Monday, 11 July 2022

Ivica Puljak Re-Elected Split Mayor

ZAGREB, 11 July 2022 - The Centar party's candidate Ivica Puljak on Sunday scored a landslide victory in the Split mayoral runoff, winning 27,496 votes, while his opponent Zoran Đogaš, nominated by the HDZ and the HSS, won 13,243, according to the State Electoral Commission.

Puljak and his deputies Bojan Ivošević and Antonio Kuzmanić will run the city until the next regular local election in spring 2025.

The government called a snap election in Split after Puljak, Ivošević, and Kuzmanić resigned on 8 April, having lost their partners' support in the City Council.

The turnout in the runoff was 28.36%.

In his first address after the victory, Puljak said the people of Split had sent a clear message that his team's advocacy of order and public interest was right, and that the city would be run differently than in the past 30 years.

Citizens have decided that Split should be a city without privileged ones, with public tenders and not clientelism, he added.

Puljak said he would begin talks with the Social Democratic Party and Bridge on Monday already on forming a majority in the City Council. The only thing Centar wants from the cooperation is that there is no dividing of the loot, he added.

Puljak said his communication with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to date had been professional and that he hoped it would stay so.

For more, check out our politics section.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Split To Hold Early Local Elections On 26 June

ZAGREB, 19 May 2022 - The Croatian government on Thursday called snap elections in the City of Split for 26 June.

On 26 June, eligible voters will go to the polls to elect the mayor, the two deputy mayors and a new 31-seat city council.

The snap polls will be organised after Split Mayor Ivica Puljak (the Centre party) and his two deputies Bojan Ivošević and Antonio Kuzmanić -- stepped down recently after an indictment was upheld against Ivošević for threatening a reporter.

For more, check out our politics section.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Split Mayor and His Deputies Resign

ZAGREB, 8 April (2022) - Split Mayor Ivica Puljak and his deputies Bojan Ivošević and Antonio Kuzmanić formally tendered their resignations on Friday, thus leaving their offices.

Puljak, Ivošević and Kuzmanić resigned after local prosecutorial authorities indicted Ivošević for threatening an editor at the Split-based Slobodna Dalmacija daily, Nikolina Lulić.

Puljak had come under harsh criticism from other politicians and media for not distancing himself from Ivošević even after he was indicted.

Instead, he took many by surprise by opting to stand by his first deputy and go with him and his second deputy, Antonio Kuzmanić, to a snap election.

"To live for Split and not off Split is our motto and I hope we will not encounter political obstructions after citizens give us their votes again," Puljak told reporters after he and his deputies tendered their resignations.

The mayor had earlier announced that Kuzmanić would continue running the city until the early election, but the Justice and Public Administration Ministry said that it would appoint a commissioner to run the city, meaning that Kuzmanić would not be able to stay in office.

Puljak has now decided to put an end to a possible legal tangle with Kuzmanić resigning together with him and Ivošević.

"With Mr Kuzmanić resigning we have shown that we are putting the city's interests first, we are not interested in legal manoeuvering," Puljak said.

 For more, check out our politics section.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Split Mayor: City Council to Sit Next Week; Kuzmanić, Centre Deputies to Resign

ZAGREB, 6 April 2022 - Split Mayor Ivica Puljak said that leaders of the party groups in the Split City Council decided at their meeting on Wednesday to hold a session of the City Council next week at which the councillors of his Centre party would tender their irrevocable resignations, adding that he expected the same from the HDZ councillors.

"At that session of the City Council a decision will be made to hold district elections and the proposal is that they be held on 26 June. We will propose that on the same day early elections be held for the mayor and for the City Council," Puljak told reporters.

He noted that today's meeting was not attended by the councillors from the HDZ and the HGS party of Željko Kerum, both in the opposition in the Split City Council.

Puljak said that after next week's City Council session, the councillors from his Centre party would tender their irrevocable resignations and he called on the nine HDZ councillors to resign simultaneously with the Centre deputies. That way 16 councillors would resign, which is the majority of the 31 city councillors necessary to dissolve the City Council, Puljak said.

Second deputy mayor to resign together with HDZ councillors 

Puljak repeated that he and his first deputy Bojan Ivošević would resign by the end of this week to clear the way for mayoral elections.

"My (second) deputy Kuzmanić will prepare his resignation and hand it in together with the resignations of the HDZ councillors," Puljak said, adding that Kuzmanić would do so because the Centre party did not trust the HDZ.

"The HDZ has cheated us and the residents of Split, and not only them but all Croatians, a number of times. Our offer is for deputy mayor Kuzmanić to resign together with the HDZ councillors," Puljak said, noting that that would pave the way to elections for the City Council.

Asked earlier in the day about the political situation in Split and Puljak's allegations that he was interfering in the election process, PM and HDZ party leader Andrej Plenković said that he did not know "what Puljak is hallucinating about."

