Tuesday, 23 June 2020

PM: July 5 Remains Election Date

ZAGREB, June 23, 2020 - Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Andrej Plenkovic said on Tuesday that July 5 remains to be the date of the parliamentary election and that wise and smart balancing was needed to do good for the economy and protect the public healthcare system.

Asked by the press in Rijeka if the election date stayed the same, he said, "Of course it does. I don't understand how holding the election can even be brought into question."

He said the Electoral Commission was in charge of that. "No spins or, mainly opposition, arguments about some lack of safety. That isn't so. Croatia today, regardless of 20 or 19 cases, remains one of the three EU countries with the least active COVID-19 cases per million inhabitants and this is the message about Croatia as a safe country."

Plenkovic said he was tested for COVID-19 three times and that he could get tested every day if epidemiologists thought it was necessary.

He said experts clearly indicated that COVID-19 was at its lowest intensity during the summer and that everyone was much more skeptical about what the situation in the autumn would be like.

"That's why we decided, thinking of citizens' health safety, that we need the election and new legitimacy now when the disease is at its lowest intensity so that we can form the government and deal with economic and public health challenges in the autumn."

Plenkovic said the somewhat higher number of infections were localised and that it was necessary to once again increase the protection of hospitals and care facilities. "We have to learn to live with COVID-19 until there is a vaccine at a global level."

Asked about a recent tennis tournament in Zadar which caused an outbreak, he said it was necessary to see if the organisers had done all they should have but that their intention was very good, to bring the world's top players.

He said a couple of players and coaches were positive. "We'll see if there are other consequences. The first tests yesterday were quite good, it seems, as only one boy is positive."

As for his meeting with Serbian player Novak Djokovic, Plenkovic said, "We said hello. I thanked him for the tournament taking place in Zadar, we took photos and went our way. I think there is nothing to fear about that." The result of Djokovic's COVID-19 test is expected today.

Asked if the outbreak could cost Zadar the tourist season, he said it could not. "It will cost it as much as the media spin it, so be a little more reasonable. There are some people who badly want everything to be negative, and our task is to do everything for things to be positive in Croatia, not in terms of COVID-19 testing, but tourism and development."

Plenkovic said another lockdown would result in no revenue or economic activity. "We have to be wise about that and smartly balance to do good for the Croatian economy while protecting the healthcare system."

Asked if measures on the border with Serbia might be tightened, he said the national civil protection authority would see about that. If a large number of infections are confirmed to be originating from a country, Serbia for example, measures at the border can be tightened, he added.

Asked about the Slovenian health minister's statement that he was worried about the daily rise in new infections in Croatia, Plenkovic said Slovenians were among the most numerous tourists in Croatia and that the opening of borders was agreed to with Slovenia before any other country.

"It's normal for the minister of health to follow the situation in other countries, just as we are. I believe we will keep the number of new infections under control and that we will ensure the normal movement of Slovenian citizens in Croatia and Croatian citizens in Slovenia. That's in the interest of both our countries."

Saturday, 20 June 2020

RESTART Coalition Holds Election Rally in Split

ZAGREB, June 20, 2020 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) and RESTART coalition leader Davor Bernardic spoke at an election rally in Split on Saturday, noting that the coastal city was unsafe to live in many regards.

That, he said, refers primarily to violence, lack of jobs, as well as the fate of people who had lived or were living off tourism.

He noted that Croatia as a whole was an unsafe country, with many pensioners having low pensions.

"Many people in Croatia lack safety because they are losing their jobs due to the government's belated decisions... permanent seasonal workers lack safety as well and the unemployed will not have any chance to find work this year."

Also unsafe are members of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities because they are exposed to growing violence, intolerance and hate, he said.

He also noted that 150,000 young people had emigrated from the country due to lack of prospects and that there was also a lack of legal security.

Bernardic said one of his coalition's main goals was the reform of the judiciary to make Croatia a safe country for all its citizens as well as for entrepreneurs.

He said that if it came to power, the RESTART coalition would abolish investment taxes as well as income tax on wages that amount to less than HRK 5,000.

