Initiative Suddenly Says It Has Enough Signatures for Referendum After All

By 11 June 2018

ZAGREB, June 11, 2018 - The civil initiative "The truth about the Istanbul Convention" said on Monday that it had collected 377,635 signatures for a referendum on cancelling the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence which, it said, was a sufficient number of signatures.

"We have collected the signatures of 377,635 voters or the signatures of more than 10% of the electorate required to call a referendum," the initiative's coordinator Kristina Pavlović told a news conference outside the parliament and government headquarters.

Pavlović said the signatures would be submitted to the parliament for counting next week and that the initiative would request that its representatives be present at the counting.

The initiative also asks that the number of eligible voters be reduced by the number of voters with residence in Rijeka, Pula and Gradac, where, it said, its referendum campaigners had been prevented from collecting signatures.

Pavlović said that signatures were not collected after the expiry of the deadline and that last week the initiative did not say that it did not have enough signatures. "We said that lists with signatures kept coming in, after which we counted them all again," said Pavlović.

She said that close to 200,000 voters did not have the opportunity to sign the initiative's petition because their mayors prevented them from doing so.

Commenting on the Pride Parade held in Zagreb on Saturday under the slogan "Long live gender", Pavlović said that it revealed the true meaning of the term 'gender' and its connection with the interests and goals of the LGBT lobby. Comparing that slogan with Yugoslav Communist leader Josip Broz Tito's slogan "Long live work", Pavlović said that their similarity in the most obvious way linked the two ideologies – the communist one and the new, gender ideology.

"Openly showing nostalgia for the past, the participants in the parade insulted the Croatian traditional national symbol – the checker-board coat of arms, describing it as an Ustasha symbol and saying that 'A gay picture book is better than the Ustasha checker-board coat of arms'," Pavlović said.

"History is repeating, with the same protagonists and the same scenario – previously it was the hammer and sickle and today the SDP, the HNS and the GLAS prefer a gay picture book to the Croatian checker-board coat of arms. Plenković's HDZ fits into that story, too. It has shown that the inefficient Istanbul Convention and the gender ideology is more important to it than the position of the academic community, the Church and almost 400,000 citizens who are seeking a referendum on the cancellation of the ratification of the convention. President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's silence about the unlawful conduct of the mayors of Rijeka, Pula and Gradac did not stop us," Pavlović said, adding that the initiative would file a complaint with the Constitutional Court against the mayors' withholding approval for the collection of signatures in public locations.