Saturday, 21 March 2020

Škoro Submits Declaration of Assets

ZAGREB, March 20, 2020 - The leader of the Homeland Movement party, Miroslav Škoro, released his declaration of assets on the party's website on Friday, but did not state its value, saying that his property was not for sale and that estimating its market value was the job for an appraiser.

Škoro said that as a businessman, artist and founder of a political movement he was not legally or in any other way obliged to release his declaration of assets, but that he was doing so to set an example to all those who want to transparently serve the people.

He divided his declaration into 21 items which include two houses, a 400 square metre house in Zagreb, owned by his wife Kim Ann Škoro, and a 455 square metre house in the coastal town of Tribunj, half of which is owned by Škoro.

He also owns land in Donja Drenova, and vineyards, a forest and a meadow in Mitrovac.

His wife owns three farm plots in Resnik and has a share in the plot in Zagreb's Zajčeva Street.

Skoro and his wife own Hrvatski Telecom shares - 276 each, and two burial plots. They co-own the Campus d.o.o. company and hold shares in the MB Kvadrat d.o.o. company and the Monperin d.d. company.

Škoro's gross annual royalties amount to approximately 700,000 kuna. He claims he pays his own contributions.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Miroslav Škoro: Minimum Wage for Everyone

ZAGREB, March 19, 2020 - The Homeland Movement party's leader, Miroslav Škoro, on Thursday proposed introducing a minimum wage for everyone except for socially vulnerable groups, pregnant women and new mothers, as well as healthcare workers, given the economic crisis in the country.

"Until the crisis ends, minimum wage for everyone," Skoro wrote on Facebook, proposing that it should apply to the government, presidents, former presidents, everyone in the state administration and state and public companies and institutions.

"Enough with the fake solidarity at the expense of employees in the private sector," Škoro said.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

Defeated Presidential Candidate Škoro Vows to End HDZ-SDP Duopoly

ZAGREB, March 8, 2020 - Miroslav Škoro, said on Saturday he had been subjected to a media smear campaign in recent days over a parking lot in Zagreb, adding that he was prepared to withdraw from all his business projects but that he would stay in politics to end the current duopoly.

"It's not an attack on me, but an attack on a project that will definitely end the duopoly between the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and the SDP (Social Democratic Party) which has captured and held Croatia in its grip for the last 20 years," Škoro told reporters after a presentation of the electoral platform of the Croatian Sovereignists party in Zagreb.

In recent days media questioned the moral fortitude of the former presidential candidate over his co-ownership of a company that charges HRK 15 (€2) an hour for parking near the Merkur hospital in Zagreb.

"I can understand that for some 15 kuna is too much for an hour of parking, but it's not a hospital parking lot, I'm not the majority owner, and I'm being accused by the media of making profit from other people's hardship. That's insolent, to say the least. I will pull out of everything if necessary, but not out of politics. I will be an eternal pebble in their shoe that will cost them elections," Škoro said.

Citing "interest groups" trying to discredit him morally, he said that they wanted to remove him from political life so that the SDP and the HDZ could continue to govern the way they had so far.

Škoro said that attacks on him came after he launched a new political party last weekend. Although they are still waiting for the relevant ministry to formally register the party, they received 11,000 queries for membership in the first two or three days, he said.

Škoro shares a lot of common goals with the Croatian Sovereignists and is considering cooperation with them ahead of the parliamentary elections. They support referendum initiatives and advocate a better judiciary, security at the borders and monetary sovereignty.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Presidential Candidate Miroslav Škoro Founds New Political Party

February 29, 2020 - Miroslav Škoro, a candidate in the recently held presidential elections in Croatia, announced today that he is to found his political party, called "Miroslav Škoro Homeland Movement".

After his quite successful bid at the presidential elections, where he managed to take the third-highest number of votes (and miss the runoff election by a very small margin of votes), Miroslav Škoro often hinted at his plans to start a new political party in time for the upcoming parliamentary elections. And that is exactly what he has announced to the public today, in Panorama Hotel in Zagreb, where he presented the new political party in Croatia: Miroslav Škoro Homeland Movement.

He's insistent that it's not just a party, rather a movement (which is what the name also implies), and that he's starting a party not because he wants to, but because he has to, as the situation in Croatia is so dire. He took the opportunity in his opening speech to tell anyone who wants to get into his party so they'd be able to sell their votes later to leave the room, as there will not be room for corruption in his party.

