Sunday, 28 November 2021

First Round of Elections in SDP Completed, Zagreb Branch To Hold Another Round

ZAGREB, 28 Nov, 2021 - The first round of intraparty elections in the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) was held on Saturday, and the leader of the SDP Zagreb branch will be known next Saturday, with the two main contenders being Viktor Gotovac and Matej Mišić.

SDP members on Saturday elected presidents, vice presidents and members of party presidencies at the municipal and county levels.

The second round of intraparty elections for the Zagreb SDP branch will be held next Saturday, when SDP members will choose between Gotovac and Mišić.

Gotovac, a labour law professor at the Zagreb Law School, won 524 votes and Mišić 261.

In the first round of party elections the leaders of SDP town branches were elected, with Rijeka Mayor Marko Filipović having been elected the new president of the SDP branch in Rijeka, while the SDP branch in Osijek elected Milan Blagojević its leader and the branch in Split Damir Barbir.

Ostojić, Hajdaš Dončić re-elected leaders of SDP county branches

In the first round of party elections, Ranko Ostojić was re-elected leader of the SDP branch in Split-Dalmatia County while Siniša Hajdaš Dončić was re-elected president of the SDP branch in Krapina-Zagorje County.

Also re-elected to their posts were Mihael Zmajlović as head of the SDP branch in Zagreb County, Barbara Antolić Vupora as head of the party branch in Varaždin County, Umag Mayor Vili Bassanese as head of the Istria County SDP banch, Mitar Obradović as head of the SDP branch in Požega-Slavonia County and Kristina Ikić Baniček as head of the SDP branch in Sisak-Moslavina County.

The newly elected heads of SDP branches in other counties are Ivica Lukanović in Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Jure Zubčić in Zadar County, Ploče Mayor Mišo Krstičević in Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Krešimir Čulinović in Lika-Senj County, Mario Vučinić in Brod-Posavina County, Sanja Bježančević in Osijek-Baranja County, Goran Heffer in Vukovar-Srijem County, Tomislav Golubić in Koprivnica-Križevci County and Dalibor Domitrović in Karlovac County.

SDP members will choose between Karlo Klarin and Ivan Rajić for head of the SDP branch in Šibenik-Knin County in the second round next Saturday.

Elections for the SDP branch in Međimurje County were postponed due to a repeat of local elections in that county on 28 November, as were intraparty elections in Bjelovar-Bilogora County.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Gordan Maras' Post-Political Life: From Politics to Business

September 29, 2021 - Gordan Maras' post-political life sees the former economy minister and MP going into private business.

Croats often discuss politics, whether on social media or in bars over coffee or something stronger. As such, one could say they love politics but despise politicians.

If you regularly read TCN's political section, you can see why. Numerous instances of corruption among political elites or an inadequate bureaucratic system are just the tip of the iceberg. Add-in politicians (for a year, most notably President Zoran Milanović and Prime minister Andrej Plenković) spending more time insulting each other than dealing with the many problems Croatian people have, and you can really understand the constant trash-talking about politicians that Croats almost constantly do.

Some Croatian politicians, such as the late Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, despite heavy criticism, remain in power till the end of their lives. In contrast, others, such as former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, eventually retire from politics (and then spend time writing for TCN, no less).

One such politician who recently said goodbye to politics is Gordan Maras.

Many Croatian media outlets, such as Dnevnik.hr reported on Maras's social media post that his 20-year-old long political career doesn't mean the end of his working days.

After briefly being unemployed, Gordan Maras came with a business plan and became an entrepreneur. More precisely, he will be a consultant for European Funds, as well as a project financing advisor. Basically, if you have an idea to start a business, but you don't know how to start it, Maras is now the guy to talk to.

''I feel full of energy, thirsty to work and aware that I have a fresh start in front of me and I'll do everything I can to use this opportunity,'' Maras said, as noted by Dnevnik.hr

In general, apart from receiving edgy humour and cynicism at your expense from the public, the end of a political career may not be so bad after all. If your political endeavor brought you to parliamentary level politics, you're in line to receive a parliamentary pension. As Mirovina.hr writes, a parliamentary pension is 10,077 kuna, allowing for a more than pleasant life.

