Saturday, 25 April 2020

HDZ Official: Decision Banning Sunday Work Based on Epidemiologists' Recommendations

ZAGREB, April 25. 2020 - The head of the national coronavirus crisis management team, Interior Minister Davor Božinović (HDZ), said on Saturday that the decision banning Sunday work was made based on recommendations by epidemiologists, declining to comment on the speculation that the present situation was being used for political purposes.

"We have regulated shop opening hours as part of our measures. This decision was made based on recommendations by epidemiologists. All decisions are made in accordance with recommendations from professionals. All shops will be working as they worked before, except on Sundays and national holidays," Božinović told a regular press conference of the national coronavirus crisis management team.

Asked if he feared that the decision banning Sunday work might be overturned by the Constitutional Court, he reiterated that all the decisions were made based on the recommendations by professionals. He declined to comment on the speculation that the present situation was being used for political purposes.

"Here we discuss only the situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic. As for these questions, you know who you should address them to," Božinović said in response to questions form the press.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Three Sovereigntist Parties Sign Agreement on Joint Participation in Elections

ZAGREB, December 11, 2019 - Three political parties - HRAST, the Croatian Conservative Party (HKS) and the Bloc for Croatia - on Wednesday signed an agreement on joint participation in the next parliamentary election as part of the Croatian Sovereigntist platform, expressing confidence that they would win at least 15 seats and that it would not be possible to form the next government without them.

The signatories to the agreement confirmed that they would support independent candidate Miroslav Škoro in the coming presidential elections.

HKS leader Marijan Pavliček said he was confident that after the right-wing voter camp had been fragmented over the last 15 years, the Croatian Sovereigntists would win at least 15 seats in the next parliamentary elections.

"A snowball has been started at the elections for the European Parliament and it will grow into an avalanche in the parliamentary elections," Pavliček said, adding that after 20 years of globalist governments, the time had come for a sovereigntist government that would answer only to the Croat people.

HRAST leader Ladislav Ilčić said that globalist lobbies, "although wrapped in beautiful paper", often worked against the interests of the Croat people and state.

"The only way to identify them is the identity and values that have determined the Croat people throughout the centuries," Ilčić said, adding that what made the Sovereigntists special was the advocacy of that identity and those values.

HRAST member of parliament Hrvoje Zekanović said that the sovereigntist camp also included numerous civic initiatives, such as the Truth about the Istanbul Convention, the Croatian Rampart as well as numerous prominent individuals.

Zlatko Hasanbegović of the Bloc for Croatia said that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and the ruling HDZ party were in a state of panic because the coming presidential elections, followed by parliamentary elections, would articulate the dissatisfaction of voters caused by the formation of "an anti-national Croatian-Serb coalition that is based on political trade-offs", which, he said, "is against the authentic will of the electorate."

Zekanović, too, believes that the HDZ is losing popularity and that Plenković "evidently has problem coping with that."

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Conservative NGO Loses Suit against Former President Josipović

ZAGREB, June 23, 2019 - The non-governmental organisation Vigilare, led by Catholic activist Vice Batarelo, has lost a legal case against former president Ivo Josipović who it claimed discriminated against Catholic believers.

The Supreme Court ruled in April that by saying that "Croatia is a secular state, not a Catholic jamahiriya" Josipović did not disturb or discriminate against the Catholic faithful. It said that his statement may have hurt Roman Catholics but did not put them in a less favourable position in relation to other groups.

The dispute arose after Josipović posted an interview by Ivica Maštruko, a member of the HRT public broadcaster's programming council, on his Facebook page ahead of the Catholic holiday of the Assumption, in which he said that in its programmes the HRT was currying favour with the Church. In an ensuing debate, Josipovic responded to one of the Facebook users that "Croatia is a secular state, not a Catholic jamahiriya," which prompted Batarelo to bring a lawsuit against him to protect the dignity, sentiments and interests of the Catholics in Croatia.