In the speech, he also repeated most of what he stood for during his presidential campaign: the strong "sovereignist" policies, including the insistence on 'maintaining the right to decide who gets to enter the Republic of Croatia'. To that he adds that we don't need further divides, we need unity, that this is not the country for which the fighters fought during the Homeland war, and that we are a country built on the blood, tears and terror of the Homeland War, in which life starts at conception, and each child should have a father and a mother. As one of his key political goals, he recognizes the attempt to decry all totalitarian regimes, including the communist regime.

Most people who are supporting Škoro as he founds his party are former associates of Branimir Glavaš, former army general during the Homeland war, former Member of the Parliament who's been indicted (and found guilty, with verdicts being overturned later) of war crimes in Osijek.

Although the party is dubbed as a movement, none of the parties that supported Škoro in the presidential bid hasn't officially joined the Homeland Movement. MOST, Hrvatski suverenisti, and Zlatko Hasanbegović's party are close to Škoro politically and will probably negotiate some kind of coalition for the parliamentary elections.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Miroslav Škoro Preparing to Launch Political Party

ZAGREB, February 14, 2020 - Former presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro announced in a Facebook post on Thursday that the programme and other acts necessary for launching a movement that would bring together those seeking different relations in the country were nearly done, and the founding assembly would be held by the end of February.

"I have been intensively discussing the continuation of cooperation with partners who had supported my presidential candidacy and I have been strictly focused on ideas that can improve the lives of the Croatian people in the country and abroad," Škoro wrote on his Facebook page.

Škoro talked with representatives from the MOST party, the Croatian Sovereigntists platform (the Hrast party, the Croatian Conservative Party, the Bloc for Croatia), the Green List and other partners, who presented their proposals. There will be more meetings and he hopes that they will soon reach an agreement, which will "be in Croatia's best interest."

Describing his view of politics, Miroslav Škoro said that in the past month or so "nervous so-called professional politicians, the media and political pundits" have been calling on him to declare his position and act.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 10 January 2020

Škoro Rejects Criticisms That He brought Milanović to Power

ZAGREB, January 10, 2020 - Miroslav Škoro, a presidential candidate nominated by right-wing anti-establishment parties who failed to make it into the second round, has rejected criticisms that he has brought Social Democrat Zoran Milanović to power.

Speaking in an interview with the Večernji List daily of Friday, he said he was analysing why he had not won more than 24.5 percent of votes in the first round of the presidential election and what should have been done to ensure a better result.

"In such a demanding competition with a million variables, only an ignorant and arrogant person can shift the blame onto another," Škoro said.

He said it was ridiculous that he was being criticised for telling his voters to vote in the interest of Croatia and according to their conscience in the runoff. "Were they supposed to go against themselves and their country?" he wondered.

Commenting on a statement by the chairman of the parliamentary group of the ruling HDZ party, Branko Bačić, that he hoped for future cooperation and a coalition with his party, Škoro said: "I didn't enter politics to trade, but to change things. And that's impossible if you work in the same way as they have so far. I'm not interested in that. Secondly, even if I wanted to trade, I have nothing to trade with."

He said it was important to him to form a third, stable political group.

Asked if he was going to form his own party, Škoro said that this was a technical issue, adding that he would talk with the people and political groups that supported him to see what their plans were.

He said he was not anyone's project. "This amazing result is solely the result of my cooperation with my people and partner parties."

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Miroslav Škoro to Void His Ballot in Presidential Election Runoff

ZAGREB, December 31, 2019 - Miroslav Škoro, who came in third in the first round of presidential elections on December 22, said that he would go to the polls in the January 5 runoff but that he would vote neither for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović nor for the winner of the first round, Zoran Milanović, and would add candidate No. 3 on his ballot - his Croatian people - and circle that number.

"A lot of you have sent me messages and asked for advice on what to do and who to vote for in the second round. I can't advise you on that because I believe that I don't have the right to tell you what to do," Škoro said in a video message on his Facebook wall, announcing that he would run in the next parliamentary elections.

The independent candidate, who won more than 460,000 votes in the first round of the presidential elections, said that he did not want to opt for the lesser evil or vote for the current system.