''If an MP has held office for three consecutive years, in each term longer than half, he may retire with 15 years of service. His pension is 55 percent of his base salary (parliamentary net salary), increased by two percent per year of service,'' informs Mirovina.hr when stating the conditions you need to satisfy for a Croatian parliamentary pension.

Gordan Maras, having been an MP from 2007 and economy minister from 2011 to 2016, certainly has the right to this luxurious pension. Not to mention the fact that his last job was being the head of Zagreb's local SDP branch.

Maras stated how ''a parliamentary pension was never an option'' and despite corruption scandals he was allegedly involved in, that is a praiseworthy decision on his part. But the downside is that he still received state aid for his new private business adventure. Let's just hope he will pay his taxes.

Gordan Maras's career change is followed by the tensions in the Croatian Socialdemocratic party (SDP) after new party president Peđa Grbin removed Maras and three other (in)famous party members: Rajko Ostojić, Zvane Brumnić, and Nikša Vukas. As TCN reported, this decision caused an unbelievable tremble within SDP, the second biggest political force in all of Croatia.

Despite the current president Zoran Milanović (who is also the former prime minister and the head of the government which had Maras as a minister) starting his career in SDP, the party hasn't won any parliamentary elections since 2015. Grbin hoped to improve SDP's rating by removing those associated with ''less than top quality'' political work (or alleged criminal affairs) in the past from the party. He also believes these individuals are the result of less than satisfactory election results with Rijeka being the only big city an with SDP mayor.

With Maras now retired, new faces came to the parliament. From the green-left Možemo! Party (currently ruling Zagreb) or the Centre-party Fokus (who earned their name in handling Sveta Nedelja ) to conservative star Marin Miletić from the Most party. With new names for every political preference, there may be a glimmer of hope that these new names will work honorably and convince Croats that politicians aren't so bad after all. Who knows, maybe the millionth time's a charm?

Learn more about Croatian politics and history from the 1990s on our TC page.

For more news from SDP Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

SDP Leader Talks Conflict Within Party, COVID Certificates

ZAGREB, 19 Sept, 2021 - Social Democratic Party president Peđa Grbin said on Saturday he was ready for radical measures against the caucus members who would be for the four ousted members staying in the caucus, adding that he would do his best to prevent a split within the party and that it was now up to the caucus.

The SDP parliamentary group has 32 members, of whom 18 demand that Grbin convene a caucus meeting to vote on the ousting of four caucus members - Rajko Ostojić, Zvane Brumnić, Nikša Vukas and Gordan Maras - who have been expelled from the party.

Speaking on Croatian Television, Grbin said the question was whether there was will in the caucus to resolve the situation through dialogue or continue the conflict.

He said it was now up to the parliamentary group to decide whether "the party will continue to deal with itself or start dealing with what citizens elected us for, which is to care for their interests and standard."

Asked if he was prepared to possibly have 12 or 14 MPs, Grbin said his goal was a strong SDP that was willing to stand up for people's interests.

He said there were many problems in Croatia and called the ruling HDZ "a clientelist organisation and a party which has done Croatia too much evil."

Grbin said if the situation in the SDP could not be solved through dialogue, he was prepared to take radical action, although he would rather not have to. He added that the situation was untenable and might become even more difficult if it was not solved shortly.

COVID certificates necessary because of negligence

Commenting on a protest against COVID rules held in Zagreb earlier in the day under the name Freedom Festival, Grbin said it was a festival of irresponsibility.

As for making COVID certificates a requirement in health and social care, he said Croatia's vaccination rate was the same as in India, Guyana and Colombia, and not as in Scandinavia as he would like.

Grbin said the certificates needed to be introduced "considering the inaction, negligence and poor government work," adding that "it's an indicator of failure and inaction."

He said the government should have but failed to assure people that nothing happened from vaccination, other than being safer.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Grbin Says He Feels Stupid Because of SDP Member Suspected of Faking Threats

ZAGREB, 11 Sept, 2021 - Social Democratic Party president Peđa Grbin said on Saturday he felt stupid because of SDP member Stjepan Kovač, who made up threats over which Grbin comforted him, but would not talk about his future in the party until he talked to him.

