Vol. 1, No. 38, 26 May1997
HUNGARIAN JUNIOR COALITION PARTNER ELECTS NEW LEADER. Internal Affairs
Minister Gabor Kuncze on 24 May was overwhelmingly elected leader of the
Alliance of Free Democrats, Hungarian media report. Kuncze, who had been the
party's acting chairman since Ivan Petoe's resignation in April, said he wants
"to breathe fresh life into the party." He acknowledged that joining the
Socialist-led ruling coalition after the 1994 elections has diminished the
Free Democrats' popularity. Kuncze's mandate will expire in fall 1998.
HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT IN ROMANIA. At the beginning of his three-day official
visit to Romania, Arpad Goencz met with President Emil Constantinescu, Premier
Victor Ciorbea, and former President Ion Iliescu, who is also leader of the
main opposition party. Goencz said Budapest will do "everything it can" for
Romania's integration into NATO in the "first wave" and into the EU.
Constantinescu said relations between the two countries have become "a model"
for others, which would have been "inconceivable" just a few years ago,
RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. He added that he has received Vienna's
agreement to a Romanian proposal to establish a "trilateral" group aimed at
improving security in central Europe and comprising Romania, Hungary, and
Austria. He is to discuss the proposal with Goencz.
DEMONSTRATION AGAINST GOENCZ'S PLANNED VISIT TO CLUJ. Defying the local
prefect's order forbidding demonstrations against Goencz's visit to Cluj on 26
May, two organizations that call themselves "cultural" organized such a
meeting the previous day. Nationalist mayor Gheorghe Funar and Vasile Matei, a
deputy representing Funar's Party of Romanian National Unity, addressed the
meeting, Romanian TV reported. On 25 May, U.S. congressman Tom Lantos, on a
visit to Romania, handed Constantinescu and Goencz a letter from President
Bill Clinton, praising Goencz "historic visit" to Romania. Meanwhile, the
Romanian government announced that amendments to the Local Administration Law,
which are about to be submitted to the parliament, allow for national
minorities to use their mother tongue in dealings with local government
authorities in areas where they make up more than 20% of the population.
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