He called on his voters to go to the polls, exercise their right to vote and do what they think is right.

If Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović wins, nothing will change, he said. "Croatia will continue to be run by a clique of opportunists who invoke things sacred to the Croatian people until they are elected, after which they rule according to somebody else's instructions, looking away from their own people, ignoring their protests and referendum initiatives."

If Zoran Milanović wins, "the country will have as its president a man whose government has made us poor, seized our property, indebted us, made us emigrate and insulted us, a man who during this campaign, during which he has allegedly become normal, has said that he will not take part in the Vukovar memorial procession because there are no decent people in it," Škoro said in his video message.

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

Monday, 23 December 2019

Miroslav Škoro Pleased with Results, Hints at Running in Parliamentary Election

ZAGREB, December 23, 2019 - Independent candidate Miroslav Škoro, who came third in the Croatian presidential election's first round on Sunday, extended his congratulations to the first two vote-getters – Zoran Milanović and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – adding that he would work on "giving Croatia back to the people".

He thus hinted at his participation in the next parliamentary election.

Škoro, who won 461,448 ballots or 24.44% of the vote, said in his address in his campaign headquarters that they had accomplished a miracle.

"We have achieved a historic result. Nobody has given us such chances." Škoro said.

He also described this election as a referendum in which, he said, two thirds of voters showed their dissatisfaction with the current government.

Milanović, a former SDP prime minister who emerged as the relative winner of the first round of the election, mustered 557,900 ballots (29.54% of the total vote) and incumbent President Grabar Kitarović 503,653 (26.67%). Škoro was third with 24.4% and the other eight candidates running in the election won only single-digit percentages.

Commenting on his number of won ballots, Škoro said that those 461,000 voters was not a small number.

We have shown that we think differently than those in power, he added.

He said that in the run-up to the election he and his campaign team had exposed "an octopus of interests covering all political parties and the political sphere in the country."

škoro, a singer-turned-politician, said that he would continue bringing Croatia back to the people, adding that he would continue developing "an even better network" in preparation for the next parliamentary election.

More news about Miroslav Škoro can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Grabar-Kitarović Calls on Škoro's Voters to Vote for Her in Runoff

ZAGREB, December 23, 2019 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running for re-election in a second round against Zoran Milanović, called on Sunday on all voters to vote for her, notably those who supported Miroslav Škoro in today's first round of the presidential election.

Grabar-Kitarović thanked everyone who voted today, saying they had shown that it was important that the president was elected by the people in a direct election. She congratulated the other candidates on their election results.

She criticised Milanovic and called on those who voted for Škoro today to vote for her in the runoff. "I had a fellow candidate in my political spectrum, unlike Milanovic. But now we must all come together and win."

Grabar-Kitarović thanked everyone in the ruling HDZ party who supported her when she was being called out over alleged mistakes and misinterpreted, "although I've never done anything that would damage Croatia and the Croatian people."

She called on everyone to vote "for a better Croatia" in the runoff.

"That will be a vote for five years of intense fighting, intense working for our Croatia. I have shown industriousness, work and determination. My second term will be a daily fight for change in our society which, unfortunately, is still divided on futile ideological issues and historical disputes. That takes us back and we are fed up with it. We are tired of that, let's go into the future."

Grabar-Kitarović underlined the need for unity, rallying around the same goals, which she said was the key to success. "All of us, not us or them, but all of us. We are all Croatia, one Croatia with equal opportunities for all."

In this election, we are electing the person who will continue to be with the people over the next five years and who will "listen to what you have to say," she said.

We are electing a president who will come from, work for and fight for the people. And when I win your trust again, I will again fight on Croatia's behalf for a place in the first row, for Croatia, not for myself, Grabar-Kitarović said.

She said she did need more powers. "Your trust is my biggest power. You are at the centre of my programme and my policy, not I."

Addressing those who did not vote for her, she said she knew that in doing so they expressed a certain dissatisfaction. "Your message is perfectly clear to me. I've heard it, I understand it. But now is not the time for new divisions. 'Us or them' must not be Croatia's policy again."

We must not allow the destruction of the policy of unity and a return to the policy of ideological conflicts, she said. "The goal and pattern are always the same - divide and discourage all patriots and then a minority calling themselves 'us' will rule. I won't let that happen."

