Croatia. When the presidential elections were held in January, the only surprise was that Stjepan (Stipe) Mesić did not secure another five years as head of state already in the first round. Mesić, who was a candidate for a coalition of reform-friendly parties, is seen by many Croats as a country father. In the second round, he got two-thirds of the votes and thus won by a large margin over the challenger Jadranka Kosor. She was the Conservative government party HDZ’s candidate.
According to countryaah, Zagreb is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Croatia. Croatia is scheduled to begin its membership negotiations with the EU in March. But the EU delayed the start of negotiations indefinitely as the Zagreb government was not considered to cooperate sufficiently with the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. It was especially about General Ante Gotovina, generally regarded as number three on the Hague Tribunal’s search list after the 1990s war in the Balkans. The Croats failed to convince the EU that they made every effort to arrest Gotovina and surrender him to The Hague.
In April, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader dismissed the Chief of the Criminal Police on the grounds that he was neglected in the search for Gotovina. Sanader also warned that more risks would be dismissed unless the tensions were handled better. Not long afterwards, signals came from the EU that K. improved cooperation with the Hague Tribunal. On the other hand, the UN Attorney General’s Prosecutor Carla del Ponte continued to argue that Gotovina could be arrested if the government really wanted to.
But in October, in the context of the EU crisis over whether Turkey should start membership negotiations, she suddenly stated that Zagreb was now fully cooperating, even though Gotovina was still at large. In this way, the EU could immediately begin negotiations on Croatian membership in the Union.
In December, Gotovina was finally arrested, in the Canary Islands, where he resided with a false passport. He was brought to The Hague within a few days to be tried. Many Croats were upset because they saw the general as a war hero. Opinion polls showed a strong race in voter support for HDZ.
Six dead swans found in a national park in eastern K. in October were found to be infected by the dangerous variant of the bird flu virus H5N1. This resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of chickens in the area.