Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević Says Owes No One Anything, Has Free Hand

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - Zagreb Mayor Tomislav Tomašević said on Monday he had not promised  anyone any position in the city nor owned anyone anything, adding that he had a free hand to make decisions he considered to be in the public interest.

"That's how I will act until the end of my term," he said on RTL television.

Tomašević said he was confident the two complaints filed against him with the Conflict of Interest Commission during his first month in office would be dismissed.

Regarding the appointment of Tomislav Lauc to the Srebrnjak Hospital Steering Council, Tomašević said he had been "one of 1,500 contributors" to his campaign and that if the appointment of any of them "to one of the 340 institutions and steering councils in the City of Zagreb is a conflict of interest, then we have a big problem."

He said that if they were experts, the fact that they had been contributors should not disqualify them from being appointed.

Tomašević said the Srebrnjak Hospital Steering Council was not the management, that the hospital director was selected in a public call, and that the director was an employee, whereas the people on the Steering Council were not.

He said the decision on the hospital's new director was up to the Steering Council, not him.

Asked if, after one month in office, he felt that he had taken over the running of the city or was still in "hostile surroundings," Tomašević said a large number of people in the city administration was willing to cooperate and that, "naturally, it will take time to win their trust or not win it."

He reiterated that of the 27 city office heads appointed by his predecessor, ten had resigned and that the offices would be reduced to 16. The heads of the new offices will be selected in public calls, he said.

"We'll appoint the best people. Whether they are members of a party, mine, someone else's or no one's, is unimportant. There will be no faking, they will be real public calls."

Tomašević said the city office for war veterans was not abolished and that it would be part of a new office for protection, health, veterans and persons with disabilities.

He said he was sorry that Damir Vanđelić was resigning as head of the post-earthquake Reconstruction Fund because "we have just established a good dynamic, the (Construction) Ministry, the Fund and the City of Zagreb."

He said a location had been found for construction waste disposal, and reiterated that he hoped "reconstruction will finally begin."

Asked if the city would be able to cover 20% of the reconstruction costs and whether a recently taken HRK 400 million loan would suffice until the end of the year, the mayor said there was no doubt about that and that the loan was "just for liquidity."

He added, however, that "a more serious refinancing of the debt of Zagreb and (utility conglomerate) Holding will ne necessary. We are talking about it with banks and the state."

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Monday, 30 December 2019

First Presidential Debate of Upcoming Elections Held on RTL

After the first planned presidential debate between the two candidates in Croatia hasn't happened on N1 television on Sunday, on Monday evening, their first debate in the runoff round of the presidential elections was held on RTL Television.

Incumbent Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, HDZ candidate, and Zoran Milanović, former Prime Minister and SDP candidate, met in a presidental debate hosted by Damira Gregoret and Ivan Vrdoljak. They were not given the questions and topics to be discussed in advance, so they were not able to rehearse their answers and reactions.

The debate ended up lasting well over two hours, and on several occasions both candidates wondered out-loud if the audience was already fed up with their answers.

Supposedly, Milanović's team wanted to stop the debate because they thought that it was running for too long, although after the debate was over the team denied that. The format was somewhat unorthodox, so they got to ask each other questions. Many of the questions asked in the debate had nothing to do with the actual duties of the President of Croatia, so it seemed that they fought on principle more than on actual topics they can influence when one of them wins the presidency.

As is quite customary in Croatian politics, there was a lot of talk about the past, including their relationships to former President Tuđman and former Prime Minister Sanader, who was today found guilty in a major court case against him. The numerous online commenters, as well as Ankica Mamić and Božo Skoko for Večernji list commented that neither of the candidates really made a great impression in the presidential debate, as Milanović seemed much more aggressive, while the incumbent President failed to assert herself more.

It is expected that the two will debate at least twice more before Sunday, January 5, 2020, when the runoff will take place, and Croatians will get to chose between the two candidates.