More news about the conservative movement can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Around 5,000 Participate in Zagreb March for Life

ZAGREB, May 25, 2019 - Around 5,000 people rallied in downtown Zagreb on Saturday for the fourth March for Life, and 13 protesters against the march were arrested for trying to block the passage of the marchers by sitting down on the street.

The event was held under the slogan "Let us protect the most endangered minority in Croatia - unborn children" in support of the view that life begins with conception.

While walking towards St. Mark's Square, where the parliament and government headquarters are located, the marchers encountered groups of protesters against the march, who carried banners with messages reading "Legal and available abortion", "Mistress of her own body", "Young people are leaving because of you", "Life after life" and "We demand free abortion".

Several thousand people gathered also in the coastal city of Split for the third March for Life.

The marchers were carrying banners reading "Choose life! Your mother chose it too", "She can do great things... because she was allowed to be born - Equality for all women from the moment of conception", "How much does an abortion cost? A human life", "Human rights start when human life begins", "You are pregnant, you need help, get in touch with us".

The Split marchers said it pained them to see laws that allowed abortion and that they wanted unconditional protection of human life from conception to natural death.

"Let us give all women the possibility to freely have children, to not fear for their jobs. It is horrible that a 21st century woman who wishes to have more children must worry if she will be able to raise her children and provide for them," said Mario Vuković, one of the organisers of the Split march.

More news about the abortion issue in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

March for Life Held in Rijeka, Osijek

ZAGREB, May 18, 2019 - Several hundred people took part in a March for Life in downtown Rijeka on Saturday held under the motto "Let's protect unborn children, the most endangered minority in Croatia".

Organisers from the Malaika Association said the March for Life was a peaceful walk by citizens to underline the importance of supporting life as man's fundamental right.

Barbara Brezac Benigar said ahead of the march the participants believed life began at conception and that all human rights began then as well. "We are defending those unborn lives... Today we are here as the voice which wants to defend human freedom for those who can't do it themselves," she said.

Shortly after the march started, about ten women activists stood in the walkers' way carrying a banner which security immediately removed. The activists were then escorted away by the police.

Another march, called the March for Freedom, began nearby at the same time as the March for Life, organised by Citizens of Rijeka, an initiative of several civil society organisations.

A March for Life was also held in the eastern city of Osijek, the first to take place there. Organisers said they wanted to underline the need to protect unborn children as the most endangered minority in Croatia.

With this march, we wish to protect life, legally and socially, from its beginning, because the right to live is a fundamental human right and from the right to live stems every other human right, march coordinator Lidija Blagojević said, adding that "science and all schools of medicine in Croatia agree that life begins at conception."

The president of the "In the Name of the Family" association, Željka Markic, said the goal of the March for Life was the social, legal and every other protection of life, from conception to death.

She said it was necessary to amend laws and step up adoption procedures.

More news about the abortion issue can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Fourth Walk for Life to be Held on Election Silence Day

ZAGREB, May 3, 2019 - The fourth national Walk for Life, Family and Croatia will be held in five cities this year – on May 25, electoral silence day, it will be held in Zagreb, Split and Zadar and a week earlier it will be staged in Osijek and Rijeka, the coordinators of the Walk for Life initiative said on Friday.

The event will be held under the slogan "Let us protect the most endangered minority in Croatia – unborn children".

Referring to the decision of the State Election Commission (DIP) to greenlight the event, the coordinators of the Walk for Life initiative said that they did not see anything contentious about the date of the walk and stressed that they would not be sending any political messages.

The national walk for life has been held every year since 2016 in the largest cities and it usually draws several thousand participants. This year, Osijek and Zadar have joined the initiative.

Andreja Kotnik of the Walk for Life initiative said that they supported life from conception to natural death, noting that two in three abortions were due to low living standards or social pressure.

The coordinators said that their initiative was a civic one, that they did not wish to send any political messages and did not support any slate or political campaign for EU elections, to be held in Croatia on May 26.

DIP said earlier that the event was not in violation of the electioneering ban but advised its participants to respect the rules on electoral silence.

