Saturday, 30 November 2019

Presidential Candidate Peović Says Croatia Needs Radical Change

ZAGREB, November 30, 2019 - The presidential candidate of the Workers' Front party and the Socialist Workers' Party, Katarina Peović, said in Rijeka on Saturday Croatia needed a radical change, that it was going in the wrong direction and that the ongoing teachers' strike confirmed that a majority of people thought so too.

Asked by the press about the strike, Peović said it had shown long ago that it was no longer just about a 6.11% rise of teachers' job complexity index and that this was a rebellion against the incumbent government and the direction the country had been going for the past 30 years.

The most important thing is "that all parents, teachers and all unions and workers in other sectors have united in this protest," she added.

"We have been watching for years the inflammatory policies of this government, which has been dividing workers and turning them against each other. In this strike, for the first time, all workers are on the same side, the parents too are with the teachers, and the teachers are also helping the strike in Đuro Đaković, where workers have not received two wages," Peović said.

"The Uljanik (shipyard) workers, who have lost their jobs, are lending their support too, and we have seen on their example how inflammatory policies affect people and their lives. Now people in Croatia are showing that they've had enough," she added.

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

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Croatian President Campaigns for Re-Election in Bosnia and Herzegovina

ZAGREB, November 27, 2019 - Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Wednesday in Mostar, which she visited during her campaign, that care for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) would continue to be an important plank of her state policy.

In that southern city in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croatian president promised that she would continue to advocate the achievement of full equality of the Croatian people, including their possibility to elect their own political representatives without being outvoted.

"The thing that is and will remain to be my state policy is care for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Croatians have two homelands - the Republic of Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. And that is why I will not stop until Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina are provided with the rights they are entitled to historically, politically and under the country's constitution - and that is full equality and achieving their rights as a constituent people," said Grabar-Kitarović, addressing a conference on the anniversary of the establishment of the 'Prsten' Association of Bosnia-Herzegovina Croats with its headquarters in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

She said that it was necessary to prevent scenarios in which the more numerous peoples can impose their representatives on Croats in elections.

"No one else should be allowed to elect representatives for the Croatian people in BiH. They are deluding themselves if they think that Croats will bend and disappear from Bosnia and Herzegovina. No, they won't! With your help I will continue to be a guarantee that there will be no more ignoring of Croats in BiH which had happened in 15 years during the term of my two predecessors," she underscored.

Grabar-Kitarović called on Croatian business people to invest in Bosnia and Herzegovina and help stop the emigration of young people from the country.

"That is why in fact, I am encouraging Croatian entrepreneurs to turn to investments in BiH, to establish new companies and to launch new investments so that our young people can be given a job and keep living here," she added.

Grabar-Kitarović in particular underlined the significance of the Prsten association which was established by Croats from Bosnia and Herzegovina in an effort to preserve tradition and values and at the same time to assist their compatriots in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

During its 14 years of existence, the Prsten association, which has 3,500 member and 200 entrepreneurs, has set aside 15 million kuna in aid for institutions, and Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as an additional 3.5 million kuna for scholarships for poor students.

The Croatian president is due to stop in Skopaljska Gračanica near Bugojno and Vitez on her campaign trail in Bosnia and Herzegovina on Wednesday afternoon.

The incumbent president's candidacy for her second term is supported by the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and a few more political parties in Croatia.

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

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Milanović Hands Over 78K Signatures for His Presidential Candidacy

ZAGREB, November 27, 2019 - A former Prime Minister and SDP leader, Zoran Milanović, on Tuesday presented the State Electoral Commission (DIP) with 78,000 signatures collected by volunteers of 13 centre-left parties in support of his bid for the presidency.

"The trends are obvious. I will fight and I believe that I will win," Milanović told reporters after submitting the signatures to DIP.

Commenting on incumbent President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, supported by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) for her second term, Milanović accused the president of belittling "the insignia of the institute of state governance, including the presidential flag, which she respects more than I do."

"I adhere to substance, she sticks to tapestries. However, she places (the image of) that tapestry on a too sweet and nutritiously bad (birthday) cake," he said hinting to the cake Grabar-Kitarović gave Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić for his birthday.

