- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2007


Nationalist resigns in face of opposition

BELGRADE — Hard-line parliament speaker Tomislav Nikolic resigned yesterday after two days of debate, chiding the country’s two main parties for buckling to Western pressure and ganging up on him as part of their coalition deal.

Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, a moderate nationalist, and pro-Western President Boris Tadic agreed to a coalition on Friday after 16 weeks of on-off talks, to the relief of Western governments that had feared a nationalist resurgence.

Under the coalition deal, the two main parties had agreed to unseat Mr. Nikolic, whose election was seen by some to signal a return to the dark days of the late autocrat Slobodan Milosevic.


Cease-fire declared after day of violence

GAZA CITY — Rival factions agreed to a cease-fire last night after four Palestinians were killed and a Hamas official was abducted from his home in the deadliest outbreak of factional fighting in the coastal strip in months.

Gunmen killed a senior commander of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and another member of the Fatah-linked militant group in an attack it blamed on the rival Hamas movement.

Abu Qusai, spokesman of Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said the Brigades held Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and its executive force responsible. The Qassam Brigades denied being behind the attack.


Women will feature in Sarkozy Cabinet

PARIS — President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy spent the weekend in a royal hunting lodge, putting together a broad-based government team that will underscore his determination to reform the state.

Looking to cut public-sector spending, Mr. Sarkozy has said he will appoint 15 ministers, half the present number, and in another departure promises that at least seven will be women.

Mr. Sarkozy, who takes office on Wednesday following his comprehensive election victory on May 6, also wants to offer posts to opposition leftists to show his willingness to draw on the best talent available.


Top China negotiator tapped to be premier

TAIPEI — The chief of a semi-official organization in charge of negotiations with China will serve as the next prime minister, a government source said yesterday.

Chang Chun-hsiung, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation and a former prime minister, will replace Su Tseng-chang, who announced on Saturday he would step down.

No one else wants to be prime minister for only one year, the source said. President Chen Shui-bian must step down because of term limits in May 2008.

Mr. Su is the fifth prime minister to resign during Mr. Chen’s seven-year tenure.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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