delegation
members from Norway and the United Kingdom issued a statement in
Tirana which concluded that "the will of the Albanian people was
not expressed in a free manner in the election of 26 May, 1996."
The statement cited a number of violations, including: ... ballot
cases were altered and invalidated. The number of void votes were
in a large number of polling stations extremely high, up to fifty
percent. In some places, ballots bundled together inside the
boxes indicated that the boxes had been tampered with and votes
added. The presence of armed police and unauthorized persons
around and inside the polling stations in many cases made an
atmosphere of intimidation and coercion. Observers also witnessed
cases of beatings and threats. The general pattern of

intimidation had a significant impact on the election process.

Press reports from major newspapers and news agencies cited other
violations. According to an article in the May 28 edition of the
New York Times: Election monitors from the European Union and the
United States said they witnessed instances of police
intimidation, open ballot boxes and voters casting more than one
ballot. In a district in the capital, the voting was held in the
living room of the local leader of Dr. Berisha's Democratic
Party. One election monitor, Fabrizio Migliaccio of Italy, said
he was stunned that in seven districts he visited in the seaside
town of Durrës, "basic violations" of the electoral process were
made in front of him. They included more than one person being in
the voting booth, unsecured ballot boxes and the stuffing of the
boxes with ballots. The next day, The New York Times quoted a
Dutch observer, Yuraj Atabaki, who has monitored nine elections
in the region since 1991, as saying, "I have never seen the
totalitarian face like this, people being beaten, cameras taken."
According to the article, forty of fifty-three OSCE observers
said they witnessed electoral abuses at the polls.

International monitors told a journalist from the Open Media

Research Institute (OMRI) that they had observed many violations.
The monitors, who asked not to be named, said that voting
irregularities were severe enough to affect the ballot's outcome
in twelve of the fifteen stations they had observed.

Post-Election Violations

On Monday, May 27, the leading opposition parties called for a

demonstration in Tirana's central Skënderbej Square to protest
the manipulation of the vote. The Interior Ministry declared the
gathering illegal, and said the government would use force, if
necessary, to prevent it from happening.

Opposition leaders gathered nevertheless, and the police broke up

the demonstration with force far beyond the amount necessary to
bring the situation under control. According to Human Rights
Watch/Helsinki interviews with foreign journalists and
international election monitors present in the square, police
swinging truncheons attacked opposition leaders and their
followers, beating people indiscriminately. Hospitals reported at
least seven serious injuries, including one person with a skull
fracture and another with a broken leg. Five opposition leaders
were beaten by the police in front of journalists and
international monitors, and were then hauled off to local police
stations. Bob Hand, an American observer with the OSCE, told
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki: First it looked like the police were
trying to talk to people, pleading with them to go away. And they
were trying to push them back. The police starting hitting, and

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then the riot police arrived, from which point it got worse. Then
they were clobbering everybody without regard. Gramoz Pashko, a
leading member of the Democratic Alliance who co-founded the
Democratic Party with Sali Berisha, told Human Rights
Watch/Helsinki: They beat us and detained us for one and half
hours in the police station. [Endre] Legisi, [Sevret] Pëllumbi,
[Arben] Imami, [Blendi] Gonxha and Namik Dokle. They isolated the
leaders and we were heavily beaten in the square and in the
police station without any accusation being made.

Then we were released. Arben Imami lost three teeth and is in

very bad condition. Human Rights Watch/Helsinki spoke with the
Imami family and confirmed that he had been dragged for
approximately two hundred meters on his head, and then detained.
He lost his front teeth and was temporarily in a coma.

Paskal Milo was also beaten and told Human Rights Watch/Helsinki:
Today we had a meeting in Skënderbej Square. The opposition
parties were there to protest the manipulation of the election by
the DP. Six or seven thousand people came and they beat us.
...They beat us with everything. Some of them [opposition
leaders] were in jail for about two hours. The police also beat
foreign and Albanian journalists who were present in the square,
including Gianfranco Stara and Spiro Ilo from Associated Press
Television and Eduardo del Campo from Spain's El Mundo. Stara and
Ilo's professional Beta camera was smashed and the film
destroyed. The Interior Ministry denied that anyone had been
beaten and said the gathering was 30 percent former secret police
agents who "called for war, violence and massive exodus to
neighboring countries."

Following the police action, President Berisha issued the

following statement: The President of Albania calls on Albanian
citizens to be cool-headed and not to fall prey to the decisions
of the Albanian former secret police leaders, today's Socialist
Party leaders, who, after their total defeat, withdrew from the
free elections three hours before they were closed, and in active
cooperation with other extreme groups intend to stir up fights
among the people and to destabilize democracy.

Role of the International Community

Since coming to power in 1992, President Berisha has enjoyed the

strong support of the international community, especially the
American, German and Austrian governments. In return, Berisha has
opened up Albania's ports and airstrips for NATO use and
encouraged ethnic Albanians in neighboring Kosovo and Macedonia
to avoid calls for independence.