"I am aware that Andrej Plenković and the government will do everything to take Split again and that in that process they will not hesitate to violate the law, which is what they announced yesterday with the opinion of the Justice and Public Administration Ministry on the government commissioner for Split, contrary to legal experts' view. We are not afraid of Plenković's and the government's interference," Puljak said.

He called the HDZ councillors in Split cowards who were trying to avoid the dissolution of the City Council for fear of voters.

Puljak also said that Plenković and the government would stall for as long as possible and try to prevent early elections in Split being held on the same day as district elections and move them to the summer.

The entire country is looking at Split and the fight against the HDZ, the clientelism, the crime and the corruption, Puljak said, adding that in parliamentary elections in two years' time that fight will spread to the entire country because "citizens are fed up with what the HDZ has been doing."

Asked if he had any political ambitions at the national level, Puljak said that Split was his sole ambition.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Mayor And Deputy Mayor Of Split Resign

ZAGREB, 31 March 2022 - Split Mayor Ivica Puljak and his first deputy Bojan Ivošević on Thursday confirmed they were stepping down, adding that they intended to run in a snap election.

"This is not an extorted resignation. It is virtually impossible to remove a mayor. I could have remained mayor until the end of the year, the budget would not be adopted and there would be an election for the City Council, which is something we seem to be accustomed to in Croatian politics," Puljak told an extraordinary press conference, confirming his resignation and a fresh election.

"I am not that type of person or politician. I do not want to stoop to that sort of politics," he said and added that he wanted to give Split citizens an opportunity to choose the sort of government they wanted.

"I am not afraid of my citizens. I do not want to be mayor without the support of the citizens. I am certain that we have that support now and will have it in the future," said Puljak.

Referring to Ivošević, who has been indicted for threatening a reporter from the Slobodna Dalmacija daily, Puljak said his deputy did not steal anything nor lied or hit anyone.

"For difficult decisions and in difficult times like this, I always go back to the question of what is true and what isn't. Is it true that the deputy mayor threatened a reporter's life? No, that is not true. The truth is that his communication was inappropriate and inadequate, that is the truth. We have never justified inappropriate communication nor will we. One does not go to jail for things like that," said Puljak.

Politics: For more, check out our politics section.

Monday, 10 January 2022

Plenković: Construction of Access Road to Kozjak Tunnel to Start Soon

ZAGREB, 10 Jan 2022 - During his visit to Split on Monday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said that construction would soon begin of the access road to the €133 million Kozjak tunnel and that project should relieve traffic jams at the entrance to this biggest Croatian Adriatic city.

"We spoke about the Vučevica-Kozjak-Kaštela project which is important for the construction of a tunnel valued at HRK 1 billion  (€133 million), and soon construction works will begin for the road from Vučevica," the premier said after meeting with Split-Dalmatia County Prefect Blaženko Boban.

According to Plenković, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković and the Hrvatske Ceste (HC) road management company's director, Josip Škorić, met with Boban today to discuss the road infrastructure projects and access routes to Split aimed at lessening traffic jams during the tourist season.

Plenković added that other infrastructure projects in the county were also discussed, including a bypass road around Omiš, an overpass at Širine in Solin, and the Mravinci-Stobreč road.

PM said that investments in Adriatic ports had also been discussed, referring to them as the renaissance of the Croatian coast with investments that had not occurred in that county for decades.

"The development of traffic and port infrastructure is boosting the economy and tourism," he said.

Plenković expects efforts to be made in Split-Dalmatia County "to step up the rate of immunization and adherence to epidemiological measures in an effort to put the spread of COVID under control in this fifth wave of the pandemic."

"We have also mulled over preparations for the following tourism season," he said.

Plenković recalled that during the COVID pandemic the government had so far set aside HRK 1.5 billion (€200 million) and saved 75,000 jobs in the county, with aid for 15,000 enterprises.

"The government's policy obviously contributed to last year's tourism season and GDP growth which will certainly be in the double-digits this year," he said.

He added that the government had concluded agreements for more than HRK 7 billion from European funds for projects in Split-Dalmatia County.

Prefect Boban underscored that preparations for large infrastructure projects in the county have been completed and in particular, he referred to a new road from Solin to Omiš which is one of the most congested thoroughfares in Croatia during the tourist season.

Split Mayor and Plenković discuss projects worth €400 million

PM Plenković also held talks with the mayor of Split, Ivica Puljak, on infrastructure projects, worth three billion kuna, such as the reconstruction of the Poljud stadium, and reconstruction and construction of road infrastructure. 

Puljak said that he had requested that the second biggest city in Croatia should be awarded the equal status which the capital city of Zagreb has. This will be beneficial for better management of the city, Puljak told the press.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

Mayor Says PM Blocking Split’s Development, Ministry Refutes It

ZAGREB, 31 Oct, 2021 - Split Mayor Ivica Puljak called on Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Sunday to "stop blocking the development" of Split, while the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure dismissed such a claim and reminded him of the projects that have been launched.

