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Croats flock to support openly corrupt politician

'All for me, nothing for you' message a hit with voters

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A Croatian politician is close to becoming the mayor of the town Prolozac - despite promising to be corrupt and to treat the town "like our family business".

Voters have flocked to the campaign, which runs under the slogan "All for me, nothing for you". Josko Risa polled 27.89 per cent of the vote in the first round of voting on Sunday, placing him second. Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija reports that he will now face Mate Lasic, the current incumbent from the Croatian Democratic Union, in a run-off on May 31.

The campaign, which also runs under the alternative slogan "It is definitely going to be better for me, but will be the same for you", has struck a chord with local voters tired of corrupt politicians. "Whoever is in power, we know that they steal. At least he is honest," commented Ivan Vjisnic, a Prolozac resident. "He has said that if things get better for him then they will get better for us."

In the current climate of public anger at political venality, such honesty is refreshing; but should he be elected, Risa should be careful in his new position.

Other anti-establishment candidates who have found themselves elected have suffered great indignities. H'Angus the Monkey, the mascot of Hartlepool United football team, was chased by a banana-wielding journalist dressed as a gorilla during a press conference after being unexpectedly elected as the town's mayor.

Even more worrying is the precedent of the beer-swilling goat mayor of Lajitas, Texas, who was castrated by an angry cowboy after contravening the town's Sunday licensing laws.

Risa seems unconcerned by such worries, however. "There is no investment, and profits can be great," he said of the prospects for the post.

If only all politicians could be so dedicated to their work. ®

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