Sunday, 21 March 2021

HNS Presents Its Candidate for Osijek Mayor

ZAGREB, 21 March 2021 - The parliamentary Croatian People's Party (HNS) on Sunday presented its candidate for Osijek mayor, the head of the party's branch in that eastern Slavonian city and former deputy mayor, Vladimir Ham.

HNS leader Stjepan Čuraj said Ham knew how the city operated and how concrete political initiatives at the local level were shaped as well as that he was a deputy mayor during the first term of Mayor Ivan Vrkić, when numerous projects were launched.

Ham said that he wanted to open Osijek to young people "because we can see that the city has been developing in an entirely new direction, including IT industry. We do not want to build factories but rather create conditions for people with ideas, who want to work and know exactly what they are doing," Ham said, among other things.

Local elections are to be held on May 16.

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

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Predrag Štromar Nominated for New HNS President

ZAGREB, March 14, 2020 - Predrag Štromar has been nominated for the new president of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), the HNS, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said on Saturday.

On Friday, the HNS Presidency unanimously decided on candidates for the leading positions in the party.

"As of today, I'm officially embarking on the HNS presidential campaign with a clear message - I'll roll up my sleeves and restore people's trust in politics and the HNS," Štromar said after a Presidency session.

He added that, with his team, he would offer real solutions to people's real problems.

Incumbent HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak said earlier he would not run for re-election.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Vrdoljak Will Not Run for Re-Election as HNS President

ZAGREB, March 8, 2020 - Ivan Vrdoljak, the leader of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, says in an interview for Hina that he will not run for the party president in the HNS election on 19 April and that in the event that Miro Kovac assumes the HDZ leadership, the HNS will leave the ruling majority.

Vrdoljak explained in the interview published on Sunday that he would leave the position of the party leader to enable " a new future of the HNS" and that he would be politically active in the HNS branch in his hometown of Osijek.

He declined to specify whom he would prefer as his successor at the helm of the party. Currently there are two possible candidates: Milorad Batinić, who is the HNS parliamentary bench whip and Alen Leverić, a party official in Varaždin.

As for the decision of the HNS to join the government after the MOST party left the cabinet of Prime Minister and HDZ chief Andrej Plenković three years ago, and the comments that it adversely affected the HNS approval ratings, Vrdoljak says that there are two reasons why he can be satisfied with the coalition and the HNS performance in the government.

In this context he says that the government has seen to it that the education is now better than three years ago, referring to the reform conducted by Minister Blaženka Divjak, who had been nominated to that post by the HNS.

Another reason for Vrdoljak's satisfaction is the performance of Construction Minister Predrag Štromar (HNS), since "20,000 families have been provided with their homes either through the state-subsidised mortgages or through the state-subsidised construction of the so-called POS flats."

Vrdoljak admitted that forging the coalition with the HDZ in 2017 was "difficult, stressful and challenging but it had its purpose."

He says that in the event that MP Miro Kovać wins the election for the HDZ president, the HNS will leave the coalition.

I think that it is more than clear that in the event of Kovać's victory in the intra-party election, not only the HNS but many others will have no space for cooperation with the HDZ," said Vrdoljak.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

HNS to Run in Parliamentary Election Independently

ZAGREB, March 1, 2020 - Croatian People's Party (HNS) president Ivan Vrdoljak said on Sunday the HNS would run independently in this year's parliamentary election, after which it would talk with those who would not bring Croatia back to ideological divisions and WWII.

He was responding to reporters' questions in Osijek about the situation in the coalition with the ruling HDZ and with whom the HNS would form a coalition after the next election given that "the SDP has renounced them and perhaps not even HNS voters have accepted the coalition with the HDZ."

Vrdoljak said the HNS ran in parliamentary elections in a coalition with the SDP (Social Democrats) in 2003 and 2007 and alone before that, just as it would now.

"After the election, we will talk with those who won't return us to ideological divisions, to history and World War Two, whose main policy won't be to hate someone and not recognise their freedom but who will pull Croatia forward."

Asked if the reference to going back was meant for the HDZ, Vrdoljak said it was meant "for everyone who gets involved in politics and whose main interest is that we should resemble some historical Croatia, which I don't think was all that glorious."

He said "we really don't need... people who will say that 'For the homeland ready' is a very polite and civilised greeting, and that the Ustasha movement had little anomalies but was nice. That's sick. I don't want that to be either discussed in Croatia anymore or be the guiding state policy."

Vrdoljak said the HNS decided to enter into a coalition with the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) to prevent a serious political crisis in Croatia, dozens of companies from going bankrupt and thousands of people from losing their jobs.

Asked if the coalition was strong, he said it was a much bigger challenge to enter the coalition than it would be to leave it. He believes they have performed as expected because, he said, a school reform has been launched after 30 years, employment and GDP have gone up, and the Agrokor conglomerate was saved from bankruptcy.

