Friday, 13 December 2019

State Election Commission Provides Polling Stations' Staff with E-Training

ZAGREB, December 13, 2019 - The State Election Commission (DIP) has prepared online training for the staff at polling stations for the forthcoming Croatian presidential elections which will be held on 22 December.

According to the information given by DIP on Friday, there will be over 6,500 polling stations across the country and abroad, and the online training programme for polling station staff is available on the DIP website.

The online programme called e-learning also includes tips for smooth work of staff in special polling places such as polling stations for armed forces' service-persons, Croatians in peace missions, aboard ships, in prisons and in social welfare institutions.

The staff at polling stations for presidential elections includes persons who are not members of any political party. Polling committees in municipalities and towns appoint those members, and each polling station is staffed with six people, that is the chairperson and two members plus their three substitutes.

Croatian citizens will be able to vote in the December 22 presidential election in Croatia and at 124 polling stations in 47 other countries.

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

Friday, 13 December 2019

Opposition: Presidential Vote Watershed Between Civic, Far-Right Croatia

ZAGREB, December 13, 2019 - The leaders of the opposition parties which support presidential candidate Zoran Milanović said on Friday the December 22 presidential election would be a watershed as citizens would choose between a normal and civic Croatia and a far-right and populist Croatia.

Speaking at a press conference, Social Democratic Party president Davor Bernardić said voters would be choosing between a normal and an abnormal Croatia. He called out those in power for failing to resolve citizens' key problems.

"The standard is falling, the costs of living are rising, salaries are not rising, pensions are paltry, waiting lists are longer and longer and debts higher and higher in the health sector, which is about to collapse. Injustice is at every turn, the county is burdened by never bigger corruption," he said, adding that over a million Croatians lived on the brink of poverty.

Bernardić said over 150,000 working-age Croatians had left the country during the incumbent government's turn, and reiterated that the education reform boiled down to the procurement of cheap tablets.

Croatian Peasant Party president Krešo Beljak said half a million people had left the country, 90% of whom were not voters of the ruling HDZ. He called on citizens to "be the light at the end of this lost year" on December 22 and show that Croatia could have a future and that next year could be much brighter.

At the press conference, the leaders of the Democrats, GLAS, the Istrian Democratic Assembly, the Croatian Pensioners Party, the Croatian Labour Party and independent MP Bojan Glavašević also urged citizens to vote for Milanović.

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

Thursday, 12 December 2019

44 Polling Stations to Be Set up in Bosnia for Croatia's Presidential Vote

ZAGREB, December 12, 2019 - Croatian nationals living in Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to cast their ballots at the 22 December presidential election at 44 polling stations in Bosnia, the Croatian embassy in Sarajevo said on Thursday.

The polling stations will be set up on the compounds of the embassy and consulates.

The highest number of polling stations, 19, will be set up on the compounds of the consulate-general in Mostar.

As many as 10 polling stations will be opened in Vitez, central Bosnia, where the Croatian consulate will again serve as a polling place.

In the capital city of Sarajevo, Croatians will be able to cast their ballots at six polling stations.

In the southwestern town of Livno, there will be four and in the north-eastern city of Tuzla three polling stations for the Croatian presidential vote.

In Banja Luka, two polling stations will be set up.

Croatian citizens with permanent residence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are eligible to cast their ballots at those places.

Also, Croatians with permanent residence in Croatia, who happen to be in Bosnia and Herzegovina on the election day, are eligible to vote in Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided they have the necessary documents enabling them to vote outside of the place of their permanent residence.

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

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Presidential Candidate "Renames" Zagreb Streets, Dedicating Them to Bribery, Corruption

ZAGREB, December 12, 2019 - Presidential candidate Dario Juričan on Thursday staged a mock show called "An operation to save Croatia" during which he changed the name of Zagreb's King Zvonimir Street to Dr. Ivo Sanader Street, while the Victims of Fascism Square was renamed the Square of USKOK Victims, and the Square of Croatian Great Men the Square of Croatian Tycoons.

Juričan, who during his presidential campaign has been introducing himself as Milan Bandić, briefly put up signs with the new street names, promising that once he came to power, he would "release the former prime minister and HDZ leader from prison" and "turn (the anti-corruption office) USKOK into a PR agency."

"We have renamed this street the Street of Dr. Ivo Sanader. He is a historic figure, an HDZ giant of whom the HDZ is ashamed," Juričan said, adding that Sanader advocated the same values as he did - "corruption for everyone and not just (those in power)."

Juričan briefly renamed the Square of Victims of Fascism the Square of USKOK's Victims, announcing that he would abolish USKOK, the office specialising in the fight against corruption and organised crime.