Milanović underscored that his duty, unlike Grabar-Kitarović's, is to restore dignity, pride, respect, decency and modesty to that office.

"Her entire (first) term in the presidency is fake and her campaign, unfortunately, is turning into ordinary village trash which Croatia does not deserve," he added.

Asked whether he believes the teachers' month-long strike will go in favour of his campaign, Milanovic responded, "you mean like the tent (case) five years ago to the current bunch in office," alluding to a protest by Croatian war veterans who set up a tent outside the War Veterans' Ministry during the term of the Milanović cabinet.

"That is where we are different. The tent was a pathogenic phenomenon in society which to this day it is not clear to me what it was aimed at except to bring down the government although I wanted to satisfy some demands," said Milanović.

(Prime Minister Andrej) Plenković and Grabar-Kitarović were part of that. Depending on what institutions they need, that is how they behave. I can express my solidarity with this strike and I that is what I am doing but nothing more than that. I'm not "a political hyena", he said adding that he did not parasitize someone else's sweat and suffering.

Milanović believes that the strike could have been avoided and that "amateurism and inexperience" primarily shown by the prime minister (Plenković), have led to this totally unnecessary excess, "that will cost him dearly."

Milanović believes that the teachers' industrial action could have been avoided by agreeing to some union demands that are realistic because when the prime minister boasts that the budget is great and that there is a lot of money, then it is normal that people who have been working for lower wages for a long time come and say that they want a bit for themselves yet the "prime minister goes and humiliates them."

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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Škoro: Incumbent Authorities Intensify Fear in Country

ZAGREB, November 26, 2019 - Presidential hopeful Miroslav Škoro on Tuesday agreed with school unions who consider that police checking lists of protesters represented intimidation of the strikers and that this shows that the government is intensifying fear in the country.

"It seems to me that some sort of fear has gripped our country, a fear intensified by the incumbent authorities' moves. You saw yesterday that they were counting, noting down and trying to see who was attending the teachers' protest. I'm convinced that we will soon be in a position to change that and that things like that will not occur again," Škoro said while meeting with residents in the coastal town of Trogir.

His campaign headquarters said that Škoro's response to criticism that his messages show that he does not understand how the state and system functions, is that it is time for "those clerks to realise that the people wants change."

"Clerks cannot determine how someone will live in this country or what they will do. The people will decide that in elections and very soon," Škoro said.

He said that the collection of signatures to support his candidacy was going very well and that on the first day the necessary 10,000 signatures had been collected.

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

Monday, 25 November 2019

Milanović Stops Collecting Signatures after Surpassing Required Number

ZAGREB, November 25, 2019 - After the leader of the Reformists party, Radimir Čačić, presented signatures collected in support of Zoran Milanović's candidacy in the presidential election, Milanović's campaign headquarters decided to cease collecting signatures as it had more than necessary.

The signatures collected will be submitted to the State Electoral Commission (DIP) tomorrow already it was said.

Čačić said that they had collected 7,554 signatures and that they had planned to collect 20,000 to support Milanović who is being backed by 13 centre left parties.

On 16 November, Čačić said that as "a sign of the party's strength and the party's support," the Reformists would collect 20,000 signatures for Milanovic, 10,000 more than he is required to submit for his presidency bid.

Čačić today "accused" Orsat Miljenić, who is running Milanovic's campaign, for the smaller number of signatures collected because Miljenić decided that instead of collecting signatures for 12 days as prescribed by the electoral law, signatures were collected for only two and a half days.

More news about Zoran Milanović can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

MEP Tomašić Says She Supports Škoro's Presidential Bid

ZAGREB, November 24, 2019 - A member of the European Parliament, Ruža Tomašić of the Croatian Conservative Party, on Sunday supported the presidential candidacy of Miroslav Škoro, saying that he was the presidential candidate she trusted the most because he had proven to be capable of making a good living outside of politics and that he understood ordinary people.

Signing a list of support for Škoro's presidential bid in downtown Zagreb, Tomašić said that she hoped he would win the elections already in the first round on December 22 and prove that Croatia could do without both the HDZ and the SDP.

