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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03ZAGREB898
2003-04-23 15:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Zagreb
Cable title:  

SPLIT: LOCAL POLITICS WITH NATIONAL STAKES

Tags:   PGOV  HR 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000898 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2008
TAGS: PGOV HR HRPGOV
SUBJECT: SPLIT: LOCAL POLITICS WITH NATIONAL STAKES


CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF A.F.GODFREY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B,D)

SUMMARY
-------
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00898 01 OF 02 231534Z

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ZAGREB 000898

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2008
TAGS: PGOV HR HRPGOV
SUBJECT: SPLIT: LOCAL POLITICS WITH NATIONAL STAKES


CLASSIFIED BY: POLOFF A.F.GODFREY FOR REASONS 1.5 (B,D)

SUMMARY
--------------
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 ZAGREB 00898 01 OF 02 231534Z


1. (C) SPLIT, CROATIA'S SECOND-LARGEST CITY, SHOULD BE A
LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUCCESS STORY. BUT EVEN THOUGH CITY
REVENUES ARE UP, DEBTS HAVE BEEN RETIRED AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
AND A SERIES OF INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS ARE PLANNED,
SPLIT'S LEADERS ARE A STEP AWAY FROM DISBANDING THE
MULTI-PARTY CITY GOVERNMENT. THE PROBLEM IS NATIONAL-LEVEL
POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP MIXED WITH THE DESIRE OF SOME LOCAL
POLITICIANS TO GET THEIR SLICES OF THE PATRONAGE PIE. UNLESS
A COMPLICATED DEAL IS CUT, THE COALITION GOVERNMENT IN SPLIT
COULD FALL, EMBARRASSING NATIONAL-LEVEL LEADERS AS THEY
PREPARE FOR ELECTIONS. END SUMMARY.


2. (C) A LOCAL-LEVEL POWER-SHARING DEAL BROKERED IN FEBRUARY
2002 BETWEEN THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY (SDP) AND THE
CROATIAN SOCIAL LIBERAL PARTY (HSLS) CALLS FOR SPLIT MAYOR
SLOBODAN BEROS (SDP) TO STEP DOWN AT THE END OF THE SUMMER
AND HAND THE KEYS OF THE CITY TO HSLS DEPUTY MAYOR MIROSLAV
BULICIC. WHEN THE HSLS BROKE APART IN JULY 2002 AT THE
NATIONAL LEVEL (AFTER PARTY PRESIDENT DRAZEN BUDISA LEFT THE
GOVERNMENT), THE SDP-HSLS COALITION IN SPLIT REMAINED IN
PLACE. NOW BUDISA IS TRYING TO FORCE THE HSLS MEMBERS OF THE
CITY GOVERNMENT TO RESIGN AND FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT WITH THE
NATIONALIST OPPOSITION HDZ.


3. (C) THE LOCAL HSLS IS DIVIDED EVENLY BETWEEN THOSE LOYAL
TO THE NATIONAL-LEVEL PARTY AND THOSE WHO WANT TO STAY IN
OFFICE WITH THE SDP. BULICIC TOLD US THAT VOTERS ELECTED
HSLS TOGETHER WITH SDP AND WOULD NEVER FORGIVE THEM IF THEY
FORMED A COALITION WITH HDZ. MORE IMPORTANTLY, ASSERTED
BULICIC, THE CITY GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN A RESOUNDING SUCCESS:
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 ZAGREB 00898 01 OF 02 231534Z
THE CITY'S WAR-ERA DEBT HAS BEEN FULLY RETIRED (AHEAD OF
SCHEDULE), UNEMPLOYMENT IS DOWN, CITY SERVICES ARE PERFORMING
AT TOP LEVELS, CITY TAX REVENUES ARE ABOVE EXPECTATIONS AND
THE GOVERNMENT IS PLANNING SEVERAL IMPORTANT NEW
INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS BEGINNING THIS FALL.