Last year's Walk for Life was attended, among others, by European Parliament member Marijana Petir and member of the Croatian Parliament Zlatko Hasanbegović, who are running in the upcoming elections for the EP.

Asked if they expected Karlo Ressler, the lead candidate on the ruling HDZ party's slate for EP elections, who used to walk for life, to attend this year's event, the coordinators of the initiative did not answer, saying only that all wishing to come were welcome.

More news about the abortion issues can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

NGO Wants to Ban Anti-Abortion Protest Ahead of European Elections

ZAGREB, April 23, 2019 - The Movement for a Modern Croatia on Tuesday sent a request to the State Election Commission (DIP) to ban an anti-abortion march on 25 May, the day before the EP election, when electioneering is prohibited throughout Croatia.

The movement, which is also running in the elections to be held on 26 May in Croatia, believes that the planned pro-life march, which is organised by the civil society group "Walk for Life", will serve to promote some of the candidates for the EP elections on the day when electioneering is banned.

The ban on electioneering goes into force at midnight on Friday (before an election Sunday) and lasts until the closure of polling stations at 1900 hrs Sunday. According to DIP's explanation, the ban refers to electioneering communication disseminated through a means such as a broadcasting station, radio station, cable television system or satellite system, newspaper, magazine, periodical, billboard advertisement, or mail as well as the Internet and social networks.

The movement asks DIP to make sure that conditions are equal for all candidates in election races.

The civil society group "Walk for Life" has recently announced that it will stage marches in Osijek and Rijeka on 18 May and in Zagreb, Split and Zadar on 25 May, when electioneering is banned.

The Movement for a Modern Croatia says in its request that a peaceful walk for life can be held any week after the elections for the EP rather than on the day before the elections.

Some of the conservative candidates for the EP elections are believed to be close to organisers of the pro-life marches, and therefore the Walk for Life events are perceived as an opportunity for their election campaign.

More news about the abortion issue in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

NGO Accuses HDZ of Wanting to Get More Money for Election Campaign

ZAGREB, March 21, 2019 - The In the Name of the Family civil society group on Thursday described as unacceptable plans by the ruling majority to push through a law on the financing of political activities, election campaigns and referendums, saying that by trying to have the law adopted before the elections for the European Parliament, the ruling HDZ party was trying to win more money for the financing of its election campaign.

The bill, which is being discussed by the parliament, raises the maximum allowed amount for electioneering purposes from kuna 1.5 million to 4 million per slate, which means that the HDZ and its coalition partners would have three times more money at their disposal, the group said.

It particularly objected to the bill being discussed under fast-track procedure, without a third reading, and to plans for the law to go into force eight days after its publication in the Official Journal, with retroactive application of some of its regulations.

This, the group says, is contrary to recommendations by the Venice Commission that election legislation, including rules on campaign financing, should not be changed one year before elections.

By adopting such a law, the prime minister would be abusing the parliamentary majority for unfair political competition and so that "the HDZ could have as much influence on voters as possible," the group said.

It recalled that the bill "is almost a complete copy of the Social Democratic Party-sponsored bill from 2015 against which the HDZ voted at the time, and is now imposing it, following the scam with the referendum on the election system."

In the Name of the Family also warned that the bill equated ad hoc civic initiatives with political parties which, it says, receive millions of kuna from the state budget and have employees and the necessary infrastructure, and planned to lay the same administrative burden on them as for political parties.

In the Name of the Family believes that the purpose of the bill is also to make the financing of referendums more complicated for citizens.

Earlier in the day, the opposition MOST party, dissatisfied with the bill on the financing of political activities, election campaigns and referendums, submitted more than 900 amendments to the bill and asked for a third reading.

More news about elections in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Parliament Declines to Call Referendums on Election Law, Istanbul Convention

ZAGREB, February 15, 2019 - There will be no referendums on changes to the election law or on repealing the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, the Croatian parliament decided by a majority vote on Friday.