At times, western governments have criticized human rights abuses

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in the country. But Albania still became a member of the Council
of Europe and receives substantial foreign aid. A number of
top-ranking western officials visited Albania in the weeks
preceeding the elections, thereby lending credence to the


Human Rights Watch/Helsinki calls on the Albanian government to:

Establish an independent commission with representatives from all
the major political parties to investigate the electoral
violations and make recommendations on how to create conditions
for a new election that is free and fair. Prosecute those
individuals responsible for violating the electoral law.
Investigate the cases of police violence and abuse in detention
committed on May 28 and hold accountable those found responsible.

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki calls on the United Nations, OSCE,

the Council of Europe, European Union and the United States
government to: Declare the Albanian parliamentary elections
invalid due to the numerous electoral violations. Help create
democratic conditions under which free and fair elections can




Saturday, 25 May

At seven in the morning, I see from the distance the semi-

constructed building of the Albanian customs office at Qafëthanë
border-cross. An impressive feat: it has already started to cover
the mud that was so common earlier. I start to bargain with the
taxi drivers and, who knows why, I choose the oldest one. I show
him the purpose of my trip and he answers directly that he is a
"socialist". He talks with a vocabulary that makes you realize he
had not spent his entire life inside Enver Hoxha's "castle"
alone: "I used to be chauffeur in the Albanian Embassy in
Vienna", he notices while explaining the local geography on the
way to Korça. While parting, the old man expressed his belief
that "democracy, headed by the Socialists, will win."

The area of Korça has some 200.000 residents, numbering

approximately the same number of voters as a prefecture of
Pogradec, Devoll and Kolonja. Some 89 candidates represent 13

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political forces, although only ten of them will represent the
Prefecture at the National Parliament. Graffiti and the numerous
posters witness the non-compromised pre-electoral battle.
In Korça, one could feel the breeze of democracy, as they use to
say. At its very center a new church is being built. Hotel-
tourism is privatized since quite some time now, and this seems
to be the main reason why there is no telephone line. My only way
out, if needed, was to go the post-office and make an urgent

I'm headed towards the Prefecture: there is a group of people

waiting. The employee on duty (guard) explains that they are
waiting for the Prefect. They are the representatives of the four
main political opposition parties: "We request seeing the prefect
due to the two main and very concerning problems. The first one
is related to the submitting of the report regarding all
political subjects, in accordance to Article 75 of the Electoral
Law - which they refuse by stating that they will submit only two
copies; and the second, due to the participation of party
observers, in accordance to Article 66 of Law, that allows the
observers provided with an authorization by the Zonal Electoral
Commissions, over what we got rejected as well. Surely, we have
complains" - states Edmond Rako. After six hours of waiting, the
prefecture general secretary, Budjon Xhuti acknowledges us with
the content of the talks with the opposition representatives by
declaring that "the prefect assured them of the strict
application of the Law..."

At the seats of the two main forces, the Democratic Party and the
Socialist Party of Albania, but also at the Union for Human
Rights, all claim that real possibilities for the victory of
their candidates really exist: "The Victory is Ours", expresses
himself one Korçan democrat, dr Bujar Isaku, while the Socialist
part wishes only "for decent elections..."

Sunday, 26 May

The democrats claim that during the first hours of the day,
Socialists exerted a provocation: they have beaten two of their
followers. The trace of this information leads to Korça TV. After
requesting my ID, the policeman assures me that he will
acknowledge the manager on my presence, who, while walking me
out, informs of the team that will visit the house of one of the
victims - Pandeli Bodo. In the house, his wife wipes the blood
from his mouth: "I asked for help, but it was late at night, and
no doctor was around" - says Pandeli. "I was walking near the
seat of the Socialist Party when an unidentified person came up
from the darkness, asking me what party I belonged to. Then he
hit me. As I fainted, I fell and hit the side-walk." Due to this
aggressive atmosphere, dr Bujar adds: "there are persons from the

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Socialist Party that come by at three in the morning and start
provocations. One person was asked whom will he vote for, and
after replying: "the Democrats", he got stabbed. Persons
suspected of being implicated in this act, were arrested by the
District Commissariat". However, the head of the Socialists for
the city of Korça, Niko Pandeli, claims that this ugly case is a
"severe incident against our supporters. There is no political
sense in this".

The surge at the polling stations comes very vivid. There are
policemen (!?) who seem to be engaged in calming of the mood. I
was disallowed to have an interview with any of commission
members in all three voting centers. I was recommended to ask the
permission at the prefecture, but the persons in charge there
explained that "they do not issue such permissions". They were
unable to explain at least who could do this instead. The
journalist ID was obviously far from being a strong evidence...

