Wednesday, 6 July 2022

Spokesman: FinMin to Comment on his Decision Thursday, Government Stable

ZAGREB, 6 July 2022 - Government spokesman Marko Milić said on Wednesday that Finance Minister Zdravko Marić would speak about the reasons for his resignation in greater detail on Thursday, before or after a government session, and that his departure had not shaken the government or the ruling coalition, which were stable.

In an interview with the N1 broadcaster, Milić said that Marić had informed Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of his plan to leave the government a few weeks ago and that he attended today's meeting of the inner cabinet and would address members of the parliamentary majority and HDZ party leadership later today.

"He had an emotional address before the government and said that his decision was difficult for him," Milić said, noting that with regard to the reasons and circumstances of his departure, Marić would be available for comment on Thursday, before or after the regular government session.

Milić said that the government would "continue to work as it has so far", adding that the choice of Marić's successor - Marko Primorac of the Zagreb Faculty of Economics, "is a message of stability and continuity".

He said that Primorac's appointment would be completed by the start of the parliament's summer recess, July 15.

Meanwhile, Minister Marić will travel to Brussels to attend a session of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), which will complete the process of Croatia's accession to the euro area. ECOFIN's decision is expected on 12 July.

Asked if Marić had told the PM the reason for his decision to leave the government, Milić did not give an explicit answer, calling for calming down and "not generating panic or chaos."

The government spokesman does not believe Marić's decision to leave is reason for an early election, adding that the Opposition "should pray God we do not go to elections" considering the state it is in.

He said that the government was grateful to Marić but that it had to move on because the challenges were big, with a difficult yet not cataclysmic autumn ahead.

Speaking of Croatia's having lost an arbitration case brought by MOL, which alleged that the Croatian government did not honour its obligations from a gas business agreement, Milić said the report about the loss of the case was not carried in its integral form and that a large part of MOL's demands had been rejected, that the potential financial damage of $1.1 billion had been reduced to €184 million, and that with interest it amounted to just above $200 million.

Milić said the government accepted the arbitration decision but would continue to use the legal instruments at its disposal and that the payment of damages to MOL would not pose a major problem for the state budget.

As for a possible new set of measures to help citizens and the business sector with rising prices, Milić said the government would "be with citizens and the business sector as long as necessary" but that it was not the only market actor and that others, too, had to shoulder some of the burden.

In that context, he announced the continuation of talks with small fuel distributors, describing their announcement that they would have to close down as an instrument of pressure.

The government's decree on fuel wholesale prices is not a blow to small distributors but will affect their profit, he said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

PM Dismisses Media Speculation About Early Parliamentary Election

ZAGREB, 29 June 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Wednesday dismissed the media speculation about an early parliamentary election.

"I don't understand how some people still haven't figured out my way of thinking. If political stability is my main anchor, if we have a stable parliamentary majority, if we have achieved everything we have set out to do, if we are facing so many challenges, why would I go to elections?  (...) We have been given trust to run this country responsibly," Plenković said in an interview with Croatian Radio.

He noted that his government has secured growth, accession to the euro and Schengen areas, an investment grade rating from three leading international rating agencies, an excellent tourist season, the opening of Pelješac Bridge on 26 July, the delivery of military aircraft in slightly more than a year, the use of EU funding, more balanced regional development of the country, and aid to vulnerable social groups, pensioners, farmers, fishermen, businesses and households.

Plenković also said that the government is not considering reimposing COVID-19 restrictions given that there has been no considerable increase in the number of hospitalised cases, but is most likely to recommend further vaccination so that people can be protected in the autumn.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 15 January 2021

July 2020 Parliamentary Election Costs HRK 8.5 mn Lower Than 2016 Election Costs

ZAGREB, 15 January, 2021 - The July 2020 parliamentary election cost HRK 101.5 million (€13.53 million), HRK 8.5 million less than the election held in 2016, shows the final report of the State Election Commission (DIP) on the cost of last year's vote.

The lower election costs are a result of savings made on allowances for the work of election bodies, owing to changes in tax rules.

Material costs, amounting to HRK 22.3 million, were close to two million kuna higher than in 2016, due to measures introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection.

Explaining why the final report was being published only now, DIP said that it adopts final reports on election costs only after the polling committees of the country's 12 constituencies have covered election costs in their constituencies.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Croatia Parliamentary Election: Polling Stations Open in Australia, China, Japan

ZAGREB, July 4, 2020 - Croatia's tenth parliamentary election began at 11 p.m. on Friday Croatian time as polling stations opened in three Australian cities, State Electoral Commission vice president Damir Kontrec said.

Polling stations opened in Canberra, Sydney, and Melbourne, while the one at the Croatian Consulate in Perth opened at 1 a.m. Croatian time on Saturday, Kontrec said, adding that 2,800 voters had registered to vote in Australia.

The one polling station in Beijing opened at the same time as in Perth, while the one at the Croatian Embassy in Tokyo opened at midnight on Friday.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, voting will take place at 42 more countries over Saturday and Sunday, in cities with Croatian diplomatic and consular missions where Croatian citizens who do not reside in Croatia will elect three of the 151 members of parliament.

There are 112 polling stations abroad, of which 45 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 11 in Germany, four in the US, three in Italy, and two in Serbia, Montenegro, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland and Canada each.

The last polling station to open will be in Los Angeles at 4 p.m. on Saturday Croatian time.

Almost 185,000 Croatians abroad have registered to vote in the election, the most in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina (50,786). 

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Bridge Party Presents Lead Candidates For Parliamentary Election

ZAGREB, June 13, 2020 - The leader of the conservative Bridge party, Bozo Petrov, on Saturday presented lead candidates for the July 5 parliamentary election, saying that these were the people fighting for a different Croatia than the one offered by those who have been running the country for the past 30 years.