4. (C) BULICIC ALSO HAS HIS OWN PERSONAL MOTIVATIONS. TO

BECOME MAYOR, HE MUST FIRST STEP DOWN AS DEPUTY MAYOR AND
RESUME HIS SEAT ON THE CITY COUNCIL. WHEN HE DOES THIS, HE
WILL ALSO HAVE TO STEP DOWN AS HEAD OF SPLIT CITY SANITATION,
A WELL-PAYING JOB WITH PLENTY OF PATRONAGE POSITIONS AT HIS
DISPOSAL. BULICIC HOPES TO OFFSET THIS LOSS OF LUCRE BY
INSISTING THAT THE SDP GIVE HIM THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR OF
"PLOVPUT," THE STATE-LEVEL ORGANIZATION RESPONSIBLE FOR
MAINTAINING NAVIGATIONAL AIDS IN CROATIA'S INLAND WATERS.
(SINCE THIS IS A STATE-LEVEL APPOINTMENT, THERE WOULD BE NO
CONFLICT OF INTEREST WITH HIS POSITION AS CITY COUNCILOR.)


5. (C) SDP OFFICIALS ARE EXASPERATED AT BULICIC'S BLATANT
INSISTENCE AT BEING COMPENSATED FOR HIS LOSS OF INCOME (CITY
COUNCILORS RECEIVE NO SALARY). THEY POINT OUT THAT SINCE THE
MAYOR'S JOB IS A FULL-TIME PAID POSITION, BULICIC WOULD HAVE
TO RESIGN ONCE HE LEAVES THE COUNCIL TO BECOME MAYOR.
BULICIC MAY BRING DOWN THE CITY GOVERNMENT JUST FOR A FEW
MONTHS' INCOME AS HEAD OF PLOVPUT. "WHEN IT COMES TO
POLITICS IN CROATIA, GOOD PERFORMANCE JUST IS NOT ONE OF THE
CRITERIA USED TO DECIDE WHO SERVES," EXPLAINED VELJAN
RADOJKOVIC, WHO SERVES AS THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
NATIONAL-LEVEL GOVERNMENT IN SPLIT-DALMATIA COUNTY.


6. (C) MARIN JURJEVIC, A LEADING SDP MP WHO IS ALSO THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 ZAGREB 00898 01 OF 02 231534Z
CHAIR OF THE SPLIT SDP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, ADMITTED THAT
BULICIC HAS COALITION PARTIES OVER A BARREL. THE CITY
GOVERNMENT HAS DONE A POOR JOB OF BLOWING ITS OWN HORN; AS
WITH THE REST OF CROATIA, MOST RESIDENTS ARE DISSATISFIED
WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT. WITH ELECTIONS EXPECTED TO TAKE PLACE
IN THE FALL, THE LOSS OF CROATIA'S SECOND CITY WOULD BE
DIFFICULT TO RECOVER FROM. JURJEVIC TOLD US HE GUARANTEED
BULICIC THE MAYOR POSITION, BUT HAS NOT (YET) GIVEN IN ON THE
ASSIGNMENT TO PLOVPUT.

COMMENT
--------------


7. (C) HSLS PRESIDENT BUDISA IS DESPERATE TO BRING DOWN THE
SPLIT GOVERNMENT AND HAS ALREADY SHOWN HE IS READY TO HIT
BELOW THE BELT TO ACHIEVE THAT OUTCOME. UNDER HIS
LEADERSHIP, HSLS WENT FROM BEING THE SECOND-LARGEST POLITICAL
PARTY IN THE COALITION TO THE BRINK OF POLITICAL IRRELEVANCE.
HE SEEKS TO SABOTAGE THE COALITION'S ABILITY TO TAKE CREDIT
FOR SPLIT'S SUCCESS AND INCREASE THE VALUE OF HIS PARTY IN A
POTENTIAL COALITION WITH THE HDZ. THE SDP WANTS TO KEEP
SPLIT -- THE ONLY CITY WHERE THEY ARE IN GOVERNMENT IN
NATIONALIST-LEANING DALMATIA -- ON THEIR SIDE.

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ4264

PAGE 01 ZAGREB 00898 02 OF 02 231534Z
ACTION EUR-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AF-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 INL-00 DODE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 FBIE-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 LAB-01
L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00 NSCE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01
PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SCT-00 SP-00
TRSE-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-01 G-00
NFAT-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /005W
-------------- 5A010B 231534Z /38
P 231526Z APR 03
FM AMEMBASSY ZAGREB
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0010
INFO AMEMBASSY BELGRADE
AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA
AMEMBASSY SARAJEVO
AMEMBASSY SKOPJE
AMEMBASSY TIRANA
USMISSION USOSCE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 ZAGREB 000898

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2008
TAGS: PGOV HR HRPGOV
SUBJECT: SPLIT: LOCAL POLITICS WITH NATIONAL STAKES

MOON

CONFIDENTIAL

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