BY MLADENKA SARIC

APRIL 7 2010 14:47h

Who will follow Polancec or is he the last one?

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Croatia
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Recent rumors say that Kosor and Ivo Sanader made a non-aggression pact because they both hold sensitive information about one another.

Damir Polancec is arrested. Is it now Ivo Sanader's turn? Polancec's lawyer Anto Nobilo says that nothing in this case is as spectacular as it seems and that, given the dimensions of the crime, Sanader is not the ultimate goal. The public will be disappointed, he says, when they see what this fuss is really all about. However, despite the fact that he is not allowed to speak about the offense, he still skillfully injects a doubt that someone arranged Polancec's arrest with a goal of preventing him from doing the work that protects Podravka!? However, while waiting for information on Polancec's incrimination to be released, the overall feeling of the public is that this event implies that the police force may come after Sanadar soon too. However, if police knocks on his door one morning, the state will seem incompetent and a former prime minister will become a victim of his own image. Ever since the 'state-sponsored' Podravka corruption was revealed the general view is that all the roads now lead to Sanader. Nobody seems to question what would happen if he were innocent and not involved in suspicious transactions ... Due to the fact that he operated the government like a master, and not a representative of the equals, nobody seriously considers this possibility.

Although it has been nine months since he withdrew in the middle of his Government mandate and gave up the leadership of the HDZ party, memories of his six years of authoritarian leadership are still fresh. Nothing could be decided without him. He supported the conservative concept of artificial insemination bill which he proposed to the Minister of Health.
Darko Milinovic would never be able to push through such a law without Sanader's consensus. He softened up unions by promising them money that the state did not have and by giving them rights that Croatia could not support in a long run. He decided to build the Peljesac bridge despite the fact that the Treasury was exhausted at the time ... Because he consistently tried to build the image of a great leader, it is hard to believe that the complex arrangements involving  Podravka, INA, MOL and OTP Bank would be possible without him. Therefore, the arrest of Damir Polancec is now seen as the last step towards Sanader's arrest.

Everyone seems to agree on that: both foreign and domestic media, political analysts, opposition politicians, business circles, the salesman at a local stores,  university professors, nurses ... Actually, all. I guess there is no man in Croatia who thinks that Polancec could be guilty while Sanader is innocent. Either they are both guilty, or they are both innocent. Combination in which Polancec is charged while Sanader remains innocent is not perceived as possible in the public. It is clear that Polancec will not defend himself by remaining silent. If Sanader had anything to fear, he was granted the permission to start after Polancec's arrest.

And what's with Stipe Mesic? Will anything graze him? Polancec  already pointed his finger at him. As he was leaving the Government, Polancec accused Mesic of financial facilitation to people who were close to him. President called and asked Podravka to grant credit to SMS and Srdjan Mladinic, Polancec stormed at the time and annoyed the president. In the days that followed, the president frequently spoke about Polancec with irony and mocked Polancec's red cheeks while trying to reduce the damage caused to his own character and work. However when Polancec was arrested, former President surprisingly refrained from any comments. During a lecture to a crowd of students he only noted that a parallel line of command existed in Sanader's government. Whatever that means!? If the former President has any reason to fear the investigation of the current criminal cases, he was also granted permission to start after Polancec's arrest. He is no longer protected by the presidential immunity and Polancec has already demonstrated that his high function will not protect him.

Basically, the zone boundaries of the untouchable figures is shifted and no one can count on being safe anymore. Especially if they are 'former'. Former Defense Minister is currently on trial, a former deputy prime minister was arrested, the former president could be summoned for questioning in the Podravka investigation, the former prime minister could become Polancec's company ... However, are the authorithies ready to go one step further than Polancec and follow the clue no matter where it leads? Or will the criminal persecution of pre-Kosor figures end with Polancec? Is the rumor that Prime Minister Kosor and Ivo Sanader achieved a non-aggression pact because they both hold sensitive data about one another prove to be true? He will, rumors claim, be protected from prosecution and she will avoid destabilization that Sanader's activation of the parliamentary mandate could cause, or by declining to unite a group of his friends from the HDZ's bench against the Government. And, finally, what are we going to watch in the next episode? At this time, this may be hidden even from the main scriptwriter, Mladen Bajic.