Grbin was responding to reporters who asked if Kovač would be punished by the party or even ousted after being arrested yesterday on suspicion of having staged death threats.

Grbin said he expected to have an answer in five to six days, adding that anyone who committed a crime must be held to account, regardless of which party they were from.

Asked if he felt deceived because he comforted a teary-eyed Kovač in front of the cameras over threats which Kovač allegedly made up, Grbin said he would do it again if a colleague told him that they were being threatened and if the police took the threats seriously enough to give them protection.

"A threat in politics is not allowed because it's not just a threat against a person, but is also a threat against the rule of law."

He said that if the charges against Kovač proved to be true, the colleagues who had been threatened for real would be brought in a "very unfavourable position because tomorrow everyone will question if the threat is real... making their life and work difficult."

Grbin said if Kovač was indeed guilty, "that's totally inappropriate." He added that he did not feel deceived. "But stupid? Certainly."

Reporters also asked him about Matija Posavec, who resigned as Međimurje County head today after admitting to bribe-taking. Posavec won a seat in parliament on the SDP slate and could now activate his term.

Grbin said a corrupt person who admitted to bribe-taking had no place in politics, including in the SDP and its parliamentary group.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 19 August 2021

SDP, GLAS Criticise Gov't Decision to Co-Finance Construction of Chapel in Bethlehem

ZAGREB, 19 Aug, 2021 - The Social Democratic Party has criticised the government's decision to co-finance the construction of a chapel in Bethlehem with HRK 3.3 million, calling on it to use the money for the reconstruction of houses in the earthquake-hit region of Banija while the GLAS party called the decision scandalous.

"At a time when the healthcare system is under strain, when post-earthquake reconstruction in Zagreb and Banija is late and people lack basic conditions for normal living, our foreign minister considers it a priority to finance the Church," SDP political secretary and MP Mirela Ahmetović said in a statement.

Calling on the government to use the money intended for the chapel to rebuild a dozen homes in Banija or buy expensive drugs for children suffering from rare diseases, Ahmetović noted that the Catholic Church receives around HRK 300 million from the state budget annually plus donations from local government units.

Another opposition party, GLAS, described the government's decision as scandalous, noting that Croatia did not have a sufficient number of radiation therapy machines, which was why some cancer patients had to wait for therapy for up to three months.

"The Andrej Plenković government has always chosen its priorities wisely, including this time. Their clients and the Church that brings votes come first, and if something is left over, citizens get what they really need," the party said in a statement.

GLAS MP Anka Mrak-Taritaš proposed to the parliament that the government should purchase three new radiation therapy machines, one costing HRK 5 million.

Earlier in the day the government decided to allocate 3.375 million kuna(€450,000) for the construction of a Croatian chapel in Bethlehem and thus granted a request made by Conventual Franciscans in Zagreb.

The chapel will be built in Shepherd’s Field in Bethlehem to honour Croatian saints and Croatians who have been blessed.

Friar Sandro Tomasevic, a clergyman in the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, told Hina that he was happy with the government's decision and described Croatia's plan to build the chapel as one of the six nations to do so in Bethlehem as a great success.

"It is a great thing for the whole homeland, particularly for our faithful and pilgrims," the priest said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

President Zoran Milanović Says Outvoting Croats in BiH Will "Come to an End"

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Tuesday said that outvoting Croats in elections for the collective presidency and parliament in Bosnia and Herzegovina will come to an end and that Bosniak politicians are to blame for the "misfortune in BiH".

The Bosniak member of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency, Šefik Džaferović, said on Monday that Croatian pesident  was behaving like "a rude guest in someone else's house." Milanović is on a working visit to BiH and stopped in Vitez and Mostar, but not the capital of Sarajevo. Džaferović insisted that Milanović only came to BiH to cause problems and incidents.

"No, no. They are the cause of political instability, nervousness and misfortune in BiH. They are doing exactly what Haris Silajdžić warned about, 15 years ago when he said 'if you continue like that, you will make the Croats abhor this country that is their homeland'," Milanović told reporters in Livno.

Commenting on Džaferović's statement that he needn't come if he was going to behave like that, Milanović said that he was a guest in BiH to those people who welcomed him." "My hosts are the democratic authorities and the Franciscans," said Milanović.

