Thursday, November 27, 2003

Everything By the Script

First few days after the elections, Croatian media was flooded with rumours, innuendos and contradictory statements.

Vesna Pusić (Vesna Pusic) first slammed SDP for "throwing the towel" and not trying to keep "left centre" coalition together with HSS, Pensioners and etnnic minority MSes. Only few days later Radimir Čačić (Radimir Cacic) allowed possibility of HNS and HDZ being in coalition "if anything else fails" (and prompted HNS spokespeople to use all their creativity to exlplain it).

According to many of those rumours, Sanader didn't have easy task in creating coalition. First, he received a call from Doris Pack, chief Tudjman's lobbyist in European Parliament. According to rumours (vehemently denied by HDZ), the word was: "If you form government with HSP, you can forget about any European integration". That limited Sanader's option towards very predictable HDZ + HSS + HSLS + DC combination which could be sold to the West as "moderate" centre-right government.

According to rumours, Sanader is going to pay hefty price in order to make that happen. First, HSS leadership was in turmoil after elections – many bosses expressed their distaste for coalition with HDZ and many blamed policy of going alone for bad elections results. A day later, a new rumour emerged, branding HSS and HSP together – rural populists and far right is going to act as new block, trying to get as much concessions from Sanader as possible. Even some of the more reliable allies of Sanader were not as reliable as believed, at least according to rumours – HSLS with its two MSes had expressed desire to remain in opposition, while DC, with a single (and barely) won seat required two ministerial posts.

But all those rumours came to nothing, at least for now. Sanader and Zlatko Tomčić (Zlatko Tomcic) met today, spent hour and half talking and agreed to form "expert teams" with the sole purpose of establishing whether their parties' economic platforms are compatible or not. In other words, those two parties are now discussing technicalities. HSLS and DC dispelled all rumours and pledged allegiance to HDZ. Sanader today received endorsements from two ethnic minorities MSes and pensioners from HSU party.

The only problem for Sanader represents SDSS. Milorad Pupovac denied rumours that Serb party would support Sanader in exchange for ministerial post.

So, everything is going smoothly, as by previously written script – "reformed" HDZ makes broad centre-right coalition and establishes its "reformed" credentials by having public support from ethnic minorities and ditching far right.


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