The SDP leader also announced a 10% VAT rate in tourism and catering as well as the adoption of measures to retain jobs, including shorter working hours.

He announced the abolishment of the lump sum tax for small renters and pledged a further reduction of the tax burden on the tourism sector.

Asked how election rallies would look like considering a recent increase in the number of new coronavirus cases, Bernardic said that they had warned about potential risks but that "the government and (PM) Plenkovic made the decision, so responsibility rests with them."

The SDP believes that Croatia has to prepare much better for a second wave of COVID-19.

Commenting on a campaign during which many women have posted their photos on social networks showing them with their middle finger held up at Miroslav Skoro's statements about abortion and rape, Bernardic said that his coalition's view was that women should have the right to choose.

"Such statements push us back to the 19th century and it is good that we have ratified the Istanbul Convention and I believe Skoro and Bridge will support its implementation in the next parliament," said Bernardic.

He said that the RESTART coalition was willing to form a coalition with anyone who passes the election threshold and shares the worldview of RESTART member-parties.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Political Analyst Raspudic To Run In Election As Bridge Candidate

ZAGREB, May 24, 2020 - Nino Raspudic, a professor of Italian language and literature at Zagreb's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who is more known as a political analyst and columnist, said on Sunday that he would be a candidate on a slate of the Bridge party in the 5 July elections.

Announcing his political engagement in the next parliamentary elections, Raspudic said in the HTV's talks show on Sunday that he had been writing articles as a political columnist for newspapers for more than 10 years.

"This has been a sort of political work. It was not engagement party-wise, however, I have made some impact on shaping political discourse in Croatia," said this university professor, born in Mostar in 1975.

Raspudic said that "the democratic deficit" in Croatia, in the European Union and globally, when it comes to election processes, was the main reason why he had decided to run in the elections.

Raspudic's announcement ensued a few days after the Bridge party said that his wife Marija Selak Raspudic, a philosopher and political analyst, decided to run in the elections as an independent candidate on its slates.

The Raspudic couple has been perceived in the public as a reinforcement for Bridge after several officials and parliamentarians left the party or said they would not run in the next election, including Slaven Dobrovic, a former environmental protection minister, Ines Strenja, Ivana Nincevic-Lesnadric, and Robert Podolnjak.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

SDP Chief Retorts To Plenkovic: Vote For HDZ Is Vote For Corruption

ZAGREB, May 23, 2020 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic said on Saturday in Dubrovnik that voting for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) meant voting for corruption.

Responding to Plenkovic's statement in an interview that a vote for Miroslav Skoro was a vote for the SDP, the opposition leader thus reiterated his accusations against the HDZ.

He went on to say that during the four-year of the term of the current government Plenkovic "has hidden behind Brussels, his aides, various task forces, the virus, and crisis management teams."

Commenting on Plenkovic's statement that the ban on Sunday work will be lifted if it is established that it is no longer required epidemiologically, but that he is for Sunday to be a non-working day, the SDP chief said that Plenkovic could not decide whether to have working or non-working Sundays.

"He could not take a position on important decisions for Croatia. Therefore, he cannot be at the helm of Croatia, and he will not be after 5 July," Bernardic said at a news conference in Dubrovnik before an SDP meeting.

Bernardic accused the Plenkovic government of lack of care for the tourism sector and promised that as soon as the SDP won the election, that party would reduce Value Added Tax in tourism and hospitality to 10%. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Vlaho Orepić Discusses Issue of Fake Residences and Voting System

Independent parliamentarian Vlaho Orepić discussed various issues surrounding the Croatian political and social structure, claiming that ''the failure to properly deal with fake (fictitious) residences by the authorities is politically motivated and purposely left unresolved with the aim of influencing the outcomes of the upcoming elections,''

The fact that there is no real intention of the current authorities to remove fake residences from the electoral register and bring some order [to that situation] and accordingly, Croatia conducts a policy of banalisation when it comes to the conditions for obtaining Croatian citizenship were grounds for a press conference held by independent MP Vlaho Orepić.