During the three-day working visit to BiH, Milanović visited the towns mainly populated by Croats:  Vitez, Mostar, Ljubuški, Tomislavgrad and Livno. He visited the local Franciscan monasteries and said that the biggest gratitude for preserving the Croatian heritage went to the local friars.

Milanović said that the biggest problem is the outvoting of Croats and imposing Željko Komšić as the Croat member of the tripartite presidency who was voted in with Bosniak votes as well as attempts to achieve the same thing in the upper house - the House of People's in the country's parliament.

"The seats designated for Croats in the House of Peoples are being taken by people who aren't Croats or are lying that they are and they are elected by another ethnic group. That is the same template as in the presidency. The same story. And that has to come to an end," he underscored.

Asked why then he attended an SDP BiH election rally in 2010 and supported Komšić, Milanović said he was "tricked." That isn't a change in policy but rather a policy of maturing and realising someone's false nature. I haven't changed, but they are despicable," said Milanović.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

New Waste Management Legislation Will Make Bills Higher, Says Opposition

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - Some opposition parties claimed on Tuesday that the new waste management law will result in higher bills for citizens and that this will in particular affect lessors and small entrepreneurs.

The entire waste management system is based on waste management centres which are very expensive and that will be evident once citizens receive their new bills, said MP Sanja Udović (SDP).

She claimed that in those areas where these centres have been established, citizens can expect their bills to increase by 100 percent. "We, in Primorje Gorski Kotar County can soon expect the end price to go up, that means the price citizens pay will increase by some 30 to 40 percent," she said.

MP Marin Lerotić (IDS) underscored that the new bill doesn't go in favour of citizens nor lessors or small businesses who have been categorised as non-households and will pay a higher price.

"Shopping centres will pay the same, minimal service, as will shoemakers, or camp sites for up to 10,000 people will pay the same as a family-owned camp site with a capacity of up to 12 people. Hotels with a capacity of 100 rooms will pay the same price as a lessor of a flat," warned Lerotić.

MP Josip Borić (HDZ) explained that the government was providing a framework for prices to be defined by the local government.

"The opportunity exists to reduce the price for those who need to be rewarded. It contains criteria that allow that reduction for enterprises to certain household members, you can make them up yourself and include them in the price list," he said.

Local government officials have to realise that their role in waste management will be more complex, constructive, creative and more responsible, state-secretary in the Economy Ministry, Mile Horvat said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Grbin: Change in Varaždin Sets Course SDP Will Stand for in Croatia

ZAGREB, 4 July, 2021 - Social Democratic Party president Peđa Grbin said in Varaždin on Sunday the changes the SDP was effecting in the city after winning local elections would set the course which the party would stand for in Croatia.

The chair of the SDP's Varaždin County branch, Barbara Antolić Vupora, told the press that new Mayor Neven Bosilj and his deputy Miroslav Marković were fighting "a corrupt, clientelist octopus," offering a management model in the service of citizens.

"Very concrete things have been done," Grbin said, adding that the number of people on supervisory boards and their fees had been reduced, "thus ensuring savings that will raise the quality of running the city for all."

He said Varaždin would launch the most important project for citizens in September, budget transparency. "Then the clientelist-corruption octopus that ruled Varaždin for years will not be possible ever again."

Speaking of those ousted from the party, Grbin said that those who had worked against SDP interests and those who had not been involved in local elections campaigns could not come back.

This is no score-settling with anyone, including former president Davor Bernardić.

Asked about the national COVID-19 crisis management team's latest decisions on restrictions for unvaccinated people and job-keeping payments, Grbin called them "insufficiently conceived."

He said the government's project to have 55% of the population vaccinated by 1 July "failed because the vaccination campaign doesn't work adequately," and that people were not clear on the benefits of vaccination and the consequences of non-vaccination.

"Instead of mustering the political courage to say that vaccination will be mandatory, the government is imposing the obligation of vaccination in other ways. People will revolt."

Grbin wondered whether making job-keeping payments conditional on vaccination "is a call on employers to fire those who are not vaccinated."

"What the government is doing won't contribute to improving the economic situation and fighting poverty. On the contrary, it can expand inequality."

