Monday, 16 December 2019

Croatian President Will Debate Presidential Candidates Tomorrow

The incumbent Croatian president has accepted the HRT invitation to debate with the other presidential candidates. We have learned that HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will nevertheless come face to face with the other presidential candidates in a debate, which is being coordinated by HRT (Croatian Radio Television) tomorrow night December 17, 2019 at 21:05h.

Grabar-Kitarović confirmed the news and stated that "each candidate who has collected 10 thousand signatures must have an equal opportunity and no one should be underestimated or favored before the first election round takes place."

All Eleven Croatian Candidates Expected to Attend

According to unofficial reports, all eleven presidential candidates are expected to show up at HRT studios on Tuesday at 21:05h. The debate will be televised on HRT1, as reported by Jutarnji List/Zadarski on December 16, 2019.

The eleven presidential candidates are:

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

Milanović Sought Guarantee for President’s Appearance

Earlier on Monday, SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović spoke about the debate, saying that he had sent an official memo to HRT seeking a guarantee that the current president would appear - otherwise he would not participate.

“Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović will participate in the debate organized by HRT on December 17, 2019 if President of the Republic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running as a candidate and defending her term, agrees to participate in the debate. If HRT, as organizer of the debate, can confirm and guarantee the arrival of President Grabar-Kitarović, Zoran Milanović is also ready to participate. Please confirm that she will attend,” the memo reads.

“However, we are still waiting for HTV's response. The day before the much-publicized debate, they don't want to reveal on public television whether Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is coming to the debate? Give us an answer and let us know because we’ll continue to think that HTV is negotiating with the HDZ behind our backs. You're not going to bring Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović through the back door, in the dark, to Prisavlje (location of HRT headquarters), are you? We expect a response by 10am on Tuesday,” Milanović wrote on Facebook.

A response from Grabar-Kitarović's headquarters has arrived in the meantime.

"Finally, we were able to get a confirmation that the current president is coming to the debate. I'll respond. I know what I've been doing for the last 10 years and I know I'll be the target of criticism for those who want to celebrate through the night. My goal is for a normal Croatia and it starts on January 5th," read his Facebook update on December 16, 2019.

Earlier Debates Abandoned Due to President’s Non-participation

Zoran Milanović and Miroslav Škoro had refused to participate in debates among the four most popular candidates, which other TV stations had tried to coordinate, since Grabar-Kitarović chose not to participate. As she did not consent, planning for those debates failed. Mislav Kolakušić was the only candidate who had given his consent.

Be sure and watch the debate tomorrow December 17, 2019 on HRT1 at 21:05h. Follow our Politics page for updates on the 2019/2020 presidential elections.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Škoro: Milanović, Grabar-Kitarović Two Faces of the Same System

ZAGREB, December 15, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro on Saturday held an election rally in Split, at which he called on voters not to cast their ballots for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Zoran Milanović because "they are two faces of the same system".

"A vote for Miroslav Škoro is a vote for the people, and if you vote for Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović or Zoran Milanović, it does not make a difference - you vote for Andrej Plenković," Škoro said.

In a comment on Grabar-Kitarović, he said that she was boasting about her platform and that, if he had been the president for five years, he would be boasting about his results.

"That is what we expect of her, we don't expect a wish list for Santa Claus," he said.

As regards Milanovic, Škoro said that he was a bad prime minister and that he did not see how he could be a good president.

"The man was willing to sacrifice Croatia to protect two (former) members of UDBA (Yugoslav secret service)," he said, accusing Milanović of sowing division among Croatians.

Škoro said that since the start of his campaign he had been a target of defamation but that that would not last long.

He said that he was a proud Catholic Croat and could therefore not be accused of insulting his church.

Voters should not fall for provocations by those who kept silent when the people wanted a referendum on the Istanbul Convention and on changes to the election law, he said, adding that voters also should not trust those who received Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić for talks.

He said that if elected president, he would insist on normalisation of relations with Serbia, which, he said, meant that the border would not go along the middle of the Danube River as the thousands of hectares of land located on the left side of the river were owned by Croatians.

Škoro said that he would insist on dealing with the issue of persons gone missing in the 1991-95 war, as well as that Croatian archives and cultural property stolen during the Great Serbian fascist aggression be returned to Croatia and compensation be paid to all former inmates of Serb concentration camps.

Speaking of the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the presidential candidate said that he would see to it that "the Croat people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are not only a constituent but also a sovereign people that controls its own territory and has its own political representatives."

