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Cablegate: New Parliament Convenes, New Government Tomorrow

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #0018 0111501
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111501Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8468
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000018

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

FOR EUR/SCE, EUR/PPD AND EUR/RPM
OSD FOR WINTERNITZ, NSC FOR BRAUN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: NEW PARLIAMENT CONVENES, NEW GOVERNMENT TOMORROW

1. SUMMARY: The newly-elected Croatian parliament (Sabor)
convened on January 11, selecting Croatian Democratic Union
(HDZ) representative Luka Bebic as their new Speaker. Bebic,
formerly the Sabor,s principal vice president, replaces his
close associate and fellow HDZ-er Vladimir Seks, who will
serve as a vice president and chair the important Committee
on Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System. In
its first meeting, the Sabor also selected three vice
presidents from the ranks of parliamentary majority. In
addition to Seks, HDZ Secretary General Ivan Jarnjak and
Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Josip Friscic are new
deputy speakers. No vice presidents have yet been selected
from the opposition, as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and
the Croatian People,s Party (HNS) couldn,t agree on the two
remaining candidates. The issue is expected to be resolved at
the next session scheduled to take place on January 12, when
the new cabinet is scheduled to seek a vote of confidence. On
its first day, the new Sabor has also selected the membership
of four committees needed to change legislation governing the
organization of ministries. END SUMMARY.

SPEAKER BEBIC FROM RANKS OF HDZ FOUNDERS
----------------------------------------

2. Luka Bebic was one of the founding members of the HDZ in
1989. An agronomist by profession, he has been elected to the
Sabor since the first multiparty elections in 1990. In 1991
he briefly served as Minister of Defense, and then chaired
the Internal Affairs and National Security Committee from
1992 to 1996. In 1996 he served as the Director of the
National Security Bureau, and the next two years as
then-President Tudjman,s advisor on national security. In
2003, he reemerged as a prominent HDZ member with his
selection as principal deputy speaker. Much like his
predecessor Seks, Bebic is one of the few original HDZ
members who managed to retain his place in the party
leadership through its reform to a modern conservative
European party. Bebic was born in 1937 near the southern
town of Metkovic. He is married with two adult children.

GOVERNMENT CONFIDENCE VOTE ON JANUARY 12
----------------------------------------

3. The Sabor is scheduled to hold its next session on
Saturday to vote on a new government. On January 11, PM
Sanader confirmed the following as the other 17 members of
the cabinet he will present:

- Jadranka Kosor (HDZ), Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Family and Veterans, Affairs
- Damir Polancec (HDZ), Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Economy
- Djurdja Adlesic* (Croatian Social Liberal Party-HSLS),
Deputy Prime Minister responsible for internal affairs
- Slobodan Uzelac* (Independent Democratic Serbian
Party-SDSS), Deputy Prime Minister responsible for external
affairs
- Gordan Jandrokovic* (HDZ), Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Branko Vukelic** (HDZ), Minister of Defense
- Berislav Roncevic** (HDZ), Minister of Interior
- Ivan Suker (HDZ), Minister of Finance
- Bozidar Kalmeta (HDZ), Minister of Transport and
Infrastructure
- Darko Milinovic* (HDZ), Minister of Health
- Ana Lovrin (HDZ), Minister of Justice
- Bozidar Pankretic* (HSS), Minister of Agriculture
- Damir Bajs* (HSS), Minister of Tourism
- Marina Matulovic-Dropulic (HDZ), Minister of
Environment and Urban Planning
- Bozo Biskupic (HDZ), Ministry of Culture
- Petar Cobankovic** (HDZ), Minister of Regional
Development, Water Management and Forestry
- Dragan Primorac (HDZ), Minister of Education and
Science.

* - new ministers
** - ministers returning but to different portfolios

4. The HDZ,s negotiations with coalition partners in the
HSS, HSLS and minority parties resulted in a cabinet that
represents relatively little change from the previous
government, with only six new faces, three old ministers with
new portfolios, and two new ministries: Tourism (separated
from Kalmeta,s previous Ministry of Sea, Tourism, Traffic
and Transport) and Regional Development, Water Management and
Forestry. Biographies of ministers to follow septel after
government is approved.
BRADTKE

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