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Key Economic Data 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
Millions of US $ 28,322 22,421 20,300 61
GNI per capita
 US $ 5,350 4,640 4,550 70
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Croatia

Update No: 125 - (26/10/07)

Looming elections
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 of Neum.

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 80s"

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 financial crisis.

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 crisis.

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 Meic.

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 the way.

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 president said. 

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.

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