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Croatian PM Replaces 4 Key Ministers

Croatian PM Replaces 4 Key Ministers

Croatian Prime Minister Jandraka Kosor reshuffled her center-right government Monday, in a move aimed at pushing the country out of recession and allowing it to complete its bid for European Union membership.

Ms. Kosor replaced the ministers of finance, defense, construction and culture, and named a new deputy to oversee investment.

She inherited the current government from her predecessor, Ivo Sanader, the target of an anti-corruption probe who abruptly resigned last year.

Mr. Sanader is in custody in Austria pending extradition to Croatia for questioning on corruption during his 2003-2009 tenure in office.

Ms. Kosor denies any link between the reshuffle and the plight of Mr. Sanader.

An Austrian court ruled Monday that Mr. Sanader, arrested earlier this month near Salzburg, is a flight risk and must remain in custody while awaiting extradition to his homeland.

Mr. Sanader fled Croatia early this month, after prosecutors asked parliament to lift his immunity from prosecution. Austrian police arrested him a day later. The case is set to be reviewed January 27.

Croatia wants to complete EU accession talks next year and become a full-fledged member of the 27-nation bloc by early 2013.