Vrdoljak was speaking to the press ahead of an election assembly of the HNS Osijek-Baranja County branch.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

HNS Believes Government Will Support Education Minister in Parliament Vote

ZAGREB, December 10, 2019 - Ivan Vrdoljak of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), which nominated Blaženka Divjak as Education Minister, said on Tuesday that he believed that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković would not be deluded by petty politics of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which launched a no confidence vote against Divjak.

"I am sure that the prime minister would not fall for the politicking of the SDP," Vrdoljak told the press while coming to a meeting of the ruling coalition in Zagreb.

Asked whether the HNS would leave the coalition if the PM insisted on Divjak's resignation, Vrdoljak said that his party was concentrated on the future of the educational reform which was being politically carried out by the HNS and professionally by Minister Divjak.

The reform can be successful only if it is conducted "in this package," he added.

When asked last Friday whether he would defend Science and Education Minister Divjak from the opposition's no-confidence motion, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said "First things first."

Reporters reminded him that a few days ago he said he would wait for the motion to be filed, but Plenković said the motion was yet to be added to parliament's agenda.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

HNS Chief Vague About Whether His Party Will Stay in Government

ZAGREB, October 30, 2019 - Croatian People's Party (HNS) leader Ivan Vrdoljak said at a news conference on Tuesday that the ministers from this party would not attend the government meeting on Thursday if the draft budget, which is expected to be on the agenda, did not include allocations for education-sector employees.

He told national radio that the HNS, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, "will not make a charade" of Croatian politics and budget adoption.

He went on to say that coalition governments "are a matter of social intelligence and compromise, and national interests in particular moments".

Vrdoljak said that he would not allow, and he believes that neither would the prime minister, such a scenario to happen in which a part of the government he has chosen is against the proposal he has put forward.

"We will definitely not sit at the government meeting and then vote against the draft budget," he said. "We are either a part of the government or we are not any more. There is no place for chagrin."

He said that the HNS was insisting on the resolution of the issue of higher salaries for education-sector employees through a change of their job complexity indices.

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) led by PM Andrej Plenković is proposing a rise of the base wage for public sector employees.

The HDZ has said that they are open to talks on all issues but that it would not be blackmailed.

Some media outlets see this as the end of the HDZ-HNS coalition.

On Tuesday, the Jutarnji List daily speculated that if the HNS voted against the draft budget for 2020, it would be thrown out of the government just as the Bridge party had been.

The daily quoted sources from the HDZ as saying that this time the party would not give in to blackmail.

The budget for next year is expected to be discussed on Thursday, even though the HNS has asked that the discussion be delayed until an agreement is reached on a wage increase for teachers, the deadline for the government to formulate the budget being November 15.

According to the daily, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić told his colleagues in the government on Monday that the budget for next year would be discussed on Thursday, however, a source in the HDZ leadership, even though he is in favour of such an option himself, has said that it is not 100% certain.

More politics news can be found in the dedicated section.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

HNS Threatens to Leave Government Unless Teachers' Wages Are Raised

ZAGREB, October 10, 2019 - The leader of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), Ivan Vrdoljak, said on Wednesday evening that the party's MPs were not going to vote for the 2020 budget unless it provided for a 4.3 percent increase of the job complexity index for teachers.

The HNS will not stay in the government unless the job complexity index and teachers' wages are raised because this is the party's priority, Vrdoljak told the press after a meeting of the HNS leadership.

After the process of conciliation between the government and teachers' unions has failed, the unions have announced a strike in all primary and secondary schools for Thursday because the government did not meet their demands for an increase of the job complexity index.

The secretary-general of the ruling HDZ, Gordan Jandroković, said on Wednesday there would be more talks on the ultimatum by the Croatian People's Party (HNS) that it would leave the ruling coalition if wages in education were not raised, adding that the HDZ would not accept ultimatums and that it was ready for every option.

There's no need for anyone to make ultimatums because that's not the way to arrive at a solution, Jandroković told reporters after a ruling coalition meeting which discussed HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak's statement that his party would leave the coalition unless next year's budget envisaged a 4.3% rise of the job complexity index in education.

Jandroković would not speculate on whether the government could survive without the HNS. "Talks are still possible, then we'll see... The HDZ is the coalition's central party. We have understanding for the positions of our coalition partners. We are willing to talk. But I repeat, we are ready for every option if necessary."

As for a strike in elementary and high schools announced for Thursday, he called for reason. "We are willing to raise salaries, which can be seen in the three years of the Andrej Plenković cabinet's term during which average salaries have gone up 12%," Jandroković said, adding that the base pay in education had gone up "by about 11.5%."

