Monday, January 03, 2005

[ELECTION 2005] Call For Croatian Orange Revolution

It took few hours for independent candidate Boris Mikšić (Boris Miksic) to transform from this election's biggest winner into this election's biggest loser. For few hours people in Croatia believed in miracle – that the self-made millionaire from USA, untainted with Croatian politics will make a major upset and offer some kind of alternative to all-too-familiar faces of Mesić (Mesic) and Kosor.

But euphoria was replaced with heartbreak when the votes from Bosnia came with overwhelming 59.66 % for Kosor.

At first, it looked like Mikšić will concede defeat or, at least, sleep it over. There were speculations about his candidacy being a Trojan horse designed to steal votes for Mesić and force the second round. There was also speculations about Mikšić being a good boy and calling his supporters to turn to Kosor in second round.

But those speculations didn't take into account emotions and Mikšić's own ambitions. With next presidential elections five years away and next parliamentary elections three years away, Mikšić can run for office only on this year's local elections. City of Zagreb, where he scored very well, is the most logical choice. He can't compete for mayoral post directly, because Croatian laws put the election in the hands of local assemblies. If Mikšić wants to become a mayor he needs to organise his own party or at least a list of independent candidates with his name on the ticket.

And if Mikšić wants to be serious about local elections, he must show that he was serious about this one and that he represents some kind of clear alternative to Croatian political establishment.

So, in the morning Mikšić clearly stated that he won't concede his defeat. He went even further from merely filing a complaint to State Electoral Commission. Joined by Miroslav Rajh, one of third-tier candidates who adopted his cause, he called the election a "fraud" and stated that "Ukraine repeated itself in Croatia". He claims that the election result was the result of a deal between Mesić and Sanader. According to him, Mesić had "better chances with Kosor set against him".

The most important thing is Mikšić's call to his supporters to come on the streets of major Croatian towns this evening at 20:00 CET, protest the result and sign a petition demanding a re-vote.

Mikšić, therefore, chose to try or at least give impression of trying to repeat Ukraine scenario. However, his chances of staging Croatian Orange Revolution are very small.

First of all, Croatians traditionally don't have a custom of settling their political issues on the street.

Second, Mikšić, whose populist rhetoric often flirts with right-wing nationalism and Euroscepticism, is unlikely to get dozens of millions of EU and USA financial aid to Yuschenko's campaign and pro-Western NGOs. EU diplomats and bureaucrats are more pleased with the status quo embodied in cohabitation between Mesić and Sanader.

Finally, Mikšić is in, most likelihood wrong. Exit polls were correct when it came to Croatia proper, but GFK and PULS, agencies that had conducted them, now claim that they didn't cover polling stations outside Croatia, including Bosnia.

However, Mikšić, whether he is wrong or right, can do Croatian democracy a great service if he sticks by his word and continues fighting. And if his call to the streets is answered, this could benefit Croatian democracy. Croatian political establishment, when faced with visible and unavoidable expression of displeasure with status quo, will finally start to be more responsive towards the needs and interests of the electorate which had been fooled and ignored for so long.

In the meantime, two other candidates – Slaven Letica and Doris Košta (Doris Kosta) – also called for the vote to be declared invalid.


Post a Comment

<< Home