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Cablegate: Prime Minister Sanader Receives Mandate to Try And

VZCZCXRO3699
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVB #1082 3511500
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171500Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8426
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 001082

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV HR
SUBJECT: PRIME MINISTER SANADER RECEIVES MANDATE TO TRY AND
FOR NEXT GOVERNMENT; COALITION NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

REF: A. ZAGREB 1072

B. ZAGREB 1068
C. ZAGREB 1065

1. As forecast in REF A, on December 15 President Stipe Mesic
gave the mandate to Prime Minister Ivo Sanader to try and
form a new government led by Sanader's HDZ party, based on
the results of Croatia's November 25 parliamentary elections.
The official final results of the Nov. 25 elections have not
yet been announced, but Mesic noted that the outstanding
protests could not have any meaningful impact on the results.
Therefore, Mesic said, the HDZ can assemble the necessary
77-seat majority in the Sabor, assuming it successfully
concludes negotiations with the other parties that have said
they are willing to go into coalition with the HDZ.

2. Prime Minister Sanader announced that, on the basis of
this mandate, the HDZ (holding 66 seats) would continue its
negotiations with the 8-seat Peasants/Social Liberals
(HSS/HSLS) coalition (REF B), and would also open official
talks this week with the remaining 7 national minority
representatives (including three ethnic Serb
parliamentarians) who have not yet declared their allegiance
to the HDZ. Sanader said he was confident the HDZ would be
able to assemble at least a 77-seat coalition within the
30-day deadline, although he acknowledged that a final deal
with the HSS/HSLS had not yet been reached. The press
continues to report that some key issues with the HSS/HSLS,
including handling of Croatia's fisheries zone (REF C) and
division of ministerial jobs, will only be negotiated this
week.

3. Based on Croatia's electoral deadlines, this means the
Sabor should be seated by January 6, and a new government
confirmed in office no later than January 14. If Sanader is
unable to form a government by January 14, then he could ask
Mesic for an additional 30 days to pursue negotiations. Our
view, however, is that it is more likely that a new
government will be in place well before the January 14
deadline, despite the looming holiday break.
BRADTKE

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