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Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report - December 24, 2009

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PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHVB #0762 3581046
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241046Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9766
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000762

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: Zagreb Daily Report - December 24, 2009

1. (U) Poll Suggests Bandic Enjoys Solid Lead in Diaspora Vote:
Croatia's NovaTV, utilizing an unknown Bosnian polling agency of
uncertain reliability, announced one of the only poll results
conducted for the Croatian diaspora residing in Bosnia-Herzegovina
(B-H). The poll indicates that Milan Bandic is likely to receive
around 47 percent of the diaspora vote from B-H, while Andrija
Hebrang will have about about 15 percent and Dragan Primorac 14.6
percent. The leading candidate in Croatia-proper, Ivo Josipovic,
received support from only 6.4 percent of those polled. Other
candidates such as Miroslav Tudjman, son of Croatia's first
president, received 2.8 percent, Nadan Vidosevic 2.7 percent, and
Vesna Pusic 1.7 percent. The OSCE Limited Election Observation
Mission noted that as of December 1 there were approximately 268,000
Croatian citizens residing in B-H who are registered to vote in
Croatian elections. However, the actual number of voters is
probably less, as voter registration counts in Bosnia and
Herzegovina have recently been updated.

Mesic Comments on Attempt to Make Last Minute Military Appointments:
In an interview published on December 24, President Mesic commented
on recent stories in the press about appointing General Darko Grdic,
the current head of the Military Intelligence Agency (VSOA), as the
new Chief of the General Staff and appointing Grdic's current
deputy, General Ogjen Preost to replace him as VSOA Director. When
asked why Mesic wanted to appoint Grdic and Preost at the end of his
mandate, Mesic stated that: "it is important to continue the reform
of the armed forces, and because it is important that people who
know their job continue that business." Mesic believed that both
generals were qualified since "they have the knowledge and the
experience," and they had played an important role in the reforms
that the Croatian Armed Forces undertook to meet the requirements to
join NATO. Mesic denied that he was trying to maintain some control
over the military after he left office in February. PM Kosor has
yet to comment publicly on these proposed appointments.

WALKER

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