Friday, 23 August 2019

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović Spends 30 Million Kuna Less Than Ivo Josipović

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Jadranka Dozan writes on the 22nd of August, 2019, in her four and a half years in office as Croatian President, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and the President's Office cost Croatia's taxpayers 155.8 million kuna, while in the same period, 186 million kuna was spent on former president Ivo Josipović during his term.

The Croatian Government's budget expenditures reached 66.9 billion kuna in the first half of this year, and this figure suggests spending is within the previously announced annual plan of 140 billion kuna.

The half-yearly realisation is therefore now at 47.7 percent of the annual plan, but as the budget for 2019 has been increased, when compared to last year and with those 67 billion kuna included, it represents an increase of about five billion kuna in total.

Most departments and government bodies are currently spending at a pace slightly below what was initially planned. Some of this is likely to do with the Ministry of Finance and the troublesome Uljanik guarantees and the European Parliament elections.

Since the first elections are presidential ones, and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is often under the auspices of the public precisely through the prism of costs (especially when it comes to her travel), it remains to be noted that the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia's expenditures amounted to 15.7 million in the first six months of 2019, equal to about 240,000 kuna less than last year.

As previously mentioned, when considering the entire budget mandate so far, President Grabar-Kitarović's office has cost Croatia's taxpayers a total of 155.8 million kuna over the last four and a half years.

At the same time, for the four-and-a-half-year term of former President Ivo Josipović, the Office of the President cost the taxpayer 30 million kuna more, with costs of 186 million kuna (208 million kuna in all of those five years).

Thus, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's office has annually spent about seven million kuna less than the predecessor.

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

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Conservative NGO Loses Suit against Former President Josipović

ZAGREB, June 23, 2019 - The non-governmental organisation Vigilare, led by Catholic activist Vice Batarelo, has lost a legal case against former president Ivo Josipović who it claimed discriminated against Catholic believers.

The Supreme Court ruled in April that by saying that "Croatia is a secular state, not a Catholic jamahiriya" Josipović did not disturb or discriminate against the Catholic faithful. It said that his statement may have hurt Roman Catholics but did not put them in a less favourable position in relation to other groups.

The dispute arose after Josipović posted an interview by Ivica Maštruko, a member of the HRT public broadcaster's programming council, on his Facebook page ahead of the Catholic holiday of the Assumption, in which he said that in its programmes the HRT was currying favour with the Church. In an ensuing debate, Josipovic responded to one of the Facebook users that "Croatia is a secular state, not a Catholic jamahiriya," which prompted Batarelo to bring a lawsuit against him to protect the dignity, sentiments and interests of the Catholics in Croatia.

More news about the conservative movement can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Will Former President Ivo Josipović Run Again?

ZAGREB, January 27, 2019 - The former president of Croatia and leader of the non-parliamentary Forward Croatia party, Ivo Josipović, announced on Saturday that next week he would begin talks on merging his party with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Speaking in an interview with Croatian Radio, Josipović said that he was not entering into talks with the SDP to be the SDP's presidential candidate, adding that he would support former SDP leader and prime minister Zoran Milanović in the presidential race if he showed that he was able to defeat the incumbent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović at the ballot box.

Josipović said that his talks on joining the Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) had ended in failure because that party wanted the new party to be predominantly liberal rather than social democratic, while the SDP had recognised the need for uniting leftist liberal opposition parties. He said he was certain that this process would continue and that talks would be launched with two more parties.

Josipović said that the moves made by SDP leader Davor Bernardić to unite similar centre-left parties were very good. "The mood in the SDP about my return is very positive, despite a few dissenting voices," he said, announcing that a majority of 1,100 members of his party would join the SDP.

Josipović resigned from the SDP after becoming President of Croatia early in 2010. Five years on, he ran for a second term in office but was defeated by the incumbent president Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, who was nominated by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). He did not return to the SDP then, but instead formed the Forward Croatia party.

More news on political developments in Croatia can be found in the special section.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Former President Josipović to Return to SDP

ZAGREB, January 23, 2019 - After negotiating his possible entry into the opposition's Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS) party for three months, Ivo Josipović, a former Croatian president and the current leader of the non-parliamentary party "Go-Forward, Croatia – Progressive Alliance," said Wednesday that he had abandoned the project of joining GLAS and that he would again join the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Following the latest developments, GLAS leader Anka Mrak Taritaš told reporters that they should ask Josipović if he had negotiated his admission to GLAS with a hidden agenda, and added that her party would like to be "a place of gathering."

"We do not make promises, we do not blackmail or have hidden agendas, and after the negotiations Mr. Josipović said that he is after all a social democrat, and that the SDP is much closer to him, which is all right, people go where they feel better," said Mrak Taritaš. She said that her party would remain open to the SDP once the biggest opposition party stablised itself.

According to Mrak-Taritaš, in the event that Josipović is again the SDP presidential candidate, the GLAS-led Amsterdam Coalition will analyse the options to establish who of the prospective challengers stands the best chance to unseat the current president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

Josipović, the third Croatian president who was in office from mid-February 2010 to mid-February 2015 and a former SDP official, ran for the second term but was defeated by the incumbent president who was nominated by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ). Grabar-Kitarović's first term expires in a year, however, she has not yet explicitly stated if she would run again.

Krešo Beljak of the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) said that Josipović's return to the SDP was four years late. He should have returned to the SDP after he gambled away a certain election victory, said Beljak whose party is a member of the Amsterdam Coalition. Beljak said that he was sorry to see that Josipović had wasted away his political career.

Predrag Matić of the SDP said that he was glad to hear Josipovic was returning to the SDP.

Mirando Mrsić, who used to be the head of Josipović's campaign team, said that the left-of-centre option should propose a candidate that can defeat Grabar-Kitarović and that he believed that it could be Zoran Milanović, a former SDP leader.

