Croat police say probing presidential runner Bandic

Croatia's anti-corruption police said on Friday it was investigating presidential candidate Milan Bandic.

Croat police say probing presidential runner Bandic

Croatia's anti-corruption police said on Friday it was investigating presidential candidate Milan Bandic, two days before an election that has polarised the country.

Sunday's runoff vote in the European Union candidate country pits Bandic, the maverick mayor of Zagreb for almost a decade, against Social Democrat Ivo Josipovic, a jurist and music composer who is running on an anti-corruption platform.

A spokesman for the anti-corruption police USKOK said: "I can confirm that USKOK is working on several cases involving Milan Bandic, based on complaints filed to us. This, of course, does not necessarily mean he will be indicted.

"We're checking all the facts. That is all we can say at the moment," Vuk Djuricic told Reuters.

Bandic's spokesman queried the timing of the investigation.

"The timing of this, on the eve of the election day, is very interesting. It has been known for some time that there are criminal complaints against Bandic, most of them anonymous.

"Many have already been dismissed and so will these," said spokesman Nedzad Haznadar.

Local media said the investigations were linked to alleged malpractice by the Zagreb administration under Bandic's control.

The latest opinion polls published on Friday gave Josipovic, who convincingly won the first round on Dec. 27, a solid lead, although Bandic had staged a strong catchup and won support from the powerful Roman Catholic church and many war veterans.

Bandic played up fears of a "return to communism" under Josipovic, a message aimed at the conservative part of the electorate, reluctant to vote for a left-leaning candidate, given the country's recent past as part of communist Yugoslavia.

Josipovic is backed by many urban and liberal voters.

Bandic, known for populist policies and flirting with the right, prides himself on Zagreb's revamped public services and says he will work even harder if he becomes president.

He was expelled from the opposition Social Democrats in November for putting himself forward as a candidate against his party's wishes.

The president has limited powers over diplomacy, defence and the intelligence services but none over the economy.

Latest opinion polls give Josipovic 50 to 55 percent of votes, compared to between 38 and 45 percent for Bandic.

Both men support Croatia's aim of completing European Union accession talks this year and joining the bloc in 2011 or 2012.

Reuters

Last Mod: 09 Ocak 2010, 12:38
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A. Caldarevic
A. Caldarevic - 9 yıl Before

Bandic is a very compentent leader with a proven strategy for success with the economy and social infrastructure. He brought significant improvement in the city of Zagreb and has proven his capabilities. Croatia can only benefit with his experience in terms of turning the economy in a positive direction, new investment and innovation. He is a modern thinker. Croatia is at its crucial point of balancing its debt and creating a future for its next generation.