Thursday, December 23, 2004

[ELECTION 2005] Creating Tensions

With nation more interested in reality shows than presidential elections, large sections of Croatian media establishment are in desperate need to make this presidential look either more interesting or less predictable.

The most interesting story related to the campaign is incident that again reminded Croatian public that their President is greatest jokester among politicians. It all started on Monday when Domagoj Margetić (Domagoj Margetic), editor of Novo Hrvatsko Slovo, right-wing magazine, came to police and reported himself abducted on Friday. According to Margetić, he was stopped by two men in Ford Escort who, using some kind of badges, instructed him to accompany them to a certain house in Karlovac. There he was interrogated about articles published in his paper, namely those criticising Mesić's testimony at Hague War Crimes Tribunal. Once his ordeal was over, Margetić said that the his abductors were working for Office of President.

When asked to comment on the case, Mesić said that, according to his information, Margetić had been abducted by a "group of homosexuals". "What they were doing to him during the weekend, nobody knows", he added. Later Mesić said that he was only joking. However, Iskorak, Croatian gay rights organisation, wasn't amused. They called this joke "homophobic" and asked for Mesić's apology.

Mesić probably won't apologise, because if there is a way for him to lose presidential elections, being regarded as homophobic is not one of them.

In the meantime, at least some of Croatian media are trying to artificially create some drama in this elections. Today's edition Globus weekly comments results of its poll with the title "Second Round After All". According to the poll, Mesić will win 45 %, Jadranka Kosor 17,5 %, Slaven Letica 6.4 %, Đurđa Adlešić (Djurdja Adlesic) 3.7 %, Boris Mikšić (Boris Miksic) 2.5 %, Miroslav "Ćiro" Blažević (Miroslav "Ciro" Blazevic) 2.2 %, Ljubo Ćesić-Rojs (Ljubo Cesic-Rojs) 2 %, Ivić Pašalić (Ivic Pasalic) 2 %, Anto Kovačević (Anto Kovacevic) 1.9 %, Doris Košta (Doris Kosta) 0.5 %, Tomislav Petrak 0.3 %, Mladen Kešer 0.2 %, Miroslav Rajh 0 %.

So, Mesić will have to go to second round… unless you do remember some math from grammar school. All aforementioned percentages leave 15.8 % that didn't go anywhere. Those 15.8 % are reserved for the potential voters unsure for whom they would vote. If somewhere around third of those voters switch to Mesić, he rises above 50 % and comfortably wins in the first round. But if Globus took this into account, there wouldn't be any spectacular headline.

On the other hand, spectacular headlines has been just provided by Kosor. In order to stir some interest in her well-paid but mostly passive and ineffective campaign, she suddenly accused Mesić of insulting her and said that she wouldn't have any debate with him unless he apologises. That was good move for Kosor. Mesić won't apologise and there won't be any debates. Therefore, there won't be any opportunity for TV viewers to watch Kosor fare just like Christians did when faced with lions in Roman arenas.


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