He said that he had renamed the Square of Croatian Great Men the Square of Croatian Tycoons in honour of Josip Gucić, Miroslav Kutle, Zdravko Mamić and Ivica Todorić, concluding that "those people have been neglected by the state."

Before his performance, Juričan showed reporters his banknotes featuring his image and the slogan "Visionary of corruption" and "Corruption, now or never". After he handed them out, pretending it was a bribe, Juričan said, "Now that we have done this, let's get to work", an allusion to an expression used frequently by Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić.

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

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Grabar-Kitarović Defends Decision to Avoid Election Debates

ZAGREB, December 12 2019 - Commenting on presidential candidate Zoran Milanović's criticism that she was cowardly evading debates of presidential candidates, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running for a second term in office, said on Wednesday that she was in favour of debating election platforms but that Milanović had none.

"Debates? Show the minimum respect to our people, tell them what you are offering, how you see the future of this nation and this state, and formulate it into a decent document so that we can compare our platforms," Grabar-Kitarović wrote on Twitter.

"Tell people which areas you would work on, what initiatives or policy proposals you have, what your social and state priorities are. Platforms rather than threats and noise," she said in a subsequent post.

Milanovic accused Grabar-Kitarović of "cowardly evading debates" after earlier this week she turned down invitations by Nova TV, RTL and N1 to a televised debate involving presidential candidates.

"In all democratic countries debates between presidential candidates are an integral part of the election campaign and Croatia is no exception. Former presidents Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović did not shun debates with their rivals either," Milanović said.

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

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

No Debate of Presidential Candidates in First Round for First Time in 20 Years

ZAGREB, December 11, 2019 - The Social Democratic Party's presidential candidate, Zoran Milanović, said on Wednesday that in the last 20 years in Croatia it never happened in the first round of presidential elections that there was no televised debate of all presidential candidates.

"It never happened in the last 20 years that there was no general debate in the first election round of all presidential candidates, including the incumbent president. The incumbent president is the first one to shun such a debate," Milanović said during a visit to Donji Lapac, a town in Lika-Senj County close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"That is a problem, debates tell voters something about the candidates. It is a fact that for the first time we have a president who is running for a second term in office and who has been cowardly evading debates in the first round. If she makes it to the second round, we can expect her to do the same," Milanović said.

Asked why he did not want to participate in debates without incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, he said that a debate without the incumbent president who was running for a new term did not make sense in the Croatian election system.

Electoral surveys show certain ratios and it would be logical for the four candidates who weigh the most to confront their views, however, the president is evading it and television broadcasters are tolerating it, said Milanović.

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

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Grabar-Kitarović Holds Election Rally in Zadar

ZAGREB, December 10, 2019 - The Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) presidential candidate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović held an election rally in Zadar on Monday, calling on voters to go to the polls, and in a comment on her rivals, she said that some had sown discord for their own gain while some, who today sang patriotic songs, had been out of the country during the 1990s war.

She said that five years ago, when she was elected president, pessimism reigned in Croatia.

"Some used to say that Croatia was an accidental state and you know best how you fought for it," Grabar-Kitarović told those who gathered for the rally, thanking war veterans and all victims of the Homeland War.

Speaking of Croatia's first president, Franjo Tuđman, she said that Croatia would mark the 20th anniversary of his death on Tuesday and recalled that she had put up his bust in her office and proposed introducing an order named after him, to be awarded to those who promoted Croatia's freedom and national identity.

In a comment on Tudjman's work, she said that one had to be guided by a sense of responsibility.

"He made mistakes, I make them, we are all human, the easiest thing is to shun problems because then you definitely do not make mistakes," she said, adding that "the sin of omission is a major sin and those who led Croatia after President Tuđman pushed it into 'the region', where it does not belong."

More news about Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s campaign can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 9 December 2019

HDZ: Škoro Has Chosen Losing Path

ZAGREB, December 9, 2019 - The HDZ party said on Sunday presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro was a self-proclaimed sovereignist copying SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović, that he had been an HDZ member when it suited him, and that instead of HDZ founder Franjo Tuđman's policy, he had chosen the losing path of the Bridge party and his mentor Velimir Bujanec.

"After today's repetition and copying of Milanović's futile arguments, we remind self-proclaimed sovereignist Miroslav Škoro that the only real, genuine Croatian sovereignist was Franjo Tuđman. He fulfilled that task when it was necessary, unlike Škoro and those like him who today, 30 years later, only talk about it and try to score cheap political points," the HDZ said in a comment on Škoro's election rally in Zagreb earlier today.

"When it suited him, Škoro was in the HDZ, but now, instead of Franjo Tuđman's policy, he has chosen the losing path of his mentor (talk show host) Velimir Bujanec and MOST."

At the rally, Škoro said "there is no force which can prevent Croatia from being given back to the people."

