Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Homeland Movement Says Won't Attend Official Ceremony in Knin

ZAGREB, Aug 4, 2020 - The opposition Homeland Movement party, led by Miroslav Skoro, said on Tuesday that its delegation, during a visit to Knin on August 5 for the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm, would not attend the official ceremony.

The party said one of the reasons why it would not attend the official ceremony was the fact that President Zoran Milanovic does not want units of the wartime Croatian Defence Force (HOS) to be part of the official protocol, and that one of Homeland Movement members of parliament was HOS general Ante Prkacin, who, it said, would be insulted by the party's attendance at the ceremony.

The Homeland Movement said it wanted to "celebrate the victory with the people" while the area where the official ceremony would be taking place would be cordoned off.

The party also said that statements by the HDZ and its coalition partner the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) ahead of the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm put emphasis on individual negative experiences of representatives of one part of the Serb minority, instead of on those who took part in the 1995 military operation.

"Instead of celebrating the magnificent victory, the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm has turned into a political show by Plenkovic and Milanovic aimed at promoting the Croat-Serb coalition that is based on trade-offs. The Homeland Movement refuses to give legitimacy to what should have been a celebration of the Croatian victory and has been turned into a commemoration for the Serb victims. We respect all victims, but on the 25th anniversary of Operation Storm, guilt cannot be equated and the aggressor cannot be turned into the victim," the party said.

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Homeland Movement Party Chief Nominated for Deputy Parliament Speaker

ZAGREB, July 21, 2020 - Homeland Movement whip Milan Vrkljan said on Tuesday the party would nominate its president Miroslav Skoro as a deputy parliament speaker.

"The Homeland Movement will have... one deputy speaker, two committee chairs, two committee deputy chairs, one parliamentary group chair, and 13 seats on all parliamentary committees from the opposition quota," Vrkljan told the press.

Of the five deputy speakers, it is a usual practice that two come from the ranks of the Opposition.

He said the opposition was extremely fair at Monday's meeting and that they "managed to agree with the SDP, Bridge, the Sovereignists and We Can! simply, easily and with a lot of good intentions."

As for We Can! leader Tomislav Tomasevic's statement that this coalition could abstain from voting for Skoro as one of the deputy parliament speakers, Vrkljan called it "activist habits which some MPs brought from their campaigns."

He said all opposition parliamentary groups agreed yesterday to have joint candidates for deputy speakers, for all groups and committees.

"Based on that, the party which doesn't support a joint proposal will be excluded by all of us from the allotment of seats on parliamentary committees, but I believe they will find the strength in themselves and democratic customs to support anyone legitimately nominated in the Croatian parliament," said Vrkljan.

Friday, 3 July 2020

Skoro: HDZ, SDP Agree About Their Interests

ZAGREB, July 3, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro accused the HDZ and the SDP on Friday of agreeing about their interests, although they were supposed to be political opponents, for example, that it was not necessary to amend the election law or revoke their perks.

Speaking at the final campaign press conference, Skoro said he was not worried about the election results because he believed in a better tomorrow, but that he was worried about a deep rift in Croatian society given that 50% of eligible citizens did not wish to vote.

"We are offering this state the possibility to make a move with good far-reaching consequences. They are offering another move with bad consequences."

Skoro said he feared what would happen after Sunday's election because the epidemiological situation was not good. "The whole world is closing again, only we are opening and exposing ourselves in the interest of one man and two parties, Andrej Plenkovic, in the interest of the HDZ and the SDP."

Plenkovic and Bernardic can't be prime ministers

Asked if he was willing to sit down on Monday and talk about the next government, Skoro said the Homeland Movement was willing to talk with anyone who wished Croatia well. He added, however, that neither HDZ president Plenkovic nor SDP president Davor Bernardic could be a prime minister.

Skoro said he did not think a new election would be called because there were enough smart and wise people who would recognise the need to remove Plenkovic and Bernardic.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Skoro Says In Favour Of Croat Federal Unit In Bosnia And Herzegovina

ZAGREB, June 29, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro has said that he advocates a Croat federal unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina so that Croats in that country could become equal to the other two ethnic groups, and he criticised the attitude of Croatia's governments so far to compatriots in the neighbouring country.

