Sunday, 1 December 2019

Dejan Kovač Submits 16,000 Signatures Supporting Presidential Candidacy

ZAGREB, December 1, 2019 - Economist Dejan Kovač, who is running for president as an independent candidate with the support of the HSLS party, on Sunday delivered to the State Election Commission over 16,000 signatures backing his candidacy and said that, unlike most of the other candidates, he did not advocate policies of division but of unity.

Speaking to Hina, Kovač said the emphasis in his campaign was on civil liberties.

"History teaches us that the price of freedom is high and that we have to fight for it, whether civil, political or economic freedom... It's high time all Croatian citizens united under one flag, the Croatian flag. We have no other homeland."

Kovač urged all citizens to vote in the presidential election "because on December 22 begins the struggle for Croatian democracy in which the only weapon is their vote."

HSLS president Dario Hrebak said, "We want to fight for a Croatia of knowledge and education, not of clientelism and corruption. We will strongly advocate a productive Croatia, not a bureaucratic Croatia."

He said they first and foremost advocated transparency in the management of public resources.

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

Monday, 11 November 2019

Presidential Candidate Dejan Kovač for Introducing Electronic Voting

ZAGREB, November 11, 2019 - Presidential candidate Dejan Kovač on Monday called for introducing electronic voting, saying it would increase the turnout both at home and abroad as well as enable the recently emigrated to vote who, he said, would not vote for the ruling HDZ or the opposition SDP.

Speaking at a press conference, Kovač called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to introduce electronic voting and give all Croatian citizens in Croatia and abroad equal voting rights.

The prerequisite already exists, the e-Citizens system, which has 750,000 users and all the necessary data security and encryption certificates, he said.

Other countries use electronic voting to make sure that all their citizens can vote, to prevent discrimination and to increase the number of people who vote, Kovac said.

He welcomed the government's intention to take over the Information System and Information Technologies Support Agency (APIS), which is owned by the City of Zagreb.

He added, however, that Plenković should introduce electronic voting already for this year's presidential election so that the APIS takeover "doesn't turn out to be a pure political trade, i.e. the bailout of Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić."

Kovač said electronic voting could make Croatia a more developed country, both technologically and democratically.

"If it's true that 300,000 citizens have emigrated, they certainly wouldn't vote for the HDZ or the SDP but for a third option, as they are bitter about the state because of their bad governments and bad policies," he said, adding that the HDZ won one vote among Croatians in Ireland in May's European elections.

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

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Presidential Candidate Kovač Calls for Prosecution of Corrupt Officials

ZAGREB, August 13, 2019 - Presidential candidate Dejan Kovač, who is supported by the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), said on Tuesday that three years had passed since the Security-Intelligence Agency's (SOA) report on corruption in the judiciary and that it was time perpetrators were prosecuted and security services enjoyed full autonomy in their work.

Noting that there had been much talk of changing presidential powers recently, Kovac told a news conference that he was not in favour of sudden changes because too much power in one person's hands in a young democracy could lead to autocracy.

"For a young democracy such as Croatia, it is not good that one person holds too much power in their hands because that can again result in autocratic leaders as those who were in power in the past century and they used the security system for personal benefit," said Kovač.

He stressed that he would advocate full autonomy for security services and the fight against corruption as the main problem in the country.

"If we look at SOA's official report of three years ago, we will see that dozens of senior office-holders in the judiciary are connected to criminal circles," he said.

He wondered what had changed in the past three years, noting that the purpose of security services was not to follow anyone's lovers but to work for the benefit of the state.

"If 90% of citizens have said that corruption is the main problem in the country, then it has to be dealt with. The president and the prime minister should say why nothing has been done in the three years since SOA's report," he said, noting that over the past three years Croatia had failed to prosecute even those officials who had stolen millions of kuna of public money so the question was when it would begin dealing with corruption in the judiciary.

"Corruption needs to be identified. If SOA has identified the problem, the authorities have to be asked why nothing has been done," Kovač said, noting that SOA had done its part of the job and that it was now up to the president and the prime minister to show the political will to deal with the problem.

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

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Kovač to Advocate Transparent Spending of Public Money as President

ZAGREB, August 7, 2019 - Independent presidential candidate Dejan Kovač, who is supported by the Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS), on Wednesday officially announced his presidential candidacy, saying that the transparent spending of public money started at the top and that it was crucial for productivity and for the fight against corruption.

"Corruption can be eradicated only through transparency, digitisation and political responsibility. Those elements, especially political responsibility, have not existed in recent years. How can we expect citizens to behave better if we do not set an example with our own actions," Kovač, an economist by profession, told a news conference.

He said that in the past five years he had been studying corruption in Croatia and that his research showed that 90% of citizens believed corruption at all levels of government was the country's main problem.

Kovac said that attempts to restore transparency and citizens' trust in state institutions, which had not been functioning properly for the past 30 years, was what had brought him and the HSLS mayor of Bjelovar, Dario Hrebak, together.

He said that during his term as president he would promote what Hrebak had introduced in Bjelovar - a project enabling citizens to see how money from the town budget was spent.

"They will tell you that there is no money for that. Yet there is money for a (publicly financed) concert by (singer Marko Perković) Thompson, worth half a million kuna. The cost of a single concert by Thompson equals the cost of three transparency applications for three towns that last forever," he said.

Kovač also said that as president, he would make the finances of the president's office more transparent and that he advocated a change of the diplomatic network to make it become the backbone of an export-oriented economy, with ambassadors receiving their salaries in two parts, one of which would be fixed while the other would vary depending on their performance.

HSLS deputy leader Hrebak said that Croatia needed people like Kovač, new people and people with results, expressing confidence that his and Kovac's plans were possible to implement.

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

Monday, 5 August 2019

Dejan Kovač of Princeton University Says to Run for President

ZAGREB, August 5, 2019 - Dejan Kovač, an economist at Princeton University, on Sunday announced his candidacy for Croatia's next president, saying that public procurement, pre-bankruptcy settlement procedures and government subsidies would be in the focus of his campaign.

Kovač's candidacy was supported by the Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS).

A member of the American Economic Association and the Royal Economic Society and the first Croat to work at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University, Kovac said his decision to announce his candidacy on the day when the 1995 military and police operation Storm, which liberated areas held by Croatian Serb rebels, was launched, was not accidental.

"It's time Croatian politicians who have created problems stopped selling us the better past, it's time we turned to the future. Those who have caused problems will certainly not solve them, they are interested solely in keeping the status quo and their posts," Kovač said, adding that Operation Storm had shown that change required courage.

Twenty-four years after Operation Strom, patriotism should be demonstrated with work and competence rather than by holding one's hand on the heart, said Kovač, who believes that he is the candidate of productive but quiet Croatians who work and fight honestly while being trampled on daily by those with political connections.

It is time the voice of that productive Croatia was heard loud and clear, he said, noting that was joining in the presidential race because he believed it was time citizens assumed responsibility and a more active role in society.

Public procurement, pre-bankruptcy settlement and subsidies will be in the focus of his campaign.

Pre-bankruptcy settlement proceedings reveal how poorly Croatia's business and judicial systems are organised, he said, adding that Croatia was the only country that did not want to make public who received subsidies.

"Those are the three instruments for siphoning money from the state budget. That Gordian knot can be cut with one blow, and the sword is transparency through digitisation," Kovač said.

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