He said the HDZ of 30 years ago and today had nothing in common, aside from the name, and that Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović did not have the strength required for change yet dared to say that Škoro had betrayed the HDZ.

"No, no and no," he said, adding that Plenković had betrayed the HDZ and Tuđman, Croatia's first president. He had a message for HDZ voters, saying they "must know that a vote for Grabar-Kitarović is also a vote for Plenković."

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

Monday, 9 December 2019

Grabar-Kitarović Criticises Presidential Election Opponents

ZAGREB, December 9, 2019 - The incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is seeking a second term in office, said on Sunday that her challenger Zoran Milanović of the Social Democratic Party represented a return to "arrogance and rows" and that another of her rivals, singer-turned-politician Miroslav Škoro, was "playing the tamburitza in America" while the Homeland War was raging.

"I'm not bothered about ratings and opinion surveys. People will go to the polls on December 22 and show whether they want to return to the arrogance, hopelessness, divisions, rows and humiliation that we experienced ... from the candidate Milanović or whether we want an experiment. I say maybe he wants the best, but you cannot enter politics that way, but we should simply maintain the continuity and people will recognise that," Grabar-Kitarović told the press in the southern town of Sinj.

Asked to comment on Škoro's message to voters from her Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party that he would be their president too, Grabar-Kitarović wondered where that came from so suddenly. "I have lived in my country since I was born and was here in the most difficult of times, in the early 1990s. Some people should be asked where they were when the going was tough. Some were playing the tamburitza in Amerika while we here were supporting our people and our troops."

Responding to a journalist's remark that exchanges between the candidates were increasingly being reduced to personal, Grabar-Kitarović said that this had been so right from the start. "I haven't yet seen a single programme apart from my own. I'm trying to speak about my programme, but am forced to answer such questions simply because you're asking me."

More news about presidential candidates can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Presidential Candidate Škoro Says There'll Be No Runoff

ZAGREB, December 8, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro said on Sunday he would lead a movement that would end fear across the country and that Croatia would celebrate December 22, the date of the presidential election, in unity as there would be no runoff.

Speaking at a rally in Zagreb under the slogan "Now or never!", Škoro said that on December 22 Croatia "will vote 'for' after a long time," which would be the first step in "giving the state back to the people, and that there was no force or party dictatorship that would take the celebration away from them.

Škoro said he would win because the people was behind him and proud and strong war veterans were with him, as well as thanks to the unity of Croats at home and in the diaspora, and with the same heart with which independent Croatia was created.

He said the HDZ party of 30 years ago, when the Croatian state was being created, had nothing in common with the current HDZ. Prime Minister and HDZ Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović do not have the strength required for change but they dare to say that Škoro has betrayed the HDZ, he added.

"No, no and no," he said, adding that Plenković had betrayed the HDZ and its founder Franjo Tuđman. He had a message for HDZ voters, saying they "must know that a vote for Grabar-Kitarović is also a vote for Plenković."

Škoro went on to say that he wanted to be the president who would unite the suffering but proud and industrious people who had experienced many disappointments over the past 20 years. "I'll be independent of any political, business or private interest. No one will be able to call and tell me what to do. I will be accountable only to the people and if the people give me a thumbs down, I will go of my own accord, you won't have to push me away."

Škoro said he would score a landslide victory because "they have stolen the state from the people." He said it was a sad country whose president was talking about cakes and singing at every opportunity, whose prime minister, because of his ego, would not receive striking teachers for a month, and where one could become parliament speaker with only 808 votes won.

Škoro said he would "restore dignity" to the office of president.

Presenting his platform, he said that in order to carry out the necessary changes, he would ask for greater presidential powers, make it possible to value knowledge, excellence and ability instead of party affiliation, and that the first referendum he would call would be on the Distraint Act so that 250,000 people could have a second chance.

Škoro said he would ask the people's an opinion on something at a referendum and that if the referendum failed, he would resign because he did would not be a president without the people's support.

He said that "after Grabar-Kitarović's defeat in the presidential election," he expected the government to immediately step down, parliament to dissolve, and a new parliamentary election.

The ruling HDZ and the opposition SDP are preparing a big coalition, which would be "the last nail in the coffin of parliamentary democracy," he said, adding that winning the presidential election was crucial for preventing them to "end us all."

He supported increasing the military budget and stepping up the modernisation of the army, saying that the army should be deployed along the border if necessary. He will also demand more EU money for the protection of the Croatian, therefore the European border.

Škoro said Bosnia and Herzegovina would be the first country he would visit as president, and that Serbia must not join the EU before shedding light on missing Croatian defenders and civilians, returning Croatia's cultural artefacts and archives, admitting to the military aggression against Croatia, and suffering the political and other consequences of that aggression, including the payment of reparations to former Serb concentration camp inmates.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

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