More news on former president Josipović can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 26 November 2018

What is Proper Constitutional Role of the President?

ZAGREB, November 26, 2018 - A round table on the constitutional role of the President of the Republic in public and political life in Croatia was held in Zagreb on Monday, featuring former presidents Stjepan Mesić and Ivo Josipović, as well as the leader of the opposition Civic Liberal Alliance (GLAS), Anka Mrak Taritaš.

Mrak Taritaš said that the incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović had turned out to be "fake news". "At the time of the election, she appeared quite democratic, while today she is completely different. We have to draw a lesson from this," the GLAS leader said, adding that the current president had only seen her own role through approval ratings and had been campaigning since the start of her term in office.

Mrak Taritaš said that whenever Grabar-Kitarović went on a trip somewhere, she was "ashamed for her", because, unlike her predecessors Josipović and Mesić, the decisions she made were "leading Croatia backwards."

The GLAS leader said it was vitally important that the opposition field a joint candidate for the next presidential election a year from now "to stand up to this madness of populism." For her, the best candidate would be someone from the political centre, "neither from the far left nor from the far right, with political eros and a clear personality to stop the presidential role being reduced to the level of show-business, which has been introduced by Grabar-Kitarović."

Mrak-Taritaš said that the opposition candidate should be a man to avoid the campaign turning into a "who has a better dress or longer eyelashes" contest. "There are important, crucial moments, and I think this is one such moment, when one should put one's ego aside and concentrate on the goal of winning the presidential election," she said.

Mesić and Josipović spoke of their experience during their presidential terms, with Mesić saying that the most difficult decision he had made was when he sent 12 generals into retirement after they presented "a political pamphlet" in the media. "The gist of that pamphlet was: 'We have successfully defended Croatia, we will decide what will happen in it.' That's why I had to react by ordering their retirement and I think I did the right thing," Mesić said.

Josipović said that his most difficult task was to mend relations with neighbours, because when he took office relations with Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were very bad. He recalled that his first official trip abroad was to Bosnia and Herzegovina where he managed to take representatives of the country's main ethnic groups, Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats, to war crimes sites to pay respects to the victims.

When Josipović returned to Zagreb, he encountered the dissatisfaction of the government and generals, but an opinion poll showed that 75 percent of the public supported his speech in Sarajevo. Soon, he also managed to establish good relations with Serbian president Boris Tadić, even though Tadić had refused to attend Josipović's inauguration over Croatia's recognition of Kosovo.

"Unfortunately, it has turned out that something done in one term in office is not forever. I think that Croatia's present policy towards neighbours is wrong," Josipović said, noting that he was not considering running for president again.

Josipović said he was strongly opposed to the idea of the President of the Republic being elected in parliament. "It's very important not to keep all eggs in the same basket, especially in our cryptopresidential system. We have an almighty prime minister who decides about everything. The President should not be given new powers, but should operationalise the existing ones. In times of crisis, it is important for the President to be independent, and that is possible only if he or she is elected directly," he said.

Josipović said that if he were the President, he would go to the Marrakesh conference next month, adding that he could not see why Croatia was afraid of taking in refugees. He said that those were "the fears of the narrow-minded nationalist right."

Mesić said that he, too, thought that the President should not be elected directly for some time, because if he or she were elected by parliament, the ruling parties would be able to dictate how the President should use his or her powers.

"We need a President, but not one in a checkerboard jersey. Imagine if I had barged into a women's locker room, everyone would have said they I have gone mad," Mesić said. He criticised the current president's policy of dislocating her office to different towns as nonsense.

Mesić called for putting a stop to the glorification of fascism and WWII-era Ustasha ideology in the country. "Antifascist monuments are being knocked down, while government ministers are attending funerals for Ustashas with honours. They are currying favour with Ustasha sympathisers to win elections. We are the only nation in the world that wants to join the losers' camp."

For more on the Croatian politics, click here.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Former Croatian President Josipović Receives Award in Sarajevo

ZAGREB, November 22, 2018 - Former Croatian president Ivo Josipović was presented in Sarajevo on Wednesday with the Isa-Beg Ishakovic Award, which is given to foreign statesmen for promoting peace, understanding and tolerance.

Josipović is the second Croatian recipient of this award. The first was incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. Among the other recipients are Slovenian President Borut Pahor, former Austrian president Heinz Fischer, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The award, named after the 15th century Ottoman governor of Bosnia who is considered the founder of Sarajevo as an urban centre, was established in 2002 by the Klepsidra foundation, which promotes Bosnia and Herzegovina's multicultural and multiethnic heritage.

At a ceremony attended, among others, by Bosnian Presidency member Šefik Džaferović and the international community's High Representative Valentin Inzko, the president of the jury said Josipović had not only encouraged dialogue and carefully built Croatian-Bosnian relations but made them mutually beneficial.

Josipović said he saw the award "as a recognition of the way in which I built the relations between our states and peoples." He added that as president he had tried to set a new course of Croatia's foreign policy despite those who did not know how to or want to build peace.

Josipović was the president of Croatia from 2010 to 2015.

For more on former president Josipović, click here.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Former President Mingles with Controversial Korean Religious Leader

Ivo Josipović attended a utopian summit in South Korea.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Is Josipović Coming Back? ''I Didn't Leave, Nor Do I Intend To''

In an interview with Večernji List, the former Croatian President hinted at the possibility of his return...

Sunday, 18 December 2016

“New Left” Party Established

Leftwing activists, disappointed with SDP and other supposedly leftwing parties, decide to found a new political party.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Former President Josipović Disappointed with SDP President Milanović

Former President and SDP member criticizes the opposition leader.

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