Monday, September 20, 2004

Hebrang Is Running?

In one of my previous blog posts, I noted that the next presidential race would match 2000 contest in unpredictability and uncertainty, although the winner is more or less certain.

Intense speculations about Sanader's decision whether to field HDZ candidate and have him (or her) trashed by Stjepan Mesić (Stjepan Mesic) were fuelled by HDZ-sponsored opinion poll which was supposed to be conducted these days.

There were also intense speculations about Andrija Hebrang, deputy minister and one of the most unpopular politicians in Croatia, aggressively volunteering for the job. There were also unconfirmed reports about Hebrang's letter to Sanader and claims about opinion polls being "rigged" against former Tudjman's physician and unofficial champion of the hard-line Tudjmanists within HDZ.

The results of poll conducted by Gfk agency were leaked to Croatian media. Apparently, Hebrang was right to a certain degree. Of all HDZ politicians, Sanader has the best chance of competing with Mesić, but the prime minister is unlikely to risk his reputation of winner for the sake of mainly ceremonial presidential post. But Hebrang won the second place, beating Sanader's favourite and close ally Kosor.

Hebrang's good results could be explained with the great deal of respect and popularity he enjoys among rank-and-file members of HDZ and traditional voters of Tudjman's party.

Some other names have been floated as possible last-ditch replacements for Kosor.


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