"We are not satisfied with statements about the need for Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to be an equal and constituent ethnic group, we have been hearing them for years and (ethnic Croats) are neither equal nor constituent. The only true solution that would satisfy those principles is a federal unit for the Croat people within an integral Bosnia and Herzegovina," Skoro said.

He said that that solution would be best for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croats themselves as it would not "push them into the embrace of Milorad Dodik, who is not hiding his separatist ambitions at all."

Skoro welcomed resolutions by the European Parliament supporting the federalisation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on which he said Zagreb had not insisted.

Skoro believes that the source of the inequality of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, which put an end to the war in the country, which, he said, had stripped local Croats of that constitutional right.

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Skoro Distances Himself From Those Who Committed Crimes

ZAGREB, June 28, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro on Sunday strongly distanced himself from "those who committed any criminal offence yet are in politics," saying that if Davorka Smokovic, a candidate on one of their lists, won a seat in parliament, she would cede it to the party.

The media have reported that the Homeland Movement's slate for Constituency No. 8 includes Smokovic, a former Pazin municipal prosecutor who was recently convicted of corruption.

In a press release, Skoro admitted to his part of the blame, saying the Homeland Movement could not control the "deep state" and vet people the usual way.

He said it was necessary to amend the election law because now the Homeland Movement could not legally take Smokovic off the slate.

Earlier today, Smokovic said in a press release that she was pulling out of the campaign. She said she had not received any Supreme Court ruling but that she did not want her "alleged burden" to be transferred onto the Homeland Movement in any way.

Smokovic added that if she won a seat in parliament, she would cede it to the party.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Skoro Says Plenkovic Impervious to Criticism

ZAGREB, June 27, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro said on Friday that the HDZ had moved away from the right-wing policy pursued by its former leader and Croatian president, the late Franjo Tudjman, and that its current leader Andrej Plenkovic was immune to any criticism.

Addressing a news conference in Dugo Selo outside Zagreb, he said that he did not want to patronise anyone, including the HDZ leader who was refusing to self-isolate following contacts with infected persons at the recent Adria Tour tennis tournament in Zadar, and who called such demands 'political folklore'.

Skoro said that he himself would get tested for the coronavirus as a responsible person even though he had not been in direct contact with Social Democrat Rajko Ostojic, with whom he had a debate recently and who has self-isolated due to contacts with another colleague in the SDP who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Skoro also said that he could not tell, when members of the national COVID-19 response team addressed the public if they were doing so as HDZ members or as health professionals, assessing that the team was not dealing with the latest epidemiological situation in the best possible way.

He criticised the team's head, Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic, for calling Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina eastern neighbours and closing the border to them, thus preventing the possibility for one part of Dalmatia to have any kind of tourist season this year.

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Homeland Movement: Why Isn't Plenkovic in Self-Isolation?

ZAGREB, June 23, 2020 - Homeland Movement candidates in the 9th constituency on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic why he was not in self-isolation after attending the Adria Tour tennis tournament in Zadar which was cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"Will he (Plenkovic) sacrifice and jeopardise Croatian citizens with his irresponsible behaviour or will he, as a conscious citizen regardless of currently testing negative, go into 14 days of self-isolation?," Hrvoje Zekanovic told a press conference in Zadar.

Zekanovic noted that people who were in close contact with an infected person but avoided the prescribed measure of self-isolation were until recently referred to as terrorists. 

Bozinovic and Beros should leave the national crisis management team

Zekanovic also said that Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic and Health Minister Vili Beros "should immediately leave the national coronavirus crisis management team because they both head Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party slates for the coming election.

It is unacceptable that they should have dual roles during the campaign because it is in violation of all electioneering rules. We insist that they immediately leave their respective positions on the national crisis management team, said Zekanovic.