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

Monday, 9 December 2019

HDZ: Škoro Has Chosen Losing Path

ZAGREB, December 9, 2019 - The HDZ party said on Sunday presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro was a self-proclaimed sovereignist copying SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović, that he had been an HDZ member when it suited him, and that instead of HDZ founder Franjo Tuđman's policy, he had chosen the losing path of the Bridge party and his mentor Velimir Bujanec.

"After today's repetition and copying of Milanović's futile arguments, we remind self-proclaimed sovereignist Miroslav Škoro that the only real, genuine Croatian sovereignist was Franjo Tuđman. He fulfilled that task when it was necessary, unlike Škoro and those like him who today, 30 years later, only talk about it and try to score cheap political points," the HDZ said in a comment on Škoro's election rally in Zagreb earlier today.

"When it suited him, Škoro was in the HDZ, but now, instead of Franjo Tuđman's policy, he has chosen the losing path of his mentor (talk show host) Velimir Bujanec and MOST."

At the rally, Škoro said "there is no force which can prevent Croatia from being given back to the people."

He said the HDZ of 30 years ago and today had nothing in common, aside from the name, and that Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović did not have the strength required for change yet dared to say that Škoro had betrayed the HDZ.

"No, no and no," he said, adding that Plenković had betrayed the HDZ and Tuđman, Croatia's first president. He had a message for HDZ voters, saying they "must know that a vote for Grabar-Kitarović is also a vote for Plenković."

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

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Presidential Candidate Škoro Says There'll Be No Runoff

ZAGREB, December 8, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro said on Sunday he would lead a movement that would end fear across the country and that Croatia would celebrate December 22, the date of the presidential election, in unity as there would be no runoff.

Speaking at a rally in Zagreb under the slogan "Now or never!", Škoro said that on December 22 Croatia "will vote 'for' after a long time," which would be the first step in "giving the state back to the people, and that there was no force or party dictatorship that would take the celebration away from them.

Škoro said he would win because the people was behind him and proud and strong war veterans were with him, as well as thanks to the unity of Croats at home and in the diaspora, and with the same heart with which independent Croatia was created.

He said the HDZ party of 30 years ago, when the Croatian state was being created, had nothing in common with the current HDZ. Prime Minister and HDZ Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović do not have the strength required for change but they dare to say that Škoro has betrayed the HDZ, he added.

"No, no and no," he said, adding that Plenković had betrayed the HDZ and its founder Franjo Tuđman. He had a message for HDZ voters, saying they "must know that a vote for Grabar-Kitarović is also a vote for Plenković."

Škoro went on to say that he wanted to be the president who would unite the suffering but proud and industrious people who had experienced many disappointments over the past 20 years. "I'll be independent of any political, business or private interest. No one will be able to call and tell me what to do. I will be accountable only to the people and if the people give me a thumbs down, I will go of my own accord, you won't have to push me away."

Škoro said he would score a landslide victory because "they have stolen the state from the people." He said it was a sad country whose president was talking about cakes and singing at every opportunity, whose prime minister, because of his ego, would not receive striking teachers for a month, and where one could become parliament speaker with only 808 votes won.

Škoro said he would "restore dignity" to the office of president.

Presenting his platform, he said that in order to carry out the necessary changes, he would ask for greater presidential powers, make it possible to value knowledge, excellence and ability instead of party affiliation, and that the first referendum he would call would be on the Distraint Act so that 250,000 people could have a second chance.

Škoro said he would ask the people's an opinion on something at a referendum and that if the referendum failed, he would resign because he did would not be a president without the people's support.

He said that "after Grabar-Kitarović's defeat in the presidential election," he expected the government to immediately step down, parliament to dissolve, and a new parliamentary election.

The ruling HDZ and the opposition SDP are preparing a big coalition, which would be "the last nail in the coffin of parliamentary democracy," he said, adding that winning the presidential election was crucial for preventing them to "end us all."

He supported increasing the military budget and stepping up the modernisation of the army, saying that the army should be deployed along the border if necessary. He will also demand more EU money for the protection of the Croatian, therefore the European border.

Škoro said Bosnia and Herzegovina would be the first country he would visit as president, and that Serbia must not join the EU before shedding light on missing Croatian defenders and civilians, returning Croatia's cultural artefacts and archives, admitting to the military aggression against Croatia, and suffering the political and other consequences of that aggression, including the payment of reparations to former Serb concentration camp inmates.

