Conservative Groups Plan Referendum on Changing Electoral System

By 20 April 2018

This is the second conservative referendum initiative this spring.

The citizens' initiative “People Decide” will begin to collect signatures for a referendum on changing the electoral system in Croatia. The news has been announced on the Facebook profile of conservative activist Krešimir Miletić, reports Index.hr on April 20, 2018.

“The change of the electoral system is a key to increasing the accountability of MPs towards the voters instead of party leaders. The ratification of the Istanbul Convention was a result of the irresponsibility of members of parliament toward voters who have elected them,” reads the call for the collection of signatures.

The call also quotes the first article of the constitution of the Republic of Croatia: “In the Republic of Croatia, the authority comes from the people and belongs to the people.” The signatures are to be collected between 13 and 27 May 2018.

Interestingly, this is the second announced drive to collect signatures for a referendum coming from circles around well-known conservative activist Željka Markić. “Truth about Istanbul Convention”, a civic initiative which fought against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention in the parliament, has also announced it would call for a referendum. They also plan to collect signatures between 13 and 27 May.

“Given that the authorities are marginalising the opinion of their voters and are turning their backs on the people, referendum remains the most democratic way of expressing the will of the citizens. Let us have a referendum so that the Croatian people can say whether they see Croatia as a sovereign country that is capable of adopting and enforcing laws on its own, which will emphasise the value of marriage and the family, and encourage the birth and healthy development of children and young people, or whether we will endanger these values ​​and go in the direction of genderism and the transgender, confusing children and young people, and become a toy and ideological colony due to interests of certain powerful politicians,” reads the call for a referendum issued by the “Truth about Istanbul Convention” initiative.

Željka Markić was successful several years ago in organising a referendum against recognition of same-sex marriages. She has already tried once to collect signatures for a referendum on changing the electoral law. In 2014, she managed to gather more than 380,000 signatures and submit a request to call a referendum to the parliament. However, the referendum was not held because the SDP-led government claimed that she needed more than 450,000 signatures, 10 percent of the number of registered voters at the time.

Last year, together with far-right politician Anto Đapić and some veteran associations, she launched an initiative to change the electoral law which would prevent minority MPs from being elected to parliament. Eight minority MPs would no longer be voted for in a special constituency but would enter parliament through general candidate slates. She presented her proposal as a fight against corruption. “This initiative is not anti-Serb, but anti-corruption and its goal is to ensure the reform of the Croatian electoral system which will raise the overall level of fairness in politics,” she explained at the time.

So, it seems that two civic initiatives close to Željka Markić will simultaneously collect signatures for two separate referendums – the one on changing the electoral system and the other on the revocation of the Istanbul Convention ratification.

Translated from Index.hr.