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Rise and Fall of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader

By Boris Divjak, Senior Fellow, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy and Member of Board of Directors of Transparency International, Berlin, Germany

Having been formally appointed the Prime Minister of Croatia on 23 December 2003, Dr. Ivo Sanader succeeded late Ivica Racan at the moment when the previous government was losing pace and struggled to maintain internal cohesion, which led the ruling six-party coalition into avoiding most painstaking reformist decisions.



Ivo Pukanic, publisher and invesitagtive journalist of Nacional - an independent media group in Croatia was killed in a car bomb in Zagreb on th evening of Thursday, October 23, 200.  Pukanic's colleague, marketing chief of Nacional was also killed in the tragic incident.

Pukanic was a prominent figure in Croatia's media arena and a strong critic of Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's government.  Nacional's investigative journalism featured Ivo Sanader and raised serious concerns about Sanader's newfound wealth.  Nacional also was the first to report PM Sanader's seizure of private property from legitimate owners by influencing the court system and administrative offices in Zagreb.  The evidence provided raised concerns regarding Croatia's politicians, yet, the Croatian prosecutor's office failed to initiatve a proper investigation.

A weak rule of law, an unreformed judiciary and rampant political corruption and the untamed organized crime networks have not been tackled by Sanader's administration. 

The Adriatic Institute has consistently communicated its concerns that both European Union and NATO members should carefully review Croatia's stalled reforms and place a freeze in taxpayer funds from the US and EU member states that are being sent to aid Croatia's reforms. 

Moreover, Croatia's electorate and civil society and media leaders have clearly voiced concerns about PM Sanader's moral authority to combat political corruption and organized.   Sanader's credibility is severely tarnished by serious allegations of political corruption as reported in the few Croatian independent media groups.

Early elections may be warranted to usher a new honest administration to jump start necessary reforms in Croatia.  Leaving the administration of Croatia's reform process to questionable government officials will cause more serious problems for Croatia and the Balkan region.  Croatia's instaibilty should be a major concern for citizens and taxpayers from both NATO countries and the European Union.  NATO and EU need honest and competent partners rather than compromised cadre.

Joel Anand Samy, Co-Founder, Adriatic Institute for Public Policy



Relevant links to the tragic incident in Croatia:

Croatia blast 'kills media pair'
BBC News -
An explosion in the Croatian capital Zagreb has killed two journalists, including the owner of a leading weekly newspaper, media reports say...

By Igor Ilic ZAGREB (Reuters) - A car bomb killed two journalists in central Zagreb on Thursday in the latest of a series of violent incidents that have hit ...

CROATIA: Two journalists killed in car bomb
New York, October 23, 2008—The Committee to Protect Journalists mourns the deaths of Ivo Pukanic, owner and editorial director, and Niko Franjic...

Croatian journalist killed by car bomb, United Kingdom 
Croatia is in a state of emergency after a high-profile newspaper publisher was killed by a car bomb in the latest of a series of similar assaults. ...