Sunday, 18 April 2021

Zagreb Mayoral Candidate: Wide Coalition Will Be Needed in City Assembly

April 18, 2021 - Zagreb mayoral candidate, Vesna Škare Ožbolt, has said that that it will be challenging to have a majority in the City Assembly after the 16 May local elections, so at a moment when Zagreb is faced with a crisis, she sees a need for a big coalition of all political blocs in the assembly.

Škare Ožbolt said that carrying out projects such as Zagreb on the River Sava and the leveling of the railway tracks would take more than four years, but she would launch them during the first term.

There is still money even in these times of crisis, but the question is where that money goes, whether it ends up in private pockets or is used to improve citizens' lives. Someone has already calculated that 20% of the budget is spent on corruption, and 20% is HRK 3 billion. That is an enormous amount of money, she said in the interview which Hina published on Sunday.

My projects are ambitious, aimed at quickly raising Zagreb. Zagreb is in the biggest crisis ever, and it is devastated, damaged in the (22 march 2020) earthquake, and economically lags behind other European cities. That must change, said this 59-year-old lawyer.

My first goal is to carry out the city's reconstruction, raise living standards, start developing the city through infrastructure projects, and upgrade communal infrastructure in all parts of the city. Then, I want to bring the transport infrastructure back to normal, lower the railway below ground level. My goal is also to adopt a complete General Urban Plan because a complete GUP has not been adopted since 1971.

Today, the railway divides Zagreb. If it is placed underground, you get a green belt from Sesvete to the western part of the city. There is money from European funds for that, she claims

The second big project is putting the River Sava into the city's function. Zagreb is the only city with a river it does not use. First, mini-hydro power plants would be set up to control the river's flow. This project has indeed existed for years, but it is not at all clear to me why no funds have been requested for it, she added.

As soon as the assembly is formed, we will overhaul the City Administration and create a mega-institute for the city's reconstruction that will include all smaller offices, said Škare Ožbolt, former justice minister in the Ivo Sanader government.

Škare Ožbolt left the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)  when the party lost the 2020 parliamentary elections. Together with the former foreign minister, Mate Granić, she founded the Democratic Centre (DC) party and was a minister in the Sanader government as a DC official from late December 2003 until February 2006.

In the mid-1990s, she engaged the negotiations with local Serb rebels on the peaceful reintegration of eastern Croatia into the country's constitutional and legal system.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Croatia Local Elections To Cost Over €13.3m, Says State Election Commission Rep

April 18, 2021 - The upcoming  Croatia local elections on 16 May should cost over 100 million. A member of the State Election Commission (DIP), Slaven Hojski, said on Saturday, announcing that the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) would issue recommendations for local elections.

"These are costly elections," Hojski said in an interview with the HRT public broadcaster, underscoring that the elections will be held in two rounds: on 16 May and the runoffs for mayors and county heads two weeks later, 30 May.

Hojski told the HRT broadcaster that the government had endorsed the DIP''s proposal to increase fees for polling committee members.

He said that there would be about 14 million ballots in the first round, 30 tonnes of paper will cost about five million kunas. Ten million kuna is for IT support, and 65,000 polling committee members at 6,500 polling stations receive fees. The chairperson is paid HRK 450, and a polling committee member is paid HRK 350 per round.

The fees for seven thousand election commission members range from two to six thousand kunas, depending on the number of polling stations in their remit.

As for the fact that the elections are taking place during the coronavirus pandemic, Hojski said that two recommendations of the Croatian Public Health Institute were in force -- regarding the work of electoral bodies and collecting signatures.

"Last year, the situation (concerning the parliamentary elections) was similar, and DIP received candidacies in the Croatian parliament. They (candidacies) are submitted at 576 locations, which is a bigger challenge since we have that many local, regional government units. All our polling committees have been instructed on how to organize work concerning the pandemic, and I think there will be no problems," he said.

As for collecting signatures, which began yesterday and will last until midnight on April 29, the HZJZ issued recommendations according to which stands for collecting signatures. People must keep their distance while queuing. Face masks are obligatory outdoors and a disinfectant must be provided.

Hojski said that DIP would issue guidelines on how people in isolation or self-isolation will vote for the entire election day, 16 May.

He said that those people would cast their ballot in the same way as in last year's parliamentary polls, so those in isolation and self-isolation would report to the election commission three days before the elections or to the polling committee on the day of the election.

Representatives of the polling committee will come to their house, and those infected will vote with the help of a trusted person, and polling committee members will not be in direct contact with them.

Polling station in tents in earthquake-hit areas

Hojski said that DIP had detected 51 polling stations out of function in Sisak-Moslavina County due to the 29 December earthquake, and a replacement location, a tent, has been found for 26 of them.

"The polling station will be in a tent with all logistics, and civil protection will provide tents, logistics, generators, lighting, and everything needed for the elections to be held properly," he said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.