There is an increased concern among Korçan socialists in the

first hours of afternoon, regarding the development of elections:
"they are taking place under an extreme physical and
psychological pressure towards the population, our supporters and
members", complains Niko, a socialist, while Bujar from the
democrats expresses a totally opposite opinion: "the voting
started on time, in accordance with the law, and until now we
received no discontent from the electoral units. Voting is
proceeding regularly, peacefully and honestly". However, the
vice-president of the Human Rights Party - Gjergji Leka "denies"
the above: "irregularities started at the very beginning. I am
very concerned, among others, also because of a rather
prejudicial fact: the commission chairman and the vice-chairman
have, during the voting, come several times to the seat of the
Democratic Party. This illustrates their one-sidedness towards
the elections: this should be taken seriously, because they are
the one to exercise justice over the elections" - says Gjergji,
explaining that he himself has seen this, since democrats are, a
sort to say, neighbors.

The most wanted person in Korça during these two days remains the
prefect of Korça, Pjerin Kiri: "the claims coming from the
opposition due to 'the manipulations with the elections' are
untrue, they are used to create an image of irregular elections",
he assures me. In the meantime, while at the dinner, the
opposition announced their clarion call: the opposition withdraws
from the elections!

Late at night, the taxi driver that drove me to the border-cross

of Tushemishti, said: "We are a nation of distinctive history.
During his time, Scanderbeg built churches, Hoxha built bunkers,
and you could see what Berisha does..." He said to be one of the

- 14 -



by ASTRIT SALIHU / Prishtina

Elections in Albania concluded with results that were contested

not only by country's political opposition - they started a
hunger strike - but it seems that in fact, voting signifies
merely the beginning of a new crisis with an ending that is quite
difficult to predict. The comment of the electoral results could
be reduced to a simple phrase: the Democratic Party won.

At least, such an inference should not be added any pathetic, one

could say. However, the reactions in Kosova were far from this.
Almost all of our party leaders, in their comments on the victory
of the Democratic Party expressed a unique sort of intemperate
happiness and apolitical affection. As for the Albanian media in
Kosova and in Albania, there is no need to allude to. Titles in
some of the local media express clearly that "All of us won with
them!", "The epochal victory of Albanians", "The destruction of
the Socialists", "Vote to Democracy of the New-Age Albania",
"Victory of Democracy in Albania - victory of all Albanians",
"There were defects, but they were democratic", etc.
Was it really Democracy that won in Albania, or it was the
Democratic Party only? This question should accentuate what is
often forgotten in our media. Perhaps it is not forgotten, what
itself appears exceedingly wicked, since thus we do not
contribute to democracy, only to the Democratic Party. Therefore,
the first thing to be clarified in Kosova was the differentiation
of two notions: Democracy and Democratic Party. This never
happened, and this is the reason of the uniform mood of the
public throughout Kosova.

However, this should have been done, if not by the public

opinion, then by the Kosova political party leaders, who in their
reactions mystify further the very answer to the question: what
does democracy represent for Albanians, in fact? Is it the
Democratic Party or the established system in the aftermath of
Communism - under which Albanians should be able to elect their
government for the next four years to come?

In one of his statements, one of the political leaders in Kosova

notices: "the victory of the Democratic Party is the victory of
all Albanians, particularly Kosova Albanians" (Mark Krasniqi);
another leader states that "the victory of Democratic Party is a

- 15 -
victory for the Albanian nation in general, and for Kosovans in
particular..." (Gjergj Dedaj), not to mention the following
sentence of this statement remarking that "this was a serious
blow to the 'Red Front' in Albania, but also to the ex-Communists
in Kosova". The last paragraph of this statement asserts a
terrifying truth that follows the national joy: on the same day
of its publication, there will be people beaten at Tirana's
"Skënderbej" square. Blows were given to those belonging to the
"Red Front". However, the mentioned event reveals how can all
these statements on all-Albanian happiness and the all-Albanian
victory be swept with rubber batons.

If there were some 2 million and 200 thousand Albanians

participating in the elections, according to the official data,
and if the number of those who voted for Socialists is estimated
to have been approximately 35 per cent, then, through a rather
modest statistics it could be implied that some 600.000 of people
lost the elections. Therefore, it is difficult to speak of the
all-Albanian victory. Particularly, having in mind the behavior
of the regime towards those who have lost. Therefore, any
statement regarding our collective victory is an extreme
demagogy. Analogous to the statement that it was democracy that
won through the victory of Democratic Party, which itself is an
intentional mystification of elementary concepts of democracy,
identifying it with merely with a party called "democratic".

There is another provocative question to ask in this: what would

our politicians state if the Socialist Party would have won?
According to the pathetic and emotional apolitical statements of
our party-leaders, there is another political element to extract.
Silence! Particularly, the silence that followed the aftermath of
the elections, following the harsh intervention of the Albanian
police forces towards a group of Albanian voters, dissatisfied
with the voting procedure. So far, there was no rejection of such
an act of the Albanian regime, from our political parties, except
perhaps the one, rather delayed, of the Parliamentary Party of
Kosova. The silence and the silent approval of the violence
exercised in the center of Tirana, implies in a certain way the
identification of Kosova's politicians with the subject whose
victory is being celebrated and greeted. These statements lacked
only to greet the battering of the people, so they could join
completely "the collective happiness" of the victory of the
Democratic Party.