"We will fight for a Croatia in which everyone is entitled to a decent life and has equal rights because no one should be more equal than the others," said Petrov, who will head the party's slate in Constituency 10 which covers a southern part of Split-Dalmatia County and the whole of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

Petrov said that the number of seats won was not as important as the quality and integrity of people entering Parliament, adding that MPs should always have in mind the people they were elected to represent. "Quite a few of them, as we have seen in the last 30 years, forget this and lose their bearings," he noted.

Petrov said that the lists of candidates would be submitted to the Electoral Commission on Tuesday.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Canada Only Country Where Croats Won't Be Able To Vote For Parl. Election

ZAGREB, June 8, 2020 - According to available information, Canada seems to be the only country where it won't be possible to organise voting for the Croatian parliamentary election set for July 5, the State Electoral Commission (DIP) confirmed to Hina on Monday.

The Croatian Embassy in Canada on Sunday informed that because of the coronavirus pandemic it will not be possible to hold the parliamentary election in that country on July 4 and 5.

Whether any other of the 50 or so countries that have confirmed that the election can be held, will cancel the organisation of voting of eligible Croatian voters on their territory cannot be said with any reliability before June 20.

"By 20 June DIP will have collected all the necessary permits via the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in order to hold the election and based on that, it will adopt a resolution to define polling stations in diplomatic-consular offices in those countries that have approved the election and then the necessary election material will be forwarded," DIP said when asked about the final list of countries where the election will be held.

680 Croatian voters in Canada exercised their right to vote in the 2016 election

At the last parliamentary election in 2016, 680 people with Croatian citizenship in Canada exercised their right to vote.

The electoral roll has 8,199 Croatian citizens residing in Canada registered with the right to vote, and of the 682 went to the polls for the previous parliamentary elections for Croatia's legislature.

Asked what if some other countries take the same steps as Canada and whether that will impact the validity of the election, DIP said that it is a body the conducts the election and it does not decide on the date of the election nor can it influence countries to approve the election being held in their country.

The validity of elections is supervised by the Constitutional Court, DIP recalled.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

President Milanovic Urges Citizens to Vote in Parliamentary Election

ZAGREB, May 28, 2020 - President Zoran Milanovic called on citizens on Thursday to vote in the July 5 parliamentary election, saying he was not thinking about the election interests and chances of the ruling HDZ or the opposition SDP and that he did not wish to influence that.

"I call on everyone to go to the polls, and it's unbelievable how a well-meaning and defensive statement by me has prompted several analysts to react. My message is 'vote', and I'll see, because I don't want any bias to be ascribed to my activity," Milanovic told reporters, explaining an earlier statement that he did not know if he would vote at all.

He said this was not his message but his stance. "I'm not thinking about the SDP's interests and chances in the election, nor the HDZ's, nor would I influence that."

He said the right to vote was a constitutional right, not a duty, and called on citizens to go to the polls to vote, not to invalidate their ballot.

Asked about the business of the INA oil company and recent media claims that oil was being shipped to Hungary for refining, Milanovic said he did not know enough about that.

"In order to have a stand, I need to know a little more. Business reasons have to exist for it to be refined in Rijeka. What those reasons are, I don't know. I don't know the motives of INA's owner, the majority owner being, unfortunately, the Hungarian company MOL. Unfortunately, that was wrong, damaging for Croatia."

The president added that the Rijeka Refinery has to operate.

Last night he met with the military leadership in his office to discuss the situation in the army. Although he did not reveal details of the talks, he said new military aircraft would likely be procured.

"We will probably procure them, I can say with certainty. When the situation calms down a bit. But I will do my best so that it isn't done as it was three years ago, for responsibility to be taken more clearly at one point. That is up to the prime minister. Frankly, there's not much choice here. The US or someone from the West without an indecent proposal."

Asked if Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic were sending him a message by not attending a Croatian army reception in his office, Milanovic said they were sending the message to their voters, not to him.

As for the new date on which Statehood Day is being marked, May 30, he said that date is not really Statehood Day.

"It's a holiday that is being moved by political turbulence so that people won't really know what holiday it is in fact. June 25 is a symbolically important date, it's not a parade. It's the date of the Croatian referendum on independence and leaving Yugoslavia. That date is the common denominator of all Croats. This new date isn't the common denominator. Too many people have dilemmas about it."

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

President Calls Parliamentary Election for July 5

ZAGREB, May 20, 2020 - The parliamentary election will be held on July 5, President Zoran Milanovic decided on Wednesday.

The election for the tenth parliament will be held on July 5 in Croatia and on July 4 and 5 abroad, in Croatia's diplomatic and consular offices.

The decision on the election takes effect on June 2. Parties and independent slates and candidates will then have 14 days to submit their slates to the State Election Commission (DIP), which then has 48 hours to publish the list of valid slates and candidates, whereby official electioneering begins.

Although Croatia has few new COVID-19 cases per day and a good epidemiological situation, the July election, because of the epidemic, will be held somewhat differently than all previous elections. DIP will define how the vote will take place together with the Croatian Institute of Public Health.

Voters will elect 151 MPs, of whom 140 in ten constituencies in Croatia, three will be elected by expatriates and eight by ethnic minorities.

The slates must have at least 40% of candidates of each sex, otherwise, they will be disqualified and those proposing them face an HRK 50,000 fine.

Campaign costs must not exceed HRK 1.5 million per constituency. Parties running in all ten constituencies can spend HRK 15 million.

This parliamentary election will be the third in which voters can give a preferential vote.

(€1 = HRK 7.55)