Škoro is better than the other candidates because he is a self-made man, a musician and scholar and a representative of ordinary people, Tomašić said, adding that Škoro would not listen to instructions either from Washington or Brussels or Strasbourg.

Asked if he could run away from his political past as a member of the HDZ, Tomašić said that he had run away from it when he left the HDZ and the Croatian parliament after "seeing that something was wrong there and he now knows what should be changed and what should not."

As for the presidential candidates Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Zoran Milanović, Tomašić said that they had already shown what they could and could not do.

She noted that Grabar-Kitarović was good at the beginning. "But the moment she met for talks with (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vučić, a Chetnik who has not renounced Chetnik ideology... and for his sake told mothers and widows of Croatian defenders killed in the war that they were on the margins (of the political spectrum), I said - this is not it any longer," Tomašić said.

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

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Milanović Distances Himself from Glavaš's Support

ZAGREB, November 24, 2019 - Continuing to collect signatures of support for his presidential candidacy, Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate Zoran Milanović said in Sisak on Saturday that he distanced himself from the support expressed for his presidential bid by member of parliament and HDSSB party leader Branimir Glavaš.

Milanović visited Sisak to collect signatures of support for his candidacy and when asked by reporters to comment on Glavaš's support for his presidential bid, he said that he was surprised by it.

"I would like to distance myself from his support because Glavaš is not my kind of people. I think that (his support) is a message to (Prime Minister Andrej) Plenković. The man has been indicted for grave war crimes and the court is expected to make a ruling. The biggest problem about it is that the trial is taking too long, considering that the events in question happened in Osijek in 1991. That is something that I, as the future president, will change if I can, by statements and by exerting pressure at least. The case is still under way and that's not how the judiciary should work."

Glavaš, who is standing trial for war crimes against Serb civilians in Osijek in 1991, earlier in the day supported in Osijek with his signature Milanović's candidacy, saying that his signature "is not a signature for the SDP or for drawing closer to the SDP but for Milanović as a candidate for the president of the republic", while HDSSB members would decide for themselves whose presidential bid to support.

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

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Kolakušić Says His Platform Envisages Difficult Changes

ZAGREB, November 23, 2019 - Independent presidential candidate Mislav Kolakušić said in Zagreb on Saturday that he did not want the support of citizens who were not informed about his platform because the changes he advocated were difficult and meant fewer state administration employees but also higher wages.

"If you abolish municipalities, towns and ministries, the consequence is a loss of jobs," Kolakušić told reporters in downtown Zagreb where volunteers were collecting signatures of support for his presidential bid.

He said that those who wanted to vote for him had to know what would happen if he was elected president.

"If you want to fight corruption, that means that thousands of people will end up in prison," he said.

He described the economic situation in Croatia as disastrous, adding that citizens were wrong to believe that the state could keep borrowing forever.

Since 2007, Croatia has paid a debt of 207 billion kuna for pensions, while an additional 200 billion kuna will have to be paid in the next ten years, he said.

In July, the Austrian labour market will open for Croatians, which means that 100,000 to 200,000 Croatians will emigrate because they do not want to work for low wages, which will cause an even bigger gap in the pension system, he said, repeating that Croatia had to turn to job creation in the business sector.

"If we do not start opening factories and creating real jobs, we do not stand a chance, now is the time to change because in five years' time it will be too late," he said.

Kolakušić went on to say that the judiciary could not be independent if judges had low salaries but that for judges' salaries to go up, the number of judges had to be halved.

He believes that Croatia stopped being a parliamentary democracy in 2000 because amendments to the constitution adopted at the time enabled borrowing without the parliament making a decision to that effect.

Asked about the ongoing strike of primary and secondary school teachers, he said that he always supported civic action. "We have been plundered because citizens are passive, they must insist on their rights but whether there is money is a different matter," he said.

As for the course of the presidential campaign so far, he said that he had not heard a single sentence about matters vitally important to citizens because candidates kept talking about football clubs, the past, Communism and the Ustasha instead of about the economy and judiciary.

