Thursday, 17 February 2022

Bridge Calls On Government To Start Counting Referendum Signatures

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - The Bridge party called on the government and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica on Thursday to count the 410,000 signatures the party collected for a referendum against COVID certificates and the national COVID crisis management team.

A representative of the referendum petitions, Iva Rem, told the press the signatures were delivered to parliament on 24 January and that nothing had happened since.

Bridge MP Marin Miletić said Malenica announced yesterday the counting would take 15 to 30 days. "I once again call on Malenica not to engage in shady deals, not to play games of deception. They need to organize the people and count those signatures."

He said 410,000 citizens requested a referendum and that if Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and "his gang" respect democracy and democratic processes, they will count the signatures and ensure the citizens' right to a referendum.

Miletić said "there is no reason for nervousness" in the government, "notably when you have citizens before you who want a referendum."

Living-away-from-home allowance for MPs should be objectively regulated

Asked if MPs should continue to get the living-away-from-home allowance, he said it was not the same if an MP lives in Split or Dubrovnik and comes to Zagreb for work three or four times a week and if an MP lives in Zagreb and gets to work in five or 15 minutes.

"I'm for everything to be regulated and objectively defined, and Croatian citizens should know what each MP does, how much they work, and what the scope of their work is," Miletić said. "Some of us are in the field on weekends even, some of us have crossed 49,000 kilometers by car in eight months and are doing their job properly."

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Construction of First 30 Prefab Replacement Houses Begins

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - The head of the post-earthquake reconstruction task force, Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved, on Tuesday informed the ruling coalition partners about the status of works in the quake-hit Banovina region.

After the meeting, the vice president of the ruling HDZ party, Branko Bačić, said the construction of the first 30 prefab replacement houses had begun.

This week the construction of another 30 brick houses will also begin, he said, adding that tenders and public procurement will now be continuous, giving reconstruction in Banovina a big momentum.

Regarding reconstruction that does not involve seismic retrofitting, Bačić said that Medved informed them that 1,332 houses had been rebuilt and that it was now the turn for another 1,000.

The goal is to give a roof over the head of every Banovina inhabitant by the end of the year so that they don't welcome next winter in inappropriate conditions, he said.

Also, Bačić dismissed accusations from the opposition Bridge party that the government was stalling the verification of signatures it collected for a referendum against COVID certificates.

"It's in the interest of us in the ruling majority, too, to have the number of signatures checked as soon as possible," he said.

The proposal of the parliamentary committee on the constitution on the two referendum petitions will be debated at a plenary on Thursday and only when parliament votes on it can the government begin verifying the signatures, he added.

MPs will also debate the possibility that representatives of the two referendum petitions monitor the signature counting and verification.

Thursday, 10 September 2020

The Count of Signatures to Revoke the Istanbul Convention was Public and Transparent

ZAGREB, Sept 10, 2020 - Justice and Public Administration Minister Ivan Malenica said on Thursday that the count of signatures to revoke the Istanbul Convention was public and transparent and that the procedure had been over.

Recalling that representatives of the Administration Ministry, Interior Affairs Ministry, Agency for the Protection of Personal Data, and the Apis IT company participated in the signature count, Malenica denied any doubts expressed by the civil initiative "The Truth about the Istanbul Convention," regarding the signature count for a referendum on revoking the Istanbul convention.

"The report is public and transparent and representatives of those referendum initiatives were invited for a follow-up check of invalid signatures," Malenica told reporters when asked by reporters about a demand by the initiative for the signatures to be recounted.

He said that the signature counting procedure was conducted transparently and that a conclusion has been adopted in that regard. "Hence that procedure is considered to be finished," he said.

Apart from the referendum initiative groups' activists, also opposition politician Miroslav Skoro on Thursday demanded the recounting of the signatures which had been collected in a bid to call the referendum against the Istanbul Convention.

Skoro accused the authorities of deviations and political maneuvers in that process.

Minister and county prefects to discuss decentralization next week

Asked whether a recent statement by President Zoran Milanovic that abolishing counties would not bring anything good and whether that was actually conducive to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) policy, Malenica said this certainly supported HDZ's policy in empowering counties. "Counties that have a certain tradition are in this government's interest," said Malenica.

He announced a meeting with all county heads next week in Gospic to talk about active recovery plans, regional development, and the further process of decentralization.

Malenica did not wish to comment on whether the government was considering allowing homosexual couples to adopt children now that they have been approved as foster carers. "I would not like to comment on that for the time being," he said.

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