After 15 years of wandering, we finally found the right course and I dictated the pace of that course and will continue to do so, she said.

Commenting on Milanović's stance that the president should be elected in parliament, Grabar-Kitarović said one should wonder why he was running for president if he thought he could achieve nothing.

"Today's vote has shown that the Croatian people wants to elect its president in a direct election, but a president who will work for the people and fight for the people... I will do so in the next five years."

She called on those who did not vote today to rally around her programme. "It's a vote for an even better Croatia, for a Croatia tailored to everyone's needs, for a Croatia which believes in democracy, which wants more, not less democracy, and for a president who works, who is among you, with you and for you."

"My Croatia is a Croatia for all. That's the only path and let's take it now, tonight already," Grabar-Kitarović said, adding that she would be "the voice and the hands of the people."

More news about Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Croatia Presidential Election: Grabar-Kitarović, Milanović go to Round Two

According to election results released at 5h CET (with 99.98% votes processed) on December 23, 2019; Croatia President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović will advance to round two of the Croatian presidential elections on January 5, 2020. Miroslav Škoro, a popular folk musician, who was closely trailing Grabar-Kitarović in the early exit polls, will not advance to the second round.

Here is a breakdown of the final results for all eleven presidential candidates:

29.55% - Zoran Milanović – Former Prime Minister | SDP
26.65% - Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – Current President | HDZ
24.45% - Miroslav Škoro – Folk singer and former Croatian Parliament Representative | Independent
5.87% - Mislav Kolakušić – Former Judge and EU Parliament Representative | Independent
4.61% - Dario Juričan – Legal name: Milan Bandić. Filmmaker and Performance Artist | Independent
2.89% - Dalija Orešković – Former Chair Conflicts of Interest Croatian Parliament | Independent
2.31% - Ivan Pernar – Member of Croatian Parliament | Party of Ivan Pernar
1.12% - Katarina Peović – Former member of Zagreb City Council | Workers’ Front
0.95% - Dejan Kovač – Economist and Princeton graduate | HSLS
0.21% - Anto Đapić – Former Osijek Mayor and Former Member of Croatian Parliament | DESNO
0.15% - Nedjeljko Babić – Regional party candidate | HSSČKŠ

First Woman President of Croatia

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, born April 29, 1968; is the fourth and current President of Croatia since 2015. She is the first woman to be elected to the office since the first multi-party elections in 1990. At 46, she also became the youngest person to assume the presidency.

Before her election as president, Grabar-Kitarović held several governmental and diplomatic positions. She was Minister of European Affairs from 2003 to 2005, the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration from 2005 to 2008, Croatian ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 and the NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy from 2011 to 2014.

Grabar-Kitarović was the only female candidate in the Croatian presidential elections held in December 2014 and January 2015 and was runner-up in the first round. She proceeded to narrowly defeat incumbent President Ivo Josipović in the second round. Her strong performance in the first round was unexpected, as most opinion polls had given President Josipović a strong lead. In the second round, Grabar-Kitarović defeated Josipović by 1.48%, which was the closest percentage margin of any presidential election to date.

She was a member of the conservative of HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) from 1993 to 2015 and was also one of three Croatian members of the Trilateral Commission, but was required to resign both positions upon taking office as president in 2015, as Croatian presidents are not permitted to hold other political positions or party membership while in office. In 2017, Forbes magazine listed Grabar-Kitarović as the world's 39th most powerful woman.

Grabar-Kitarović’s 2019 presidential campaign has been marked by a series of gaffes and apparent missteps. She enjoys a warm political association with controversial Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, whose party officially endorsed her candidacy. Last week, she claimed during a campaign rally in Osijek that she had secured jobs for Croatian citizens to work from home for 8000 EUR, after they had received training abroad.

After refusing to debate other presidential candidates before the first election round; she relented and agreed to one debate with all eleven candidates on HRT (Croatian Radio Television), a public network frequently accused of favoring the president’s former political party (HDZ). Even though only three of the eleven presidential candidates were consistently polling in the double digits, Grabar-Kitarović refused offers by commercial networks to debate her top two contenders. She justified her decision by indicating that she believed all the presidential candidates should be heard. The resulting debate, which took place just days before the election, was a two-and-a-half-hour fiasco, in which all eleven candidates were given opportunities to discuss their views on abortion, religious education, corruption, border control and gay pride.

