Croatia’s prime minister has resigned, confirming recent rumours in the media.
At a press conference in Zagreb, Ivo Sanader said he was leaving politics altogether, quashing speculation he might have stepped down to clear the way for a presidential run next year. Although he didn’t give any single reason for his decision, he said blocked talks over his country’s EU entry had contributed to it. EU and NATO membership had been two of his key objectives when he took power in 2003. But while Croatia succeeded in becoming a NATO member earlier this year, EU entry talks are currently stalled due to a border row with neighbour Slovenia. Although Sanader has designated his deputy Jadranka Koso to replace him, analysts say his departure will leave a political vacuum at a bad time, with the economy expected to shrink due to the global crisis. The opposition Social Democrats have reacted to the news by calling for an early election. The next parliamentary vote was not due until two years’ time. Analysts believe Croatia’s hopes of joining the EU by the end of the year seem seriously compromised, although Sanader has said he still believes the issue could be resolved within three months.