Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Heads Are Rolling?

Dubravko Radošević (Dubravko Radoševic), advisor to Croatian President, might be the first head to roll because of Sisak Ironworks privatisation scandal. Radošević claims that President Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) didn't know what he was signing, and that it was his fault. Radošević offers resignation.

Whether the resignation gets accepted or not, the damage is already done. Mesić has won election because he represented the anti-thesis of Tudjman. In at least one segment – privatisation sleaze – he took the example of his predecessor.

But, this is not the first time Mesić's name was associated with privatisation scandals. In 1993, while he was Speaker of Sabor and still among Tudjman's inner circle, his daughter's name was associated with the attempted privatisation of Našice (Nasice) cement factory. This affair was used as a weapon by his enemies within HDZ during the escalating factional struggle between moderates and hard-liners in 1993-94. Mesić took the side of moderates, and saw himself and fellow faction members being attacked as "crooks" and "techno-managers" by hard-liner media. The affair was quickly forgotten after Mesić lost the struggle in 1994, only to be used by HDZ, and later by HSLS, during 2000 presidential elections.

The history is repeating. Just like 1993, the most tenacious accusers of Mesić happen to be his former party comrades who had belonged to hard-line faction. Ivić Pašalić (Ivic Pasalic), Tudjman's former domestic advisor, has already announced impeachment initiative by his Hrvatski Blok party. It is too early to see whether HDZ, supposedly "reformed" version led by old hard-liners, would jump on this bandwagon. In any case, HDZ would prefer to see Mesić out before the next elections; even with Presidential powers being reduced by changes in Constitution, co-habitation might be real nightmare.


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