Among citizens who came to express their support to Kolakušić at the stand where volunteers were collecting signatures for his presidential bid was also Živi Zid president Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, who won almost 300,000 votes in the first round of the last presidential election.

Sinčić called on the citizens who had voted for him to now vote for Kolakušić.

Kolakušić said that if he was successful in the presidential election, he would also participate in parliamentary elections but with a citizens' slate and not a slate of political parties.

More news about Mislav Kolakušić can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Peović to Advocate Demilitarisation, Exit from NATO

ZAGREB, November 22, 2019 - The presidential candidate of the Workers' Front party and the Socialist Workers' Party (SRP), Katarina Peović, said on Friday that if she won the presidential election, she would be a completely different president than the HDZ's Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and would advocate demilitarisation and Croatia's exit from NATO.

"I will push for radical changes in the interest of the national majority, including protection of available and free health care and education, demilitarisation, a reduction of investments in the military, the withdrawal of Croatian troops from international military missions, and ultimately, Croatia's exit from NATO," Peović said at the launch of a campaign to collect citizens' signatures for her candidacy in downtown Zagreb.

The Workers' Front and the SRP want a better and more just society, which is what a majority of people in Croatia also want, and that means that we need radical changes, protection of education, healthcare, housing and food, she said.

"Privatisation, plunder and ownership transformation have put us in a situation in which we have to defend our basic needs. They cannot be defended within the framework in which we live today. Radical changes are necessary, which is why we have joined in these elections," Peović said, noting that her rivals advocated only cosmetic changes and keeping the country on the current course.

Even though presidential powers mostly concern protocol, Peović said that the conduct of the incumbent president bore witness to the importance of appointing to that position a person who advocates the basic needs of the majority.

Apart from Zagreb, Peović will be collecting citizens' signatures for her candidacy in Split, Pula and Rijeka as well as in Makarska, Varaždin, Samobor and Sisak.

More news about Katarina Peović can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Milanović Promises Fair and Fierce Election Campaign

ZAGREB, November 22, 2019 - Zoran Milanović, who started collecting signatures on Friday morning for his candidacy for the presidential election, said in Pula that he expected support in Istria and announced a fierce and fair fight in the campaign in the build-up to the election, set for 22 December.

Answering reporters' questions about his opinion on the ongoing strike by employees in primary and secondary schools, Milanović said that he found their demands for a higher job complexity index to be absolutely justified and that none of this should have occurred.

"The demand for an increased index today is absolutely justified and this rude ignoring that has lasted for a month already, is not heading anywhere. In 2011, Croatia was a country that was financially drowning and somehow needed to be given artificial breathing. That was one period, now is another period," Milanović said referring to 2011 when he became the prime minister of the government and during his term in office the wages of education-sector staff fell because Christmas and holiday bonuses were abolished and transport costs were cut.

Milanović today described the case of the military helicopter used to transport a civilian, a suspected arms smuggler, as a dangerous scandal.

That's a dangerous scandal and says everything about the system. That was probably kept under the carpet because of the campaign and as president I will do everything within my power as the supreme commander of the armed forces for the Croatian Army to be cleansed of that sort of crime and immorality. Someone kept that on the shelf for two months hoping that the affair would be swept under the carpet," said Milanović.

He believes that the foreign policy situation is a lot worse than in 2015 when his government's term came to an end.

"Pula is the western part of Croatia. Croatia is part of the West and the thing that gives us the most strength is Croatia belonging to the western circle of civilisation with regard to values. Croatia naturally is also the Mediterranean and partially in the Balkans and our incumbent president and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) are directly and indirectly symbolically pushing us into the Balkans," Milanović added.

He said that his policy toward Serbia, when he becomes president, will be fair, contrary to what he said Serbia's unfair policy towards Croatia.

"There is no prejudice. We need to help our neighbours for our own interests, above all. However, I don't want everything to be brought down to a policy and low level of blackmail that Croatians are always called to before an election. Croatia is not exclusively the West but it needs to look to the West, that is where values, money and opportunities are. After all that is where our people are emigrating to," he concluded.

More news about Zoran Milanović can be found in the Politics section.

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