On Tuesday, February the 5th, 2019, on the premises of the Croatian Parliament, Vlaho Orepić held a press conference on which he once again pointed out to the media and the public the problem of fake residence registration.


The fact that this issue remains unresolved means people who have their permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia are denied the right to elect their own authorities, and Croatian citizens living outside the homeland (whose voting rights are indisputable and come directly from what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (Ustav Republike Hrvatske) are also deceived in this way.

The conclusion which has now been arrived to, given that a response from the relevant minister wasn't given even after the issue was brought up in parliament, is that there is simply no sincere and real intention of the current government to even try to tackle an extremely important issue so that honest elections can be carried out in the future. Orepić has therefore also called upon political and social structures to take a stance and engage with the aim of protecting legality of upcoming elections and democratic processes in the Republic of Croatia.

"What worries me, and what has inspired a series of both formal and informal reactions from me, even this press conference, is the fact that false (fictitious) residences are politically motivated and protected with the aim of influencing the outcomes of the electoral process(es) in the Republic of Croatia. My goal is to put an end to fake residence [registration] and the type of politics which permits that same cheating in the elections. My goal is fair elections,'' stated Orepić.

According to new statistics, Croatia has fewer than four million inhabitants (approximately 3.750 million), according to official data we can count almost 4,175,000 people with health insurance and as many as 3,746,286 voters. The fact that the number of voters isn't actually correct has been indicated by the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), published in July 2017, which states that just children under the age of fourteen alone which are registered amount to 600,000. It's totally clear that Croatia has no accurate and publicly available list of citizens and voters, nor does it have the political will to have this problem solved.

From the mentioned numerical indicators, as well as from the legal definition of residence, which reads as - residence is the place and address in the Republic of Croatia where the person permanently resides in order to exercise his/her rights and obligations related to living interests such as family, professional, economic, social, cultural and social other interests - it's clear that a lot of people who don't meet these conditions have been entered into the electoral register.

They are listed [on the electoral register] on the basis of their false registrations of residence in the Republic of Croatia and thus, in addition to voting and other rights, they enjoy economic ones which come with residing in the Republic of Croatia.


That this is politically motivated has also been indicated by the fact that the second day after Vlaho Orepić's dismissal as Minister of the Interior, the disclosure and deletion procedure of false residence registrations in the Republic of Croatia (mainly regarding citizens from neighbouring Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) was suspended. Activities related to the abolition of fake residences are a legal obligation of the chief of police administrations, but in spite of that fact, all of those who were engaged in carrying out this work were prevented from continuing with it.

While Vlaho Orepić was the Minister of the Interior, in just two and a half months, about 45,000 fake residence registrations were removed, and over the next four months that number rose to 75,000. The estimates are that at the present moment, there are at least 150,000 fictitious residence registrations in the Republic of Croatia, which brings a whole range of election process outcomes as well as the legality of the authorities at all levels into question.

"I hope all political, judicial and other social structures will realise the importance of this issue. From the government, the security services and the justice system, I expect an urgent reaction, just as was done with the recent attempt to try to discredit the Minister of Agriculture (Tomislav Tolušić). I expect from the umbrella of war veteran associations to stand up for the legality of the election process in the Republic of Croatia, especially with the engagement of Mr. Josip Đakić as a parliamentary representative and as a war veteran.

I expect the support of the President of the Croatian Parliament, Mr. Gordan Jandroković, and especially the two vice-presidents Mr. Milijan Brkić and Mr. Božo Petrov because they know very well what I'm talking about and what I'm fighting for. I also expect the support of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to whom this issue must be in focus because it's in the interest of citizens, and all the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, and without whom we cannot even begin to talk about the rule of law as the basis for the survival of every single legal state,'' concluded Vlaho Orepić, MP.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

How To Solve Political Apathy

Sunday, 14 May 2017

A Love Letter From An Old Hater

TCN's Tanja Radmilo gives us her take on island politics, and it seems a new breeze is blowing...

Monday, 13 June 2016

Council of Sinj Local Committee Election - Correction in Results

The election results are in from the recent election for members of the local committee of the Council of Sinj - but there is a correction!

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