Granić (Granic) Won't Resign
Yesterday's edition of Glas Slavonije
, Osijek-based daily newspaper usually perceived as right-wing, speculated that Račan (Racan) might demand Goran Granić's (Goran Granic's) resignation. Novi List
, Rijeka-based daily at times unashamedly biased towards SDP, claims that this won't be the case.
Račan, when confronted by press about his deputy minister's anti-diplomatic outbursts, claimed that Granić in his own name only and that his statements are definitely not the official position. He also added that he understands Granić, because some of Western countries showed frustrating lack of understanding for Croatian positions in many important issues.
In other words, Račan is against Granić's resignation.
Which makes perfect sense. In a less than year before the next elections, public fallout with his most trusted member of cabinet would represent blunder of colossal proportions. Government parties have only recently began to regain ground lost to HDZ and seriously tilt balance in their favour.
Granić, because of his low-profile, is hardly the most popular of Račan's cabinet members. He isn't even the most efficient - this title goes to housing minister Radimir Čačić (Radimir Cacic) – but he is widely perceived as the warhorse of Račan's government. And, last but not least, he is brother of Mate Granić (Mate Granic), former foreign minister in Tudjman's government and leader of DC (Democratic Centre), small right-wing party of "moderate" Tudjmanists.
DC, which can't realistically expect to pass 5 % threshold necessary for Sabor representation, is widely expected to join grand "centre right" coalition dominated by HDZ. In order to improve its bargaining position during coalition talks, DC has begun discreetly floating names of prominent individuals that would bring their names to election tickets. Those names include war time prime minister Franjo Gregurić (Franjo Greguric) and Zdravko Tomac, estranged chief ideologist of SDP and leader of ultra-nationalist faction within Račan's party. But Goran Granić joining his brother's party would be prime catch. That would signal that the right wing opposition is shoe-in for next election, because Goran Granić always picked winning side during his career – Dražen Budiša's (Drazen Budisa's) nationalist faction while his HSLS party splintered in 1997 and Račan's SDP when Budiša confronted his coalition partner five years later.
And, of course, this statements could be part of pre-election propaganda. By becoming radical critic of certain Western governments, Granić would satisfy two different constituencies – left-wingers who had opposed war in Iraq (cited diplomats and embassies are from "New Europe") and right-wingers who accuse West from equating Croatian generals with war criminals and demanding their extradition to Hague tribunal.