He also said that "Andrej Plenkovic imposed measures against the coronavirus when it went in his favour and now that the internal party election in the HDZ is over, he immediately lifted the restrictions when he considered he would achieve the best election result at the parliamentary election." "And that is unacceptable," Zekanovic added.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Skoro: Ex-President, PM and Parliament Speaker Launched "Middle-Finger Coalition"

ZAGREB, June 20, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro on Saturday criticised former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic for launching "a middle-finger coalition" against him, after his statement about raped women and abortion caused an outrage.

Skoro's statement, made during a recent election debate, that if a woman becomes pregnant after being raped, she should agree with her family what to do next, has triggered an avalanche of reactions and comments on social media, especially among women, who showed him their middle finger in protest. Grabar-Kitarovic joined them on Thursday by posting a photograph of herself with a raised middle finger in support of women.

Skoro was in the eastern city of Osijek on Saturday to present the election candidates of the Homeland Movement for Constituency 4. The party's list for this electoral unit is headed by his sister, Vesna Vucemilovic.

Skoro accused Grabar-Kitarovic, Plenkovic and Jandrokovic of ignoring the will of Croatian voters and referendum initiatives. He said that the ruling HDZ was in a coalition with the leftist faction of the European People's Party (EPP) in the European Parliament which includes Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic's people.

"That makes it clear why (Croatian Serb MP) Milorad Pupovac supports Plenkovic and why Plenkovic does not want to and cannot renounce him," Skoro said.

"The Homeland Movement advocates traditional Christian Democratic values, protection of life from conception, reforms, and a better life in Croatia. Young people are key to survival and it should be made possible for them to educate themselves, work and start their families here," he added.

Skoro said that his statements were "maliciously taken out of context" to raise a fuss, but that "all masks are off now."

The press conference was also addressed by Tado Juric, the party's expert in demography and youth issues, who said that the Slavonia region was "a demographically scorched country" as far more young people had emigrated than official figures indicated.

"Young people think that this country and this society has morally declined. It is high time we changed that. Unfortunately, right now we don't have patriotic elites to raise the issue of emigration to the EU level," Juric said.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Ex-President Shows Her Middle Finger As Sign of Support for Women

ZAGREB, June 19, 2020 - Former president Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has joined women who have shown their middle finger at statements about abortion made by Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro and some other politicians, making an off the photo of herself with her middle finger extended.

"I am joining all women who with this 'indecent' act are showing their stand and raising their voice against those who are trying to take us centuries back," Grabar-Kitarovic told the Jutarnji List daily, to which she sent her photo.

The former president said the time was gone when men made decisions for women.

"I have always advocated life but I have also advocated a life that has the right to choose. Without pressure, without stigmatisation and without conditions, particularly in the most sensitive situations such as rape," Grabar-Kitarovic said, adding that she had shown her middle finger as a sign of support for "us women and our rights as well as for men who support us."

Grabar-Kitarovic's statement was one in a number of reactions prompted by Skoro's statement that "if a woman becomes pregnant after being raped, she should agree with her family what to do next."

Commenting on those reactions, Skoro said that his statements were being taken out of context because there was nothing he or the election candidates of the Homeland Movement could be reproached for.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Skoro: It's Not Fair To Twist Someone's Statements And Take Them Out Of Context

ZAGREB, June 18, 2020 - Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro said on Thursday it was not fair to twist his statements and take them out of context, referring to reactions to his statement that if a raped woman gets pregnant, she should agree with her family what to do.

"I know very well what I said. I'm a pro-lifer, I believe that life begins with conception and that it should be protected until natural death. It's not fair or right to twist someone's statements, take them out of context, and I don't think it's right to build an election campaign on someone's suffering," Skoro told reporters during a visit to a trade fair in Sesvete, Zagreb's eastern suburb.

He said it was quite normal for anyone, especially victims of violence, to seek advice from their family. "I didn't say that it should be a legal solution. I think that's natural, and will continue to advocate for human life to be protected from birth to natural death."

Skoro said that such accusations were laid at his door because there was nothing else he or the election candidates of the Homeland Movement could be reproached for.

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