He said that under the government's latest proposal, salaries would go up another 4%, making the total in three years about 15%. "It's a marked rise. Of course, if possible, it would be even more. However, we must also take into account state finances, the viability of the financial system. There are police officers, there are customs officers, there's a whole set of sectors which would also ask for higher wages. We can give only how much the state has."

The ruling coalition also discussed a new schedule for national holidays and memorial days, and Jandroković said the partners supported the HDZ's motion.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Međimurje County Prefect Resigns from HNS Party

ZAGREB, October 1, 2019 - The head of Međimurje County and leader of the county branch of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), Matija Posavec, announced at a special press conference in Čakovec on Tuesday that he had resigned from the party after being a member for 15 years.

He said that the reasons for his departure were substantial differences in views between him and the party, which is a junior partner in the ruling coalition.

"Realising where things are going, I have decided to leave after months of attempts and warnings that things should go in a different direction, that we should introduce new values into Croatian politics, but there was not enough will for that. I gave it a lot of chances, but this is not the political path I think both Međimurje and Croatia should follow," Posavec said.

He said that two years ago, when the HNS entered into the coalition with the HDZ, he had decided to stay although he was opposed to that decision and wanted to change things from within.

"I was trying for these two years. Things came to a head at the European Parliament election after which I made it clear in public that we have to build a new party on a new political paradigm, that we need to change both our leadership and our direction if we want a better future. Unfortunately, my pleas fell on deaf ears," Posavec said.

He said that he wanted to bring new values into Croatian politics and wanted to fight for a better future. He was not specific about his political future after his term as county head expires, but stressed that he was not going to join any other party.

Posavec said he would focus on his work in Međimurje County and on building a platform for a strong regional policy in northern Croatia.

Asked who would take over the leadership of the party's county organisation, he said that this would be decided by the party and that his duties could be assumed by his deputies.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

HNS Won't Back Any Presidential Candidate

ZAGREB, September 22, 2019 - The Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, will launch an initiative together with constitutional and legal experts proposing that the President of the Republic should be elected by parliament in the future, and hence it will not support any of the candidates in the forthcoming presidential election, HNS leader Ivan Vrdoljak said on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the party's main committee, Vrdoljak said that the HNS would call on its membership and sympathisers to go to the polls and vote "according to their conscience, neither extremely left nor extremely right."

He said he was confident that the party's membership would be guided by liberal values and the fight for an open and tolerant society and would vote for candidates that would lead the country forward while excluding populists and extremists.

Vrdoljak said that the HNS leadership had concluded three weeks ago that none of the present presidential candidates would articulate liberal, tolerant and open policies. He said that the HNS gave priority to party and parliamentary elections, adding that it was against increasing presidential powers and that the election of the President of the Republic by parliament would be a mark of democratic progress.

The party's main committee also decided that it was necessary to further strengthen parliamentary democracy as one of the basic pillars of the Croatian political system, rather than strengthening the presidential system.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 26 August 2019

HNS Will Not Support Current Presidential Candidates

ZAGREB, August 26, 2019 - Ivan Vrdoljak, the leader of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said that he would not support any of the presidential hopefuls who have so far announced their candidacy for the forthcoming presidential election in the country.

Vrdoljak said at a news conference that all the current candidates "are too much left or too much right oriented".

The HNS can give support only to the "civil centrist policies and conduct", and that means no one at the right or left side of the political spectrum.

In late September, the HNS main committee is expected to decide whether the party will propose its presidential candidate.

Asked by the press about criticism which Milorad Pupovac, who is at the helm of the SDSS party, levelled against Croatia, following the recent Knin incidents, Vrdoljak said that "Milorad Pupovac is not the reason why the masked men raided the cafes and beat Croatian citizens who were watching a TV broadcast of a football match. If they think so, then we have a problem in the society."

The Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) leader Pupovac has said in an interview with the Sarajevo-based web portal that Croatia is turning into a factor of instability in the area of the former Yugoslavia.

Pupovac, whose party is a junior member of the ruling coalition, said in the interview which was published on Saturday, that a state of affairs in the inter-ethnic tolerance in Croatia "is not good", insisting that intolerance towards other ethnicities is being promoted.

"The political stance of the HNS is minorities' rights concern the standard of the development of a society, and the job of the majority is to show that we are a modern and progressive nation," said Vrdoljak at the conference held in Karlovac after a three-day team building gathering of party members.

The HNS will hold an intra-party election convention in the spring 2020, and Vrdoljak said that he would not run for any position in the party. He said he would continue his political career as just s an ordinary member of the party in his hometown of Osijek.

The HNS leader said that the party's political priority in the coming period is to make sure that salaries of 68,000 employees in the Croatian primary and secondary school system are raised.

He said that the party would advocate an average rise of 600 kuna.

More HNS news can be found in the Politics section.

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