- 16 -


by BATON HAXHIU / Prishtina

It is difficult these days to pluck a single word from the

jurists and constitutional experts in regard to the decision of
the President of the Republic regarding the mandate of the MP's
to the Kosova Parliament.

One of the professors of Constitutional Law, co-author of the

constitutional amendments, refused to comment the decision made
by president Rugova. The only reason was that this decision is a
flagrant violation of the Constitution and the law and it was a
gentlemen agreement between the compilers of this decision and
the staff of professors not to comment anything on this matter.
Even though, claims the professor, he warned the author of the
decision on this severe constitutional abuse. And the silence, in
the situation we are in now, has become the best means to cover
the abuse of the constitution and the law.

The fact that the mandate of MP's failed to be verified, the

president's demand for the adoption of such a decision,
illustrates once more that decisions that do not coincide with
the Constitution of the Republic are often adopted in Kosova. The
constitutionality and legality of decisions should be evaluated
by the Constitutional Court, another of the bodies that have not
been constituted - and a body that does not exist. So, the
president of Kosova can approve tens and hundreds of decisions,
not bothering to give account to anyone.

In the ascertainment that regards the recent decision of the

president (his first and only, so far) as "abuse of
constitutionality", president Rugova replies: "We apply a soft
rule so we have no need to ask for responsibility from each
other... Moreover, it is because of this soft rule, we that we
adopted only a decision and not a decree".

So, in the name of this "soft rule", one can compile and approve
decisions by removing everyone around, including the national
will expressed through the 1991 referendum and the parliamentary
elections held of 1992.

The compiler of this decision, Secretary General of the LDK,

Fatmir Sejdiu, refused to state anything in this regard, however,
in an interview given to the LDK weekly "ORA", he adds: "this
decision is a result of the agreement of the political parties
that are represented in the Parliament of the Republic of Kosova
and their groups, that have evaluated that in this very moment

- 17 -
such a decision is necessary, because of the absence of
conditions for organizing the elections according to the needed

Only one day later, in a communique, the Parliamentarian Party

stated: "The leadership of the party informs the public opinion
and its electorate of the '92 elections that, despite the immense
insisting, it failed to reach any agreement with the president of
the Republic and a part of the political parties that participate
in the parliament. It disapproves the extension of the mandate of
the MPs."

Another communique was issued by the Social-Democratic Party that

regarded the mentioned conditions, states: "We consider that the
immediate constitution of the Parliament of Kosova is a necessary
step for regaining the confidence of our voters in our honesty
and readiness to achieve the political will of the population,
expressed in the referendum on the independence of Kosova".
Naturally, the president's decision has juridical grounds, says
Sejdiu, however forgetting that, facing the present situation,
such a decision should be exercised through a decree. The other
preconditions are the proclamation of the state of emergency and
the verification of the mandate of the MPs.

The fact that 13 commissions were formed, based on the Rules of

Procedures of the Parliament (sic), continues Sejdiu, illustrates
that this is not a matter of juridical decisions approved without
any professional or constitutional criteria, however it makes no
sense. Because this juridical expert himself and LDK's juridical
staff have adopted the Rules on the Functioning of the
Commissions without verifying the mandate of the MPs or
constituting the Parliament, something quite self-explanatory.
Finally, due to this, the demand of a group of MPs for the
immediate constitution of the parliament as a precondition for
ensuring moral credit to proclaim the extension of the mandate of
this parliamentary constituency, is absolutely natural.

Otherwise, it is stated in the demand, the hesitation on the

immediate completion of the parliament, offer grounds for
suspicion over our political objectives and determination.



by YLBER HYSA / Prishtina

The ambitious promotions of what is been named the "Joint

- 18 -
Yugoslav Left", shortly - JUL, have already become a part of a
reality intensely followed by the Serbian statal media. JUL, in
its efforts to offer "modalities" other than those of the ruling
party, seems to have, through Mirjana Markovic and the present
chairman (former play-writer and director) Ljubomir Ristic,
managed to convince various people from the rows of leftists,
former Communists, present managers of huge state-run enterprises
and some public celebrities to sign up - in its efforts to
integrate as much as possible within the cells of a despaired
society facing the hopeless present that either recalls some sort
of security and welfare of the Yugoslav past, either trying to
escape from this reality and taking advantage of the situation.
Extra-nationality promoted by this party, was the element on
which JUL counted while expanding in Vojvodina, and recently,
with an unpredictable success even in Sandzak (there are rumors
that it damaged the SDA itself!).

Anyway, JUL remains something quite undefined. It is been

supervised by the wife of the Serbian president Milosevic who
leads the Socialist Party, while its chairman is a quite known
play-writer. It is been presented as a left wing party, but, as
analyzed by one of the former ideologues of the Socialist Party
of Serbia, Mihajlo Markovic, (removed from the SPS presidency
after the public confrontations with Mira Markovic) - "according
to some ideas, they are leftists, while according to the
leadership numbering a certain group of capitalists, they appear
a social-democratic stream that barely regulates capitalism. This
means that they represent a left-liberal capitalism!"