With 105 votes in favour, 16 against and two abstentions, the parliament upheld the conclusion of its Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System which said that conditions had not been met to call the two nation-wide referendums, initiated by two civil society groups - The People Decide and The Truth About the Istanbul Convention.

Explaining its conclusion, the committee recalled that in July 2018 the parliament called on the government to check the number and authenticity of the collected signatures and the lawfulness of their collection, noting that the government has submitted a report from which it arises that the number of signatures required to call a referendum was not collected for either referendum.

"Those of us who have voted against, on behalf of the MOST party, will walk out of the session," said MOST MP Robert Podolnjak.

The Constitution and the Constitutional Law on the Constitutional Court, under which the parliament must address the Constitutional Court on the matter and does not have the right to decide autonomously not to call a national referendum or that conditions for it have not been met, have been breached, said Podolnjak.

The parliamentary vote on the two referendums was also observed by representatives of the two civil society groups which over the past few months had been accusing the government of doing all in its power to prevent the two referendums.

The parliament's vote prompted an ironic round of applause from observers of the two civil society groups.

There is significant difference between politicians, members of parliament and voyeurs, independent MP Marko Vučetić responded. "Voyeurs think that they can enter the area of other people's privacy and personal information, they think that the status of an MP gives them the right to violate others' right to privacy," Vučetić said.

Boris Milošević of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), too, said that not enough signatures had been collected and referred those dissatisfied with that to the Personal Data Protection Agency (AZOP). "I regret that the referendum questions will not be discussed by the Constitutional Court because they would not pass the test of constitutionality," said Milošević.

Among other things, the referendum petition for changing the election law proposed reducing the number of parliamentary seats for the Serb minority from three, which is how many seats the minority is now entitled to, to one seat.

Milorad Batinić of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), a partner in the ruling majority, said that back in October last year his party had filed a report over unlawful activities during the campaign to collect signatures for the two referendums and signature forgery.

MP Hrvoje Zekanović of the HRAST party used the vote on repealing the Istanbul Convention to approach the speaker's desk and put on it a T-shirt with the message "Two sexes, two genders".

"Here is a T-shirt, not for you but for Prime Minister Andrej Plenković as a memento of the Istanbul Convention," Zekanović told Speaker Gordan Jandroković. "You can wear it yourself, it will fit you nicely," Jandroković countered.

More news on the referendums in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Conservative Parties Worried about Christian Values

ZAGREB, February 2, 2019 - Representatives of the HRAST party and the Croatian Conservative Party (HKS), who organised the conference "The future of the Croatian and European societies" in Zagreb on Saturday, said that people in Croatia were banned from speaking about Christian values, which were treated as an ideology, as well as that politics currently prevailed over the Christian way of life but that European politics would change soon.

Noting that the conference focused on the importance of advocacy of Christian values, Ladislav Ilčić, leader of HRAST, which has one seat in the Croatian parliament, called for national unity, saying that it was necessary "given what we have achieved so far and given that we have seen that a large part of Croatia is against Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's taking a turn to the left, against marginalisation and attempts at manipulation regarding signatures collected in our referendum campaigns."

HKS president Ruža Tomašić, who serves as a member of the European Parliament, said that politics currently prevailed over the Christian way of life.

"The voice of the minority is winning; therefore, we must be a loud majority. We have become frightened, but we have nothing to be afraid of. We have our rights and will exercise them and show that we are not retrograde," said Tomašić.

Ilčić said that the coming elections for the European Parliament would reveal the real situation in Croatia and that European politics would change because the coalition between the European People's Party and the Socialists "has practically failed."

Tomašić said that she would not run in the elections for the European Parliament and would retire if the trialogue between the European Commission, the Council and the European Parliament on fisheries was completed.

"But if the trialogue is not completed, I will have to go if people elect me. I want to finish the trialogue so that it does not end up in Italians' hands because that would spell doom for our fishermen," she said.

Attending the Zagreb conference was also Polish MEP Marek Jurek.

More news on the conservative movement in Croatia can be found in the Politics section.

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