Oddly Enough

New leader has Facebook problems

Ivo Josipovic talks to a reporter after his win in the second round of Croatia's presidential elections at his campaign headquarters in Zagreb early January 11, 2010. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

ZAGREB, Jan 12 (Reuters!) - Croatia’s newly elected president has run into a problem -- how to accept thousands of new friends on Facebook.

The issue seems to underscore Ivo Josipovic’s image of a new statesman for a new era, who should oversee the final stage of Zagreb’s accession talks with the European Union this year, and lead the former Yugoslav republic into the bloc in 2012.

“I have 5,000 friends, which is the maximum allowed on Facebook. I also have another 7,000 waiting so I don’t know how we’ll work that out,” the silver-haired, bespectacled law expert and classical music composer told state radio on Tuesday.

Josipovic, relatively inexperienced in high politics but with a career untainted by scandal, won 60 percent of the votes on Sunday, beating Zagreb mayor Milan Bandic, who was supported by the church and the conservatives.

He will be Croatia’s third president since its 1991 independence from Yugoslavia.

After moving into the presidential palace in February, Josipovic said he planned to finish an opera inspired by the late Beatle John Lennon. The opera should premiere during an annual classical music festival in 2011.

Reporting by Zoran Radosavljevic, Editing by Paul Casciato