Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Norac Reactions

Iraq War seems to be the best possible news for Ivica Račan (Ivica Racan) and his embattled government. With eyes of Croatian public glued to the live reports from Baghdad and Iraqi desert, few people seem to care about another war that was somewhat closer to home, but more than a decade in the past. So, the reactions in Croatia, although mostly negative, aren't beyond verbal condemnation. The roadblock in the city of Sinj is removed, as well as the roadblock in Kaštela (Kastela), Split suburb. Some 50 demonstrators in the city of Split has blockaded traffic in one of town's main street for half an hour.

All this is in striking contrast to the protests that raged in many areas of Croatia more than two years, when the warrant for Norac's arrest and rumours of his extradition to Hague led to days of roadblocks, tens of thousands (in the case of Split hundreds of thousands) demonstrators, rumours about some police units disobeying governments and even rumours about popular revolt toppling Račan's government.

Reason why Croatians, even those who feel embittered over the verdict, won't go to the barricades is rather simple. In 2001 Račan's government seemed much stronger than today and the prospect of its removal with the conventional means – ballot boxes – was distant and uncertain. In 2003 Croatian right-wingers don't feel the need to rock the boat, since they are confident of electoral victory. Norac verdict is, therefore, going to be used only as a propaganda point during election campaign.


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