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

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Škoro Says His Victory Will Dispel Fear in the Country

ZAGREB, December 3, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro on Tuesday handed over to the State Election Commission (DIP) lists with close to 80,000 signatures supporting his presidential bid, saying that his election victory will help dispel the fear that reigns in the country.

In a statement to reporters, Škoro thanked everyone for supporting his candidacy with their signatures, including "those who wanted to support me but didn't dare", as well as MOST and other political parties.

"We live in a country where fear reigns. I call on everyone to go to the polls on December 22 to help dispel that fear and make the change already in the first round. Croatia needs that change and we do not have time for a second round or for experiments. After that, since Mrs Grabar-Kitarović will lose the elections, I will call on the government to step down and dissolve the parliament so that we can turn a new page in Croatia's democracy," he said.

"We lived for a long time in single-party fear, and now we live in bipartisan fear to the extent that we do not have democracy or pluralism, or the possibility to think differently. People are expelled from parties because they think differently," Škoro said.

Commenting on President Grabar-Kitarović's statement that she would take Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić cakes to prison if he was convicted in some of a number of cases in which he is indicted for corruption, Škoro said that by saying so, she presumed Bandić's guilt and that her statement was an act of pressure on the judiciary.

Commenting on the agreement between education-sector unions and the government on an increase in the job complexity index, Škoro said that education-sector workers were not satisfied with yet another in a number of bad compromises and that he expected problems in relations between unions and education-sector workers.

"I don't know why the strike was held in the first place because everything education-sector workers can boast of after striking for several weeks is a hundred kuna increase in their wage. Customs officers and police are waiting in line already, and that is not the way to run the state. It is evident that people who run the country do not have a single day of experience in the real sector and do not understand how things function," said Škoro.

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

Monday, 2 December 2019

Miroslav Škoro for Banning Work on Sundays

ZAGREB, December 2, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro said in Zaprešić on Sunday he was for banning work on Sundays, that the ruling HDZ party was betrayed by those running it, and that he would return Croatia to the people and political parties to their members.

Škoro said irresponsible conduct had led to the ongoing teachers' strike and that the strike was the result of inaction. On the other hand, when this strike ends, customs officials have announced another and police officers are waiting in line, he added.

We are governed by people who see it differently than those in the private sector. That's difficult to understand for a man whose first job is as a member of parliament or a minister because he has learned to manage the money of others, yet has never created anything himself, Škoro said.

He dismissed accusations that he had betrayed the HDZ, saying he left the party because he did not agree with such an HDZ. "The people running the HDZ have betrayed the HDZ and the HDZ members. And just as I will return Croatia to the people, so will I see to it that I return parties to their members."

Škoro went on to say that his initiative to increase the president's powers envisaged calling a referendum to ban work on Sunday.

He added that he would hand over the signatures collected to back his presidency bid to the State Election Commission on Tuesday.

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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Škoro: Incumbent Authorities Intensify Fear in Country

ZAGREB, November 26, 2019 - Presidential hopeful Miroslav Škoro on Tuesday agreed with school unions who consider that police checking lists of protesters represented intimidation of the strikers and that this shows that the government is intensifying fear in the country.

"It seems to me that some sort of fear has gripped our country, a fear intensified by the incumbent authorities' moves. You saw yesterday that they were counting, noting down and trying to see who was attending the teachers' protest. I'm convinced that we will soon be in a position to change that and that things like that will not occur again," Škoro said while meeting with residents in the coastal town of Trogir.

His campaign headquarters said that Škoro's response to criticism that his messages show that he does not understand how the state and system functions, is that it is time for "those clerks to realise that the people wants change."

"Clerks cannot determine how someone will live in this country or what they will do. The people will decide that in elections and very soon," Škoro said.

He said that the collection of signatures to support his candidacy was going very well and that on the first day the necessary 10,000 signatures had been collected.

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

Sunday, 24 November 2019

MEP Tomašić Says She Supports Škoro's Presidential Bid

ZAGREB, November 24, 2019 - A member of the European Parliament, Ruža Tomašić of the Croatian Conservative Party, on Sunday supported the presidential candidacy of Miroslav Škoro, saying that he was the presidential candidate she trusted the most because he had proven to be capable of making a good living outside of politics and that he understood ordinary people.

Signing a list of support for Škoro's presidential bid in downtown Zagreb, Tomašić said that she hoped he would win the elections already in the first round on December 22 and prove that Croatia could do without both the HDZ and the SDP.