However, so far, JUL has been an extra-parliamentarian party (and

certainly a regulator of the relations between the SPS itself and
other parties within a potential governmental coalition), which
should consider the forthcoming elections.

According to the outcome of the meeting of the leadership of this

party with that of the SPS, the joint electoral strategy appears
as something rather expectable. While taking into account that
the new reconstructed government is already nick-named "JULIANA",
then a lot of other things become clear.

This is how one should view the penetrative efforts of JUL in

Kosova, although the present moment fashions the issue as multi-
dimensional. It seems as if Kosova were not important only
because of its unsolved problem that continues to burden the
post-Dayton Serbia.

It is no longer a secret that JUL is interested to penetrate in

Kosova, considering its efforts to explore and find members and
possibilities to launch itself as an organized party-structure in
Kosova. Also, it is no longer a secret that, differing from

- 19 -
Vojvodina and Sandzak, where JUL achieved a considerable success,
it is hard to expect the same in Kosova. And this needn't further

Maybe knowing all this, JUL (that is not looked at with sympathy
from certain Serb political functionaries in Kosova) found itself
in a dilemma, by failing to ensure symbolical members (from both
Albanian and Serbian sides), except those coming from the lowest
levels of former Communist bureaucracy in Kosova, or some of the
few employed in the present Serbian bureaucracy in Kosova: people
as Istref Kelmendi, Selim Goxhufi, Murat Ajvazi, Shaqir Uka and
company, who are said to belong to JUL - are unable to gather
even their fellow-villagers, not to mention some serious
political force. The same could be said about some of the former
Serb cadres, as for the Kosova JUL leader himself, former
administrator of the "Kosova district" Milos Simovic, or its
present leader Nikola Sojevic who enjoys no respect even amongst
local fellow-Serbs, and who is, according to some information,
involved in confrontations of Kosova JUL regarding the newest
affair on seizing the building of the Municipal Archive in
Prishtina, foreseen as the future seat of JUL.

Conscious of the situation, Kosova was recently visited by the

vice-chairmen of JUL - Vladimir Stambuk and Bozidar
Milosavljevic, who concentrated on talks regarding the structural
expansion of JUL with new members and cadres. According to some
information, talks were mainly conducted with certain former
politicians and cadres, presently economists and bankers, and
with some public celebrities. Is it true that you are willing to
join the JUL, was the question put to one of the accented cadres,
Gani Jashari whom we met at the office of "Extra-Dragusha", a
private enterprise and his present working place. Jashari
explains that he had talks with the JUL leadership and that he
expressed his views on the situation in Kosova, adding that
without the solution of the status of Kosova, there can be no
talks on the JUL settling in this area.

"I do not consider active involvement in politics", emphasizes

Jashari, adding that he works as a university professor.
Remzi Kolgeci, manager of the "Montenegro Banka" - filial in
Prishtina, explains that he was visited by a business partner who
used the meeting in order to discuss the issue of JUL, and states
that he does not yet consider his involvement in politics. As for
his potential membership in JUL, Kolgeci states that "this would
be an absurdity", moreover, "that would be no honor to me!".

Muharrem Ismajli is also among the mentioned bankers mentioned as

contacted by JUL. He points that two years ago he was offered the
post of the manager of cement-factory "Sharri" in Han i Elezit,
following administrator Sosevic's speech that Albanians are not

- 20 -
obstructed to some back to the social and economic life. Despite
the clear offer, confesses Ismajli, this never happened. I wanted
to take over the responsibility of a factory whose value was
estimated by Belgrade at USD 250 million, and in which, at that
time employed only 100 Serbs left, 60 of them being managers. It
used to have 2,700 workers. I wanted to talk with Avramovic,
while in Kosova, solely to reveal him the fact that he didn't
know that United Bank of Kosova was undergoing the bankruptcy
procedure, a fact concealed to him.

However, I am ready to take over the management of "Sharri" and

for this I have clear motives - claims our interlocutor.

As we are told, last week, a group consisted of 20 Albanians

visited the seat of JUL in Belgrade, and met with the high
officials of this party. Among those who in one way or another
had contacts with the "United Yugoslav Left" are some former
sportsmen and public celebrities, businessmen and artists (the
latter are to be related to the profession of JUL's chairman).
Something is certain: JUL is serious in its efforts to get
involved in Kosova. And, it seems that after these tangible
contacts, the leaders of this party have understood that they
should step out with a concrete program and platform for Kosova,
and that is illusory to coopt Albanians in any political party in
Kosova. However, according to some information, it is believed
that JUL is preparing a project-design for Kosova (that despite
recent rumors, does not include Kosova as a "special unit within
the FRY"). The program for Kosova compiled in October 1995,
states the situation in Kosova as the double "isolation"
profitable "for national elites in both sides", having Albanians
banned from schools and jobs, and "local Serb authorities" that
have failed. Further there is a proposal to initiate measures for
the return of a sort of normal life, where JUL sees itself as a
specific promoter of "normalization". Besides the advice
regarding the opening of the office, that seems will be
established soon, very often contacts and promotions - (tagged:
"in the field") of JUL in Kosova are also foreseen. There are
plans to translate the book by Mira Markovic, "Night and Day",
and a sort of the public penetration with concrete offers that,
nevertheless, fail to affect the issue of solving the Kosova
problem, its status.

