Croatia's first woman Prime Minister - Jadranka Kosor
By Natasa Radic for Southeast European Times in Zagreb -- 08/07/09
Former Deputy Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, 56, took office Monday (July 6th) as the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party president and Croatia's new prime minister.
"I cannot be another Ivo Sanader …I can be myself and try my best. I am not frightened, but ready," she said.
She faces two major challenges: balancing the budget, and re-energising the country's EU negotiations.
The accession talks came to standstill amid the longstanding border dispute with neighbouring Slovenia.
"Despite the historical shortsightedness of our northern neighbours, we will enter the EU," Kosor vowed.
The new prime minister also addressed the battle against corruption and organised crime. "We will continue with the justice system reform, for which reason we opened the Ministry of Administration," she said.
Opposition politicians have already voiced their doubts. The leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zoran Milanovic, cautioned the situation in the country is far from ideal.
Damir Kajin, spokesperson of the Istrian Democratic Assembly party, suggested holding elections. "If the government of Ivo Sanader did not suceed, I doubt that its remnant will," he said.
Nevertheless, Kosor appears to have solid support within the Croatian parliament, or Sabor. Lawmakers gave a vote of confidence to the new government Tuesday, by a vote of 83 to 45.
At a party meeting Saturday, representatives unanimously elected Kosor. The central figure at the HDZ meeting, however, was Sanader, now honorary party president. In his speech to members he again declined to explain his abrupt resignation from office and politics.
According to Zagreb media analysts, Sanader left the door open for a comeback. Many speculate that he might run for president in the upcoming campaign. The HDZ's official candidate is hardliner Andrija Hebrang.
Kosor, a law school graduate, worked as a journalist, covering refugees and war veterans in the 1990's conflict. She was also a war reporter for Croatian Radio before entering politics in 1995, at the late President Franjo Tudjman's invitation to join HDZ.
She is a single mother, and has published two books of poetry.