Škoro is better than the other candidates because he is a self-made man, a musician and scholar and a representative of ordinary people, Tomašić said, adding that Škoro would not listen to instructions either from Washington or Brussels or Strasbourg.

Asked if he could run away from his political past as a member of the HDZ, Tomašić said that he had run away from it when he left the HDZ and the Croatian parliament after "seeing that something was wrong there and he now knows what should be changed and what should not."

As for the presidential candidates Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Zoran Milanović, Tomašić said that they had already shown what they could and could not do.

She noted that Grabar-Kitarović was good at the beginning. "But the moment she met for talks with (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vučić, a Chetnik who has not renounced Chetnik ideology... and for his sake told mothers and widows of Croatian defenders killed in the war that they were on the margins (of the political spectrum), I said - this is not it any longer," Tomašić said.

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

Friday, 22 November 2019

Škoro: I Won't Conduct Dirty Campaign

ZAGREB, November 22, 2019 - Presidential hopeful Miroslav Škoro said on Friday during a signature collection campaign to run in the presidential election that he would not lead a dirty campaign and that perhaps a winner may emerge in the first round already and there won't be a need for the second round.

"Who says that there will be a second round? Perhaps someone wins in the first round," said Škoro when asked whether he expected to make it to the second round of the election.

I won't be leading a dirty campaign, he underscored. "I didn't start it. I didn't engage in it and I won't lead it. That is beneath my dignity and I am sorry for people who behave like that," he added.

Asked whether he was bothered that people usually think of him as a singer only, he said that he was proud to be a Croatian singer. "I'm proud that I'm a Croatian singer, and belong to the artistic circle of musicians. Truly anyone can be a politician but not everyone can be a singer," he said.

Škoro reiterated his proposal that the chief state prosecutor be elected at an election and not appointed. "We are among those who are last in Europe for a lot of things. It would be good to be the first in something. I don't see why the chief state prosecutor can't be elected at an election just like the president is elected," he said.

He touched on the policy toward Bosnia and Herzegovina saying that if he is elected it would be very simply. "For a start, I would appoint a special adviser for Bosnia and Herzegovina because that is in Croatia's vital interest but also that is a country where the Croatian people should be a sovereign nation and currently it isn't because Komšić is not the legitimately elected representative in the presidency."

As far as Serbia's EU accession negotiations are concerned, Škoro said that Croatia had had to meet very high standards to join the European Union and that he expected the same of Serbia.

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

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Škoro: Army Should Be Included in Protecting Border

ZAGREB, November 5, 2019 - Presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro said on Tuesday that the primary task of the Croatian police was to protect the territory and citizens of Croatia, but that it would be good if the military also joined in because the border police were stretched to their limit.

"We want to be part of the Schengen area and we have our own law on the movement of foreigners. We need to know who comes into the country, who moves around and passes through, and of course, protect the territorial integrity of Croatia and all its citizens. We have enough competent people who know how to treat migrants and which of them should be accorded protection," Škoro told a press conference in Dubrovnik.

He said that the problem of illegal migration should be tackled at its source rather than put up fences along the border. He also said that this problem should not be dealt with by using force but by improving border control.

"We need to control the border, and ours is one of the longest in the European Union, but the police obviously have neither enough personnel nor resources for that job. That's why it is logical for other services to join in to help ensure better border control," Škoro said.

He said that there was not much talk of illegal migration in Croatia and that he himself had become convinced of the importance of this issue while on the campaign trail. He said that on his way to the south of the country he had been stopped by the police once and had been even searched once for illegal migrants. He said that in conversations with people living in border areas he had seen for himself that they lived in fear, fearing for their property and for their children.

Asked if Croatia was becoming a border state, Škoro said that Croatia had been a border state through history, adding that it should negotiate with Schengen countries. "This right, obligation and responsibility should be equally felt in Brussels, Madrid and Velika Kopanica," he said.

Škoro said that since 2000, the office of President had been held by persons who did not have great ambitions to participate in political life, as result of which this office was reduced to a sinecure.

"I don't want to be a figurehead and I don't need a sinecure. I want to listen to the people and participate in their initiatives. Currently all that is ignored and the people are good only when they vote, while this small clique is preoccupied with their CVs and continuing their careers in the EU. I would like for the President to have greater powers and to truly participate in the creation of better living and working conditions in this country. It is not enough if someone gets five million votes in elections and is reduced to the role of a notary-public who signs a piece of paper from time to time. That will change with this election," Škoro said.

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

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