Ex-PM Sanader Retrial 'Won't Affect Croatia Polls'

The constitutional court's decision this week to revoke the conviction of Sanader for bribery and illegal profiteering and order a retrial will not damage the electoral chances of his party, the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, at polls due late this year or in early 2016, analysts told BIRN.

"It will not affect the elections in any way, since Sanader has no power in the HDZ. And as we have witnessed at all the elections in the past three years, [court] judgments have no effect on HDZ's election results," said Croatian political analyst Zarko Puhovski.

Despite numerous corruption convictions of its members and former officials, the HDZ polled well at local and European Parliament elections over the past three years, while its candidate, Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, won the presidential election in January.

Another Croatian political analyst, Davor Gjenero, agreed that there will be no consequences for the political situation in the country because the general public already has "a cynical view of politicians and integrity".

He said the current governing centre-left coalition won the 2011 elections amid revelations of corruption in the former HDZ government, but since then people have become sceptical about its probity too.

"Although the current government won the elections [in 2011] thanks to their moral integrity and not their political programme, Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic soon said he would not implement an anti-corruption campaign and cases of corruption in the government appeared," Gjenero said.

The constitutional court on Monday revoked the verdict which sentenced him to eight-and-a-half years in prison for abuse of office, war profiteering and bribery, sending the cases back to Zagreb county court for retrial...

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