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Cablegate: Zagreb Daily Activity Report: January 11, 2010

VZCZCXRO4852
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHVB #0019 0111419
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111419Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9796
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ZAGREB 000019

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL HR
SUBJECT: ZAGREB DAILY ACTIVITY REPORT: JANUARY 11, 2010

REF: A. ZAGREB 0016
B. ZAGREB 0009

1. (U) IVO JOSIPOVIC WINS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS:
Ivo Josipovic, candidate of the main opposition Social
Democratic Party, won the run-off election on January 10,
garnering 60 percent of the vote to defeat Milan Bandic and
become Croatia's third president. Josipovic won an outright
majority in 19 of 20 counties and all major urban areas,
including the capital of Zagreb where Bandic is currently
mayor. Turnout was 2,253,553 or 50.1% of registered voters.
Josipovic will be sworn in as president at noon on February
18. Additional details reported ref A.

2. (U) PM KOSOR POPULARITY SURGES:
Polls conducted immediately after Prime Minister Jadranka
Kosor engineered the expulsion of former Prime Minister Ivo
Sanader from the ruling the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
on January 4(ref B) show that Kosor has now overtaken current
President Stjepan Mesic as the most popular Croatian
politician. Furthermore, the approval rating of the
government has jumped considerably from 39 percent in early
December 2009 to over 55 percent in the first week of January
2010. Of those polled, 84 percent think that Kosor is doing
a better job than Sanader as PM, and over 75 percent think
that Sanader is corrupt. Kosor's popularity was on full
display at an HDZ rally in Sanader's hometown of Split over
the weekend commemorating the 20th anniversary of the HDZ.
Kosor was greeted with rapturous applause and chanting, while
Sanader's name was not mentioned at all throughout the
ceremony.

3. (SBU) USKOK CONFIRMS BANDIC CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS:
In reaction to media reports on January 8 that the
Prosecutor's Office for Suppression of Organized Crime and
Corruption (USKOK) is investigating 21 cases against then
presidential candidate and current Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic,
an USKOK spokesman confirmed that some ongoing corruption
investigations include Bandic, but far less than the media
was reporting. He added that there were no investigations of
Bandic's presidential opponent (now president-elect) Ivo
Josipovic. Police refused to comment on the story. Our
contacts in the prosecutor's office have told post that the
cases that involve Bandic are at a very basic stage and
prosecutors are nowhere near deciding whether to indict him.
They added that they felt compelled to issue the clarifying
statement prior to the election to rebut inaccurate media
reports that USKOK was preparing to indict Bandic.

4. (U) MESIC CONDUCTS OFFICIAL VISIT TO KOSOVO:
On January 8 President Mesic conducted an official visit to
Kosovo. In an address to the Kosovar parliament, Mesic noted
that "my visit to Kosovo is not directed against anyone." He
emphasized that his trip was intended to strengthen bilateral
relations between Croatia and Kosovo as well as contribute to
the stability and security of the entire region. Mesic
stated that: "I have arrived in Kosovo as a friend of this
young state, as well as of all its citizens, both Kosovars
and Serbs." Mesic said that
although Serbia did not have to recognize Kosovo, Serbia
would sooner or later have to establish a modus vivendi with
Kosovo because of the Serbs living there. The press reported
that Mesic said cooperation with Serbia was important to
Croatia, and that Zagreb was interested in further
development of relations with Belgrade. Mesic also noted
that he was visiting Croatian troops participating in KFOR.
WALKER

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