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Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Report --- December 28, 2009

VZCZCXRO6516
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHVB #0767 3621511
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 281511Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9770
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000767

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB DAILY REPORT --- DECEMBER 28, 2009

REF: ZAGREB 672

1. (U) Opposition Party Candidate to Face Mayor of Zagreb in
Second Round Presidential Run-Off: Croatians voted in the
first round of presidential elections on December 27.
Turnout was low, at only 44 percent (down from 52 percent
five years ago). The top two candidates were Ivo Josipovic,
candidate of the main opposition Social Democrat Party (SDP),
who received 32.4 percent of the vote, and the populist Mayor
of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, who received 14.8 percent.
Josipovic and Bandic will square off in a second round
run-off election on January 10, and we expect that the runoff
should be much closer than the first round results indicate.
The leading Croatian NGO monitoring the elections, GONG,
reported that the vote went smoothly, with only minor
problems or irregularities in polling places.

2. (U) Prime Minister Suggests New Senior Military
Appointments Note Likely in Near-Term: PM Jadranka Kosor
told Croatian media on December 27 that she was still
discussing with her advisors whether or not to support
changes in top positions within the Croatian Armed Forces.
Last week, President Mesic confirmed in a press interview
that he is proposing that General Darko Grdic, current head
of Military Intelligence Agency (VSOA), be named as the new
Chief of the General Staff, with Grdic's deputy Ognjen
Preost, taking over at VSOA (reftel). Asked to respond to
those comments, Kosor said that, although she supported the
President's suggestions, she wonders whether it is the
appropriate time for such appointments, since President
Mesic's term will end February 2010.
WALKER

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