Its vice-chairman, Vladimir Stambuk stated for "KOHA" that within

its program JUL does not foresee confrontations with any party,
not even with the LDK. We consider that Kosova underwent huge
changes and that the life is no longer parallel, as it was few
years ago. We plan to have even more contacts in Kosova, notices
Stambuk, even with individuals members of the biggest party in
Kosova, but not as party representatives.

- 21 -
The other vice-chairman of JUL, dealing with organization issues
of the party - Bozidar Milosavljevic, believes that the present
program of JUL for Kosova will be completed with separate, but
not "separatistic" programs! What can be perceived from the text
is that there are ongoing preparations in regard to the
educational process in school buildings for Albanians, and this
is expected to happen the very next school year. Such a step,
that can take place with no significant noise, and that can be
announced in autumn, should undoubtedly be perceived as one of
the offers of the pre-electoral program of this party for Kosova!
The fact that this party has already undergone the deep stage of
preparations for becoming a parliamentary one, is confirmed with
the participation its people in the reconstructed government.
In fact, the motive of JUL's program, aiming at "melting" the
tense situation in Kosova is worth being analyzed. Although
disregarded by the Kosova Albanians, it is surely brave for a
party from Belgrade. But, what could be the outcome of all this?
If this means a simple pre-electoral promotional trick, then
everything is clear. There is a need for new staff in Kosova, in
fact, for new MPs from Kosova in the Serbian Parliament. Also,
there is a need to divide the Albanian political corpus.

Moreover, considering that SPS has it completely clear that it

has failed in taking in Albanians as members. If the intension is
to face the solution of Kosova's problem while expecting delicate
elections expected in Serbia, then logic would assert that it is
always more suitable if a less-important and unburdened subject,
than the ruling party itself, takes over the responsibility. And,
if possible, it would surely be more convenient for Belgrade to
solve the problem with no turmoil and the noise over "the Serb-
Albanian dialogue with the presence of a third party".

This is where JUL appears, ready to reproach firstly the Serb

cadres in Kosova, by stating that they will not be asked about
anything (and this is why the recent demands of Kosova Serbs led
by Momcilo Trajkovic to talk with Milosevic in Kosova, and their
fears about the fate of the University, particularly after JUL's
criticism addressed against Rector Papovic, become
understandable!). After this, the orientation of the party would
be clearing off the road towards the "integration" of Albanians
into the "normal life" and the "political institutions", avoiding
any political dialogue.

"The issue of normal classes in school is not a matter of LDK,

but of the children' parents" - states JUL! It seems that there
will be no holiday this summer for a party able of fulfilling the
ambitions of many ambitious individuals, but also of those having
evident problems (education, employment, security, etc.)
If this hot summer is to be followed by the pre-electoral autumn,
then September could possibly reveal a new situation in the

- 22 -
Albanian political corpus. Because, Albanians are people with
real problems. Who will be the first one to perceive this, JUL or
Albanian political representatives, this remains to be seen...



by YLBER HYSA / Belgrade

Years have passed since the formulation of the "EuroSlavia"

project, which is nowadays entering the second stage of its
presentation and the search of clients and interested people.
After a series of criticism from the northern republics of former
Yugoslavia, ignored by official Ljubljana and blasphemed by
Tudjman and a part of the Croat opposition as a "Troyan horse of
Yugoslavism" the compilers of this plan, staff of the geo-
political journal "Limes" continued lobbying for their idea that
found support in some Italian and French circles, as well as in
some Serb and Montenegrin, and, as it was put, in some circles of
Albania (in Durrës an ongoing engagement regarding this
initiative continues, and it was stated that even the prime
minister Meksi expressed his interest).

But, all this support or rejection is not something that could be

noticed at first sight. The debate that took place these days in
Belgrade, which was more of a manifestation, put forward also
some dilemmas and different approaches.

