Published in Nacional number 775, 2010-09-21
HDZ out to sack Bajic and install Turudic at State Attorney's Office
THE HDZ IS FRUSTRATED by the fact that they have not succeeded in using the chief state attorney in party infighting
CHIEF STATE ATTORNEY Mladen Bajic could, in theory, be sacked if Parliament were to give him a vote of no confidence, whereupon his post would be taken up by one of the 24 deputiesSome prominent HDZ officials want to sack Chief State Attorney Mladen Bajic, Nacional has learned from sources close to top Government officials. There is a growing sense of frustration among a part of the HDZ leadership with the fact that they have been unable to put Bajic under the control of party, and consequently to use him during a possible and looming showdown within the party ranks. With the authority Bajic has built up during his eight-year mandate at the post, and the new powers that have been afforded him by the new legislation on criminal proceedings, the HDZ has practically no way of exercising political control of who and when within the party could wind up facing charges in the growing number of scandals shaking the country, and increasingly the HDZ itself. These scandals are developing more and more into an effort to completely unmask and punish former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader's interest-based octopus. This state of affairs does not at all suit a part of the HDZ, which believes that this could hurt the entire party, and perhaps some individuals that were very close to Sanader, and are now demonstrating increasingly evident political ambitions - some can already see themselves as the possible successors to Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor at the post of party leader.
THESE SAME SOURCES HAVE TOLD Nacional that some people in the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) feel that the end is near for Jadranka Kosor as party leader, and that a fierce struggle could now ensue for control of the party. They also believe that the battle can only be led if they have control of the State Attorney's Office, and that can only be achieved if a person of the HDZ's confidence can be installed at the helm of the institution, willing to heed political instructions on whom and when someone ought to face criminal proceedings. These same sources claim that it is Vladimir Seks who would most like to see Bajic out of the way, and that Bajic's departure would, because of their political ambitions, most suit Darko Milinovic and Bozidar Kalmeta. They claim that Miroslav Separovic, considered along with Vladimir Seks one of the most influential HDZ people in judiciary matters, has been tasked with operational preparations for a possible Bajic ouster. These people have already begun to work out ideas on a possible successor to Bajic, and Ivan Turudic, a judge at Zagreb County Court, has been mentioned as a possible new chief state attorney. Turudic is a man the HDZ has great faith in and whose alleged professionalism, on occasion in line with the expectations of the HDZ leadership, has seen him already promised promotion in his judicial career.
THE OPERATION THAT WOULD SEE Bajic publicly discredited, these sources say, has already begun, and that should serve as an introduction to a subsequent debate in Parliament on his possible dismissal. A number of media houses would be used over the coming two weeks to see the plan through. They would be used to push the idea that the State Attorney's Office was in some way responsible for the fact that former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader has not yet been brought to trial, and that there were, ostensibly, inadequate responses to some other scandals, in particular the Hypo bank affair. These ideas have already been introduced in various electronic and print media, and the culmination of the operation is to be expected over the coming two weeks. As an additional way to whet dissatisfaction with Bajic's work among the HDZ members of parliament that could eventually vote to dismiss Bajic, there are plans to use the growing frustration of top police officials with some of the decisions made by the State Attorney's Office which, as the police see it, were very favourable to some SDP officials in Rijeka, Velika Gorica and Koprivnica.
MARINA MATULOVIC-DROPULIC In the background to the dramatic events unfolding at the HDZ, she is pushing to see Branko Radosevic, the former Plinacro boss, join the INA board of directorsMLADEN BAJIC was appointed to his third four-year term at the post of chief state attorney by a majority vote in Parliament on 26 April 2010. He recently submitted to Parliament a report on the work of the State Attorney's Office for the year 2009. Parliament should discuss the report at the latest in late October or early in November. If Parliament does not accept the report, Bajic could offer his resignation as an act of morality. If it happened that a critical debate on his work were to ensue, the parliamentary majority could initiate a debate on the vote of confidence he received, and that could be an introduction to a vote on his dismissal. If all that were to happen, Bajic would probably not step down of his own accord, but would rather wait for a debate in Parliament concerning his work, as he would have much to say in his own right. If he were dismissed by a majority vote of parliament, one of his 24 deputies would temporarily fill his post as acting chief state attorney. That would be followed by some other preparations if Ivan Turudic were to be appointed as his successor. First a tender would be issued to fill the post of one of the deputies to the chief state attorney. Turudic would then have to apply for and win the tender, as only a deputy can become the chief state attorney. All this needs time, and the whole operation could only be completed at the earliest halfway through next year. Nevertheless, this possible scenario would be much quicker in slowing work on some cases that are deemed to be possible damaging to the HDZ and some of that party's ambitious officials, who are now secretly considering the possibility of succeeding Jadranka Kosor at the helm of the party.
THERE IS A GROWING SENSE OF IRRITATION among some HDZ officials, and among many other interest groups, with the new criminal procedures legislation, which gives Bajic broad-reaching powers. With the powers given to him by this new legislation the chief state attorney can much more effectively combat organised crime and corruption. He now has the power to first question a large number of witnesses, and only then issue and indictment. This is simply driving some lawyers mad, as they previously had a much earlier overview of their client's situation. Previously they and the defendants had much more manoeuvring room, because they knew who was being proposed as witnesses in a case before these witnesses gave their testimony, and there was a possibility that they could be influenced. Now that is no longer possible. And, as the chief state attorney, Bajic can give an "indulgence" to a person whose testimony incriminates their superiors by hierarchy, and to those whose testimony traces the route to additional evidence. That is why there are at least five lawsuits that have already been filed before the Constitutional Court to the effect that this legislation on criminal procedures is unconstitutional. Work on adopting this law started back in June of 2002, and its adoption was so long in the coming in part also because, perhaps within some political parties, there were very strong interest groups whom this kind of legislation did not suit. Now there are, probably similar, interest groups, who wish to depict the legislation as unconstitutional, and that would indirectly cast a shadow on the work of the State Attorney's Office.
JADRANKA KOSOR On Monday morning she sat down for coffee with Finance Minister Ivan Suker, Education Minister Radovan Fuchs and Croatian Telekom CEO Ivica MudrinicIVAN TURUDIC HAS been mentioned as a suitable candidate to succeed Bajic. And he was the man that Miroslav Separovic once led to a secret meeting with Vladimir Seks and the then Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, where they promised him promotion in his career as a judge because they had failed to shield him from inappropriate pressure in a case. Turudic has a great deal of experience as a judge, but there have already been serious objections to some of his rulings. He is also quite hot tempered, which is not necessarily bad for the job of state attorney, but he has been known to behave inappropriately in some public situations, even inappropriate to his position as a judge. Nevertheless, loyalty towards the HDZ, unquestionable when it comes to Turudic, is most likely now beginning to assert itself as the most significant quality for the job of chief state attorney, and is likely why Turudic's name is now being mentioned in this regard.
28.10.2010. / 14:15
28.10.2010. / 09:38
21.10.2010. / 15:02
20.10.2010. / 09:34