Books on Croatia
Update No: 125 - (26/10/07)
Croatia is facing parliamentary elections on November 25. Naturally this is the
focus of national attention.
The opposition Social Democratic Union (SDP) would seem to be in a good
position, as the ruling conservatives under Premier Ivo Sanader are none too
popular. No government in a transition economy ever is.
The leader of the strongest opposition party, SDP, Zoran Milanovic, rejected
every possibility of a coalition with HSP (Croatian Party of Rights), as well as
the possibility of creating a great post-election coalition with the ruling HDZ
(Croatian Democratic Union).
There will be nothing of the coalition - is the message that Zoran Milanovic
sent at the presentation of SDP's industrial politics on Mt Sljeme in Zagreb.
"The construction of the Peljesac bridge is charlatanesque"
The press asked Milanovic how a former agent of POA (counter intelligence
agency) and "Turek's spy", Juraj Bahnik, could end up on the electoral
list for the Czech and Slovak minority. Milanovic readily answered that the
Croatian intelligence services are not the Gestapo.
However, he admitted that there were some things that needed to be clarified,
and some violations of standards.
The reason the candidate withdrew, Milanovic explained as being in the fact that
SDP wants to remove any doubt that he participated in such actions, and does not
want to defame him in the process.
Talking about the Peljesac bridge, Milanovic said that nothing can be done a
month before the elections, and evaluated those moves as those made by
charlatans, and an attempt of getting around the Croatians that live in the area
He added that the highway through Neum is a priority and the only way of
connecting the south of Croatia with the rest of the national territory.
"Croatia is in the position of some of the Asian countries during the
We do not know how many times they have opened construction on this bridge
before - said Antunovic, and stressed that HDZ had done a great big zero in
solving the problems of the disconnected south of Croatia.
- SDP is for the solution of the problems of that region, and wants to do it in
the simplest and cheapest way. If it is proven to be a bridge, then we will
build it - said Antunovic.
SDP's candidate for premier, Ljubo Jurcic, commented on the evaluations of the
IMF (International Monetary Fund) that Croatia is being threatened by a
Juric compared the situation that Croatia is in, to the situation of some Asian
countries during the 80s.
He evaluated that the rise in property prices will slow, which will lead to a
slowdown in investments, and then, he considers, Croatia could find itself in a
The SDP still squabbling
The Zagreb branch of the SDP, its strongest one, is not convinced of a Milanovic
win, referring to their leader. Zagreb SDP members believe Jurcic and Milanovic
are not up for the challenge against HDZ and Sanader.
It did not take long for the most powerful organisation in Croatia's SDP - the
Zagreb branch to strike back against a recent ruling. According to them, they
are most damaged by 'the ration' when it comes to candidacy lists.
Out of all the people proposed to the party`s Main Committee by the Zagreb SDP
branch, mostly younger SDP members pass: Dan Spicer, Iva Prpic, Mirela Holy,
Davor Bernardic, Tomislav Saucha, Marija Lugaric, Daniel Mondekar and Jurica
However, closest associates of Zagreb Mayor and SDP member Milan Bandic are not
there, like Slobodan Ljubicic (holding board of directors, president), Slavko
Kojic (city government finances head), Dusko Ljustina (city government culture
head) etc. Probably, this is why Bandic was quiet at the Main Committee sitting,
held on October 22, but his closest associates had a lot to say.
"We did not do any better at last elections"
-The fact is that neither did we not make a great effort to show great interest
for the structure of candidacy lists - one of the Zagreb SDP members told us.
He pointed out that the Zagreb branch did not do any better at the last
parliamentary elections, but this does not mean that they were not hoping for
better positions this time.
-It seems to me that according to the lists structure, party president Zoran
Milanovic is paying back certain people because they supported him at inner
party elections - one of Zagreb SDP heads continued, adding that some do not
deserve to be on the lists.
The youngest on the list born in 1981
According to the lists, SDP has arranged the generation structure well. Among
140 candidates on 14 lists, 31 percent goes to women, 26 percent was born after
1971 and the youngest is Domagoj Hajdukovic (1981), who is in the 4th
constituency. The oldest is Marijan Krobot (1941), former Ludbreg mayor. Among
other things, 79 percent of the candidates have university degrees, while the
remaining 21 percent have secondary education.
Probably great political experience was the decisive factor with some, as well
as great business references. If this is not at stake, then perhaps Milanovic
gave them the opportunity to "gain experience on live meat" - our
interlocutor was ironic.
Regret for Arlovic
On the other hand, the only thing the Zagreb party heads regret, as well as
those from Ibler Square (party headquarters) is the departure of Mato Arlovic.
-This is a man who was an expert in "gymnastics" when it comes to
parliamentary documents and such a man is necessary in the Parliament - SDP
members believe. They described his as a hard-working man who had five
consecutive parliamentary mandates in the party.
However, he did not want to accept the sixth one because it was not the one
which was, as he put it, was promised to him by the late party president Ivica
Racan. Third place in the 4th constituency, which was offered to him, Arlovic
assessed as inappropriate because he does not want to diminish his dignity.
A seat on the UN Security Council
Croatia is craving international recognition. The greatest prize here would be
admission to the EU. But every scrap of respect is welcome as a step forwards on
It won a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for 2008-2009 during the
General Assembly vote in mid-October. The country's biggest rival for the
position, the Czech Republic, withdrew its candidacy in the second round,
allowing Croatia to easily win the two-thirds majority necessary.
Costa Rica, Libya, Vietnam and Burkina Faso also won non-permanent seats in the
Council. The 15-member body has only five permanent members and the two-year
term for the newly elected non-permanent members begins on January 1st.
"After the international recognition of the Republic of Croatia and ending
of the Homeland War, this is the biggest achievement since our
independence," Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said, returning from New York
after the October 16th vote.
President Stipe Mesic played a vital part in the lobbying process, renewing
Croatia's relations with African and Asian states and members of the non-aligned
movement, established with the former Yugoslavia. The election was an
"exceptional recognition of Croatia and its foreign policy", the
For the first time since independence, Croatia now has the opportunity to take
on a key role in global decision-making processes. For a country that not long
ago was struggling to emerge from isolation and war, the Security Council seat
is another welcome sign of the dramatic progress made in recent years.
As the celebrations died down, Croatian officials began planning their agenda in
New York. Some issues are of direct national concern -- for example, the UN war
crimes tribunal at The Hague will be a regular topic on the Security Council's
agenda for the next two years. An exit strategy for wrapping up the court's work
must be finalised.
Croatia is strongly against closing down the tribunal before the two top war
crime fugitives -- Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic -- are brought to justice.
"We shall seek justice for all the victims," Sanader said.
Meanwhile, he stressed that Croatia will not use its position to put pressure on
Slovenia over the two countries' rival territorial claims in the Adriatic. The
prime minister said the main mission of Council membership for Croatia will be
to promote political stability in Southeast Europe -- with a focus on Kosovo and
Bosnia and Herzegovina.