Former Prime Minister of Croatia

Zoran Milanović, born October 30, 1966; is the former Prime Minister of Croatia, a position which he held from December 2011 to January 2016. He was the leader of SDP (Social Democratic Party of Croatia), the largest centre-left political party in Croatia, from 2007 to 2016. He served as Leader of the opposition twice, from 2007 to 2011 and from January to November 2016, when Davor Bernardić succeeded him as SDP leader.

After graduating from the Zagreb Faculty of Law, Milanović began his career the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He served as an advisor at the Croatian Mission to the European Union and NATO in Brussels from 1996–99. In 1998 he earned his master's degree in European Union law at the Flemish University in Brussels and was an assistant to the Foreign Minister of Croatia for political multilateral affairs in 2003.

In June 2007 he was elected President of SDP, following the death of Prime Minister Ivica Račan. In 2011, Milanović initiated the formation of the Kukuriku coalition, uniting four center-left political parties. The coalition won an absolute majority in the 2011 parliamentary election, and SDP became the strongest party in parliament. Milanović became Prime Minister on December 23, 2011, after the parliament approved his cabinet.

Milanović’s term as Prime Minister was marked by Croatia's entry into the European Union. His cabinet introduced changes to the tax code, passed a fiscalization law, and began several large infrastructure projects. Milanović also supported the expansion of same-sex couples rights and introduced the Life Partnership Act.

Following the 2015 election, he was succeeded as Prime Minister by Tihomir Orešković. Milanović led the four-party coalition until the early parliamentary elections in September 2016. Following a surprise defeat, Milanović announced his withdrawal from politics. He then entered the consulting business and worked as an advisor to Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

On June 17, 2019; Milanović announced that he would be running for President of Croatia as the SDP's candidate in the upcoming election. Under the slogan “A President with Character,” he ran his campaign based on center-left principles and values, and his record as prime minister. He acknowledged making mistakes as Prime Minister and does not want to increase the powers of the Croatian presidency, which have been reduced since President Franjo Tuđman’s term ended in 1999. Milanović also insisted that he would not participate in a presidential debate without Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s guaranteed participation, which was verified a day before the presidential debate was broadcast on HRT.

Popular Musician Fails to Advance

Miroslav Škoro, born July 29, 1962; is a Croatian pop-folk musician and politician. His music is characterized by its traditional tamburitza sound, updated to appeal to a contemporary audience.

Born in Osijek, Škoro completed his degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Osijek. He subsequently spent some time in the United States of America where he attended the Community College of Allegheny County for two years.

He emerged on the Croatian music scene with his debut album “Ne dirajte mi ravnicu” (Don’t touch my prairie) and produced a song of the same name, which would go on to be one of the most famous Croatian songs. In 2002, Škoro collaborated with controversial right-wing singer Marko Perković on the song "Reci, brate moj" (Tell me, my brother). They continued their collaboration on the single "Sude mi" (They're putting me on trial), which was dedicated to former Croatian general Ante Gotovina.

In addition to a music career, Škoro has enjoyed a career in politics. From 1995 to 1997, he was the Croatian general consul to Hungary. Between 2001 and 2006, Škoro was the Chairman of the Board of Croatia Records. In 2007, he joined HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and won a seat in the parliament the same year. Škoro took office in January 2008 but resigned ten months later due to his disappointment over the way he felt that politicians were being treated by the Croatian media.

On June 23, 2019; Škoro announced his candidacy in the 2019 Croatian presidential election. In a video message on his Facebook page, Škoro indicated that changes to the constitution are needed and that the president should have more powers. He maintained 3rd place in pre-election polls, close behind Grabar-Kitarović and Milanović. His campaign was supported by several right-wing parties including HKS, Hrast and Most.

Škoro’s presidential campaign has been marked by controversy. He was living in the United States during the Homeland War while many of his peers remained in Croatia defending her borders. He indicated that he would pardon convicted Croatian war criminal, Tomislav Merčep. During the presidential debate, he promised to send troops to secure the border to prevent illegal migrants from entering Croatia. Škoro also violated terms of the “election silence” at least three times since it went into effect 24 hours before election day and ended at 19h after the polls closed. During the election silence, candidates are forbidden from campaigning. 

Follow our Politics page for updates on the 2019/2020 Croatian presidential elections.

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