"EuroSlavia" - conceptualized as a regionalization project not

only regarding the space of the former Yugoslavia, but also a
wider part of the Balkans, including Albanians - is considered by
the project co-author Korinman as a necessity that revealed the
headache Europe will suffer, since the split of former Yugoslavia
is being reflected in the demands for independence in Corsica, or
the promotion of the idea of the Italian Lega Nord that insists
on division. Carciolo, the other author of the "EuroSlavia"
project, in his opening, grounded on the principle of "self-
interest" that rests in the elaboration of this project,
expressed that for many years the existence of Yugoslavia was an
optimal solution, but after its disappearance, the concept of
this newly proposed regionalization could be an adequate
substitution. No one is satisfied with what happened, it was
further stated. Serbia has not become Greater Serbia, as
pretended, nor are the Croats in the position to be proud of,
while Muslims are facing an extremely difficult situation. "More
walls, more wars", said Carciolo, and this leads the region
further away from Europe. Polemizing with the idea that former

- 23 -
Yugoslavia was an adequate geo-political solution, Predrag Simic
from the Institute for International Politics and Economics said
that Yugoslavia was in fact a western geopolitical concept,
established by the great powers after the Conference of Paris and
it was needed during the confrontations with the East. Europe
allowed the destruction of this state and nowadays the idea on
re-functionalization some regional community is here, in
Belgrade, sometimes accepted with "mixed and misty feelings".
In fact, despite the elaboration of the political, economic and
security objectives due to the regionalization, it was emphasized
at the very beginning that one of the key issues here is the
issue of Kosova, or the Albanian issue. This was stated by Ilija
Djukic, former Yugoslav foreign minister, who added that he does
not see any reason for Albanians to join a concept that is
labeled EuroSlavia. In accordance to the project proposed by Adem
Demaçi (Prishtina CDHRF), this should be called "Balkania". Also,
one of the co-organizers of the meeting in Belgrade, the chairman
of the "European Movement of Serbia", Dusan Janjic, accentuated
that the Albanian issue remains one of the key segments of this
problem and mentioned that this issue is comprehended by Europe
only as a problem of Kosova; the British consider this as an
"Albanian issue", while French liberals are set aside, waiting.
The question is whether the application of this project should
start from Serbia, but then a precondition for all this remains
the need of internal democratization that could be followed by

As for the Montenegrin opposition circles, the idea of

regionalization is highly supported, and there are initiatives
for the next meeting to be held in Cetinje. However, it was said
that official Macedonia does not realize itself as integrated in
Europe together with the others.

In fact, the principle "Either all or none in Europe" remains one

of the basic principles of the "EuroSlavia" project that thus
tends to prevent the entering of a part of the new states that
derived from this space, because of the "new appearance of the
old unsolved regional problems" on European tables. In fact, this
principle should be the initiative for the regional states to
join, as the only way of realizing their interest within the
integrative processes in Europe. But, it seems that such a
principle could be kept only through international pressure, what
implies the interest of great powers to support some sort of the
regionalization project. The authors of this project state that
they have "friends", a kind of European support. This should be
confirmed by the participation of the general Caligaris, the
Italian representative chairing the European Parliamentary Group
for Security, Defence and Foreign Policy.

However, this does not conclude the dilemma about the extent of

- 24 -
the support of this project by the subjects that are mainly
regarded inside "EuroSlavia" and the extent of its influence
among European circles. As for the first element, its internal
support and the existence of the will of the Balkan states and
political forces to accept this idea, it appears rather divided.
Some see this as a suitable possibility for economic and security
cooperation, some approach this with certain precaution, while
others perceive the project as a direct threat to the national
and statal interests.

In one of the last discussions, Veton Surroi from Prishtina

emphasized that project should firstly solve certain issues.
Instead of "EuroSlavia", name that does not correspond the
Albanian demands, the project should be renamed to "Illyria" that
itself includes the majority of announced territories. One of the
preconditions should imply the solution to the Kosova problem,
and finally - there is no necessary substance within the Serbian
side to join in Europe.

Some of the participants pointed that "EuroSlavia" could be

renamed, however this does not itself bring a solution to the
whole problem. In fact, the authors of the "EuroSlavia" project
didn't actually aim at the solution of the problem or its
recognition, stating only their optimism. The impression is that
they were more interested to promote the idea to the opinion.
Is "EuroSlavia" an essential geopolitical substitution after the
crisis in the Balkans, that could be equaly supported by the
great powers, or just a mere longing that rests on a "good will"
and the interesting idea - this remains to be seen in the future
meetings. Until then, the idea of Balkan regionalization will
continue its practice of lobbying and support.


LUIGI CALIGARIS, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs,Security and Defence Commission of

the European Parliament


Interviewed by YLBER HYSA / Belgrade

KOHA: In your introduction, you mentioned the fact that Italy had
no serious participation in the debate on the stability and
security of Yugoslavia?

