Due to Zlatni Rat Beach Scandal, HDZ Changes Candidate for Split County Prefect

By 26 April 2017

Current Prefect Zlatko Ževrnja has decided not to run for re-election.

After the recent scandal with the decision to award the concession for the Zlatni Rat beach on the island of Brač, the most famous beach in Croatia, to a company without a single employee, Prefect of Split-Dalmatia County Zlatko Ževrnja met with HDZ president and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and announced that he would not run for re-election, reports Večernji List on April 26, 2017.

“I have made the decision this morning, as a responsible member of HDZ who has always worked in the spirit of the party, the county and the homeland. In this situation, regarding the recent decision of the County Assembly in connection with the Zlatni Rat beach, I do not feel any responsibility. However, due to the media perception which has been created in public, this is a deeply moral act because I do not want to harm the party in local elections. My resignation is irrevocable, but I remain at the disposal of the party and I have no doubts about the good outcome of the elections,” said Ževrnja.

HDZ’s new candidate for county prefect will be Blaženko Boban, a Member of Parliament and long-time Mayor of Solin. He was unanimously supported by the party’s county presidency and the local committee. “I was Mayor of Solin for 11 years, and this is my second term as Member of Parliament,” said Boban, stressing that in the last local elections he had the best result in the whole country, but decided to resign as mayor after he won a seat in the parliament. “With this moral act, Ževrnja has proven the credibility of HDZ. At this time, I cannot talk about the manifesto, but you will have it in a few days. Solin has been the town in Croatia with youngest inhabitants on average for the last six years, and I want to repeat that success in the whole county,” said Boban.

Responding to journalists’ remarks that they talk about a moral decision, while in reality Minister Butković announced that the County’s decision on the concession had violated three laws, Boban said that the violations were not drastic. Ante Sanader, an influential member of the local HDZ, reiterated that Ževrnja resigned as a moral act, and that they were not the State Attorney’s Office, and that competent services should deal with such matters if there is any need for that.

Asked if Ževrnja resigned due to pressure from Prime Minister Plenković and whether there was a conflict within HDZ, Sanader said that Plenković had not imposed the decision. “There is no conflict within HDZ. This can be said only by those who do not want HDZ to win,” said Sanader.

Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenkovic confirmed earlier in the day that the party's candidate for the Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Ževrnja would withdraw from the election race. “Zlatko Ževrnja has withdrawn, and the local party committee will appoint a new candidate,” said Plenković. “Prefect Ževrnja regrets that he was unaware of the consequences and omissions in this procedure. He remains a member of HDZ, and he is the county prefect who has performed his duties very well. We are all sorry for this situation. I think he has made a responsible and politically constructive move, for the benefit of HDZ, and I thank him for that,” said Plenković.

Zlatko Ževrnja issued a statement on his Facebook profile. “Although I do not feel any personal responsibility, I am aware of the media image and perception in the public created after the decision to award the concession for the Zlatni Rat beach, which could cause political damage to HDZ in these local elections. I want to thank again everyone who proposed me for the honourable duty,” wrote Ževrnja, who added that he would remain a loyal member of HDZ.

The Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure cancelled on Monday the public competition for the concession due to a series of irregularities and violations of the law. After administrative oversight, it was established that the County had violated three laws, that the deadline for submission of tenders had not been respected, and that the information was not available to all bidders.