Grbin announced that this autumn Varaždin would launch a project to fight period poverty by providing elementary school girls with hygienic menstrual products "which they couldn't afford otherwise."

He said that one in three women in Croatia could not afford those products.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For more about Croatia, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

PM Andrej Plenković: SDP Interpellation Won't Pass, They Must Pretend They Are Doing Something

ZAGREB, 29 June, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Tuesday the Social Democratic Party's interpellation on the government's slowness in post-earthquake reconstruction would not pass, adding that in the SDP "they have to pretend they are doing something" after losing in local elections.

Speaking to the press in Petrinja, Plenković said he had not seen the interpellation but that "when someone loses so badly in local elections, when they have a 13% rating, they have to pretend they are doing something." He added that parliament would reject it.

Plenković visited Petrinja to see the demolition of buildings damaged in December's earthquake and meet with the task force dealing with its consequences.

He said that when the reconstruction law was being passed, he said he wished to incorporate in it all constructive ideas and that no prior law included so many proposals from the opposition.

He said interpellations like the SDP's one did not serve to improve something but to show distrust in the government.

In the interpellation filed today, the SDP asks for urgently amending the reconstruction law, including local government in discussions about it, and informing the public more transparently, among other things.

Asked who was responsible for the fact that 150 damaged buildings had been torn down in the Banija region since the December 2020 earthquake and only three in Zagreb since the March 2020 quake, Plenković said the goal in Zagreb had been to first provide institutions that would be in charge of the whole process, then financing, and cooperation between the state, the city and the quake-affected counties around Zagreb.

He said the processing of reconstruction applications in Zagreb was "somewhat slower" than expected but that property-rights relations in the capital were "even more complex" than in Banija. "We tasked (Construction) Minister Horvat with accelerating all processes and I expect all who should help him in that to contribute."

He said Reconstruction Fund head Damir Vanđelić must be propulsive, notably regarding the reconstruction of private houses and buildings.

Citizens should be responsible and contribute by getting vaccinated

Asked if Croatia would have to resort to COVID-19 vaccination incentives, like some countries that have announced financial rewards, Plenković asked whether that meant "bribing people to be vaccinated?"

"What will we give to the 44% who have been vaccinated? If we give HRK 100 to someone who hasn't been vaccinated but is waiting and calculating, what about the million and a half who have been vaccinated? Give them money retroactively?"

Plenković said people were "fully informed" about all key matters and that every citizen had the responsibility to contribute to society by getting vaccinated.

Recalling the number of COVID deaths, he said everything should be done to motivate people to be vaccinated, adding that Croatia had 670,000 doses available.

If they were administered, he said, "we would practically solve all problems" and stop the virus from spreading. He said it was a matter of common sense and that, perhaps, young people should be motivated to attend concerts and big events with COVID certificates.

Asked what message inconsistencies in enforcing COVID restrictions sent to those undecided on vaccination, Plenković said that "everyone who is responsible will contribute, who isn't, won't."

He said Croatia had been applying mild restrictions out of respect for its citizens, considering them smart and responsible. He said the Croatian mentality would not accept tough restrictions. "We didn't decide in vain that we would not be a country with a curfew. That wouldn't have been well-accepted and I think we did the right thing."

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

SDP Adopts Draft Programme For Cooperation With Možemo! in Zagreb

ZAGREB, 15 June, 2021- The presidency of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has adopted a draft programme for cooperation with the green-left platform Možemo! and their partners in Zagreb, which will ensure their majority in the new City Assembly following recent local elections, the SDP announced on Monday evening.

Addressing the press after the SDP Presidency meeting, Glasovac said that the draft 28-point programme was adopted unanimously and that several other details needed to be agreed before Wednesday, when the programme is expected to be signed.

She said that the cooperation programme included points on a transparent budget, civic education in schools, care for pre-school children, and certain infrastructure projects. 

Glasovac confirmed that the draft also dealt with the division of roles in the City Assembly, but would not say whether Joško Klisović, the SDP's mayoral candidate, would serve as deputy chairman of the Assembly. 

Možemo! said that it would discuss the draft on Tuesday.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Page 1 of 5

Search