CALIGARIS: I wanted to interpret what was formerly believed, that

Italy is not surrounded with enemies, which in itself was a
paradox. This was a perception that only Tito knew to utilize in

- 25 -
the best way possible. He excellently played various roles.
Sometimes, he was close to us, sometimes pretending to be our
enemy. I remember that in 1973 he almost declared war to Italy,
that was in fact a bluff. Nevertheless, we could not be sure of
the way Yugoslavia would react in case of a NATO aggression!
I agree with the opinion that some calculation should have
existed in keeping Yugoslavia out of the Warsaw Pact. But, this
was not the entire problem. In 1980, due to the emerged
situation, I was assigned from our ministry to investigate the
present situation in Yugoslavia, so I came for a two-days visit.
And, after the discussions with the Belgrade military officials,
many things improved considerably. But, this remains only one
side of the medallion. On the other, however, NATO could not
refer to Yugoslavia as of our potential aggressor - so, Italy was
practically left with no enemies! Thus, Italy was kept out of any
serious discussion on security as far as Yugoslavia was concerned
- a fact that sometimes suited our politicians claiming we did
not have problems, since we are being protected by NATO and we
are spending the minimum of the state budget. I believe this has
harmed the quality of the Italian political debate.

KOHA: NATO military bases were located in Northern Italy were

recently used for air strikes on the former Yugoslavia?

CALIGARIS: Yes, this was considered a debt that Italy had to pay
for its remaining within NATO, and it was rather artificial.
Among the big powers, France and Great Britain were there with a
huge number of troops deployed in the field. Germany was also
present, not to mention the Americans.

KOHA: Somehow, the dissolution of Yugoslavia coincided with the

proclamation of the unification of Europe. Is it possible for
Europe to aim at having a strong political community, dealing
with such regional crisis as the one in Yugoslavia, and having no
common European security and policy defence system?

CALIGARIS: Let us start with the second half of your question.

Europe has no unified security and defence policy, therefore the
defence is to be realized within NATO. However, foreign and
security policies must be a part of a mutual vision, otherwise
the different opinions on peaceful missions, the presence and
neutrality can be confusing. Europe has the need for a joint
approach to its foreign and security policy. This is sometimes
called the common identity - that itself doesn't mean anything.

KOHA: Does this imply something original, out of the classical

NATO? What will happen with the WEU?

CALIGARIS: The Western European Union (WEU) is not quite

developed, since it is the victim of these contradictions. We

- 26 -
have four types of statuses inside the WEU: full participants,
observers, etc. It is impossible, when facing the common issues
as integrity or interference, to order to have somebody else to
deal with it. We need a unified policy and a possibility to deal
with the so-called crisis management - the control of huge
crises, and also the undertaking of the medium-range operations.
If Europe were capable, Yugoslavia would have been and would be
its own problem!

KOHA: You mentioned that Yugoslavia should have been an European

problem, but it seems that there would hardly be a solution
without the involvement of the Americans?

CALIGARIS: Yes. This has shown that Europe does not really exists
in the aspect of common security and foreign policy! To put it
straight: if one deals with security issues, then he must send
someone out there. You cannot bluff here. There can be no
improvisations... I strongly advise Europe not to make such
errors in the future.

As for the dilemma of Europe without Balkans, I have to say that

there are various opinions regarding the size of Europe, on how
should it expand or integrate. There are different opinions over
the concepts "Europe a la Carte", "Different Speed Europe", etc.
I don't blame anyone for these approaches, because the problem is
really complex. But, it has to be said that even NATO was created
and maintained under the American leadership and it seems that it
would never exist without it. Today, we have the French proposal
on the organization of a kind of European Security Council led by
five strongest countries: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy
and Spain...

KOHA: Is this proposal serious?

CALIGARIS: I don't know yet. I am leaving for Paris in a few

days. There are indications that this idea is not very popular.
But, you know how they say: if you are after something big
because of the popularity, then don't go for it!

KOHA: Your opinion on the expansion of NATO?

CALIGARIS: I think that NATO should remain the way it is, and
that it cannot be substituted. Of course, it is far from being
perfect, but it is surely the best in the world. NATO also has
the need for rationalization, for opening of such a process, for
certain reductions... Nevertheless, NATO is irreplaceable.

KOHA: We have seen NATO in action during war in Bosnia. Could

this structure play another role, a preventive one, in the
southern parts of former Yugoslavia. I mean Kosova here, as

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well... Is NATO able to have such a role?

CALIGARIS: The preventive policy is surely the most complicated

one, because sometimes any intervention can expand the conflict
and simultaneously a political consensus that is needed for
deploying the troops in the region must be reached. Prevention
implies engagement before something takes place. This implies the
acceptance of the consensus by the nations in conflict. But, even
then, why and how should be known, because intervention could be
a venture that can last forever, thus the political aims of the
action should also be taken into account. To prevent something is
not itself enough, unless you have clear ideas over what you want
to achieve. It seems to me that NATO and Europe should be able
to, through political courage, realize the level of risk they
want to have.

Macedonia seems as a success of a political prevention.

Meanwhile, I see Kosova as a far more complicated case. Will

Serbs accept a preventive NATO action in Kosova? Preventive, but
on behalf of what body, institution? Surely within the UN, since
the political cover should be offered by somebody else.

Therefore, NATO itself can hardly conduct such an action.

Political justification is necessary. And, that political
justification should be supported with the clear political aim.
If you achieve these, then you can count on a preventive action
of the NATO!

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