Despite numerous indictments and trials against him, the former Prime Minister is being presented as a distinguished elder statesman.
At first, it was a funny stunt when a team from Split, in honour of everything that former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader had done, opened a page on Facebook called “Ćaća Is Back” (Ćaća se vrača), with Ćaća being Sanader. Of course, the page is satirical. But, what was a joke until just recently, now seems like reality. Ćaća is really back, reports Jutarnji List on 6 July 2017.
Ivo Sanader, the former Prime Minister who tried to flee the country, who is being tried for three major corruption affairs and during whose term INA came into Hungarian ownership in suspicious circumstances, has used the decision of the arbitration tribunal on the Bay of Piran to present himself as the moral authority of Croatian politics. With the full support of a good part of the media, which invite him to their shows, publish interviews and accept everything he has to say. There is also the book “The Age of Politics – Detudjmanisation” being promoted. Sanader wrote it and, according to the media, there is lots of interest for it.
The media quote his statements saying that he could have also accepted an agreement that was later signed with Slovenian Prime Minister Borut Pahor by Sanader successor’s Jadranka Kosor, but that he allegedly refused it because he “did not want to expose Croatia to the danger of losing part of the national territory.”
He has received an enormous amount of publicity after last week’s decision on the border with Slovenia, and people with short memory could have wondered why Croatia has ever given up on such a distinguished political leader. In his version of events, Pahor told him that he would not accept the International Court of Justice as the institution which should resolve the dispute, and that patriotic Sanader did not want to sign an agreement which could bring the danger of losing part of the Croatian sea.
He gets more space in the media than denials made by Jadranka Kosor, to whom, just like to other members of the then government, Sanader did not ever mention Slovenia as a reason for his sudden resignation in 2009. “He skillfully manipulates and skips the facts that tell you how the arbitration agreement came about,” says Jadranka Kosor in vain.
In spite of everything, when it comes to Sanader, a wave of amnesia is spreading around everything he has done. Just three months ago, the Zagreb County Court sentenced him in the first instance to 4.5 years in prison for the Planinska affair. Judge Jasna Smiljanić ruled that Sanader has obtained 17.45 million kunas for himself, which he must repay, and the state has been damaged by more than 15 million kunas. The fact that until that verdict Sanader did not have a single guilty verdict against him was the consequence of the decision made by the Constitutional Court in the summer of 2015 to abolish the previous judgment for war profiteering in the Hypo case and order a retrial, and that just tells you a lot about the Croatian judiciary.
Despite all that, Ćaća has returned to the mainstream and is presented as a reliable witness to the recent history. In Croatia, indeed, the famous thought of Karl Marx is valid: “History repeats itself twice twice, first as tragedy, second as farce.”