Speaking of the granting of a concession for the city's Žnjan beach, Puljak told N1 television that Sea, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković had said on a number of occasions that, as far as the ministry was concerned, everything was ready and that it was forwarded to Plenković to put it on the government's agenda.

"I invite Prime Minister Plenković... to finally decide who will get the concession so that the project can really be realised. I hope the concession will go to the Žnjan d.o.o. company, which is a city company, and that we will start realising that project," Puljak said, adding that the realisation was almost six months late.

"I think Plenković should stop blocking the development of the City of Split and that he should move away from cheap politics. He should realise that they lost this election, he should get over it in a way and he really must not hold this city back any longer. I think the problem now is him," Puljak said, referring to Plenković's HDZ party and local elections this past May.

The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure said Puljak's claims that Plenković was blocking Split's development by allegedly procrastinating with a decision on the Žnjan concession were "entirely unfounded and incorrect."

The granting of said concession passed regular government procedure and the opinions of the relevant state bodies are now being collected so that a decision on who will get the concession can be made, the ministry said.

It added that the Plenković cabinet was doing everything for Split to develop as much as possible, and mentioned the transport projects that have been launched as well as a HRK 42.6 million reconstruction project in the city port.

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

SDP Candidate For Mayor of Split Says Ustaša Salute Should Be Outlawed

April 10, 2021 - The Social Democratic Party's (SDP) candidate for Mayor of Split, Ante Franić, said on Saturday that "For the Homeland Ready," the salute used by the pro-Nazi Ustasha regime that ruled Croatia during the Second World War, should be outlawed.

"I wish to make it clear that the Ustasha salute 'For the Homeland Ready' should be banned," Franić said in a statement, adding that it should be banned in all contexts, including where attempts are made to legalize it "under the guise of safeguarding the values of the Homeland War."

"We need a clear, legal ban," he stressed.

Franić said that the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led government, depending on the need to flirt with the far-right, often shifted the responsibility onto the police and the State Attorney's Office rather than outlaw the use of the Ustasha salute and insignia.

"Prime Minister Plenković, there is no acceptable context for the Ustasha salute. I fully support President Milanović, who leaves venues where this salute is used," Franić said.

Franić stated a press conference, scheduled for today near the monument to the 9th HOS (Croatian Defence Force) Brigade, was canceled for security reasons because it was to be held on 10 April, the day of the proclamation of the Ustasha-ruled Independent State of Croatia (NDH) in 1941. 

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

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Tommy Owner Tomislav Mamic Enters Race for New Split Mayor

February the 6th, 2021 - Tomislav Mamic, otherwise the owner of Tommy, one of the largest employers in all of Dalmatia, has entered the race to become the next mayor of Split.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Tomislav Mamic could well become the next mayor of Croatia's second largest city. His company, Tommy, is by far the largest employer in Dalmatia, and this information was confirmed to Slobodna Dalmacija first hand.

Does this mean that the strongest Dalmatian entrepreneur is swiching the life of business for a life of politics? Many will surely be asking that question. Tomislav Mamic himself categorically rejected this at the beginning and especially emphasised: "I'm not a politician, nor do I want to be involved in politics."

Then, what is this move Tomislav Mamic is making really all about?

''It's about the fact that many of my fellow citizens and acquaintances have been persuading me for some time now to become more actively involved in the campaign for the election of mayors and future members of the City Council because they believe they can make a step forward and bring positive changes. I thought about that for a long time and finally decided to activate myself and try to do something in that sense,'' said the future independent candidate.

''There's an idea to form an independent list on which the most prominent citizens of the City of Split from all spheres of social life would appear. We should just get together, I don't have ready-made names. This isn't about entering the political struggle and trying to come to power at any cost, but about the intention of the citizens to get their representatives who enjoy their deep trust and support into power,'' he explained, adding that he personally doesn' want ''any power or influence, especially not for personal benefit''.

Tomislav Mamic is otherwise a man who employs almost 5,000 people with more than three billion kuna in annual income, with constant profit growth. He entered that ''world'' owing to a combination of life circumstances, back in 1992 he started the now very well known "Tommy". In 2000, he bought ''Kike'' stores from his brother and incorporated them into his large chain, which is now positioned among the top 10 Croatian companies.

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Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Split Mayor Says that he won't Run for another Term for Health Reasons

ZAGREB, Nov 4, 2020 - Split Mayor Andro Krstulovic Opara, 53, said on Wednesday that he would not stand for another term as mayor in local elections next May, citing his health reasons.

"After medical examinations conducted last week and after talks with my family and consultations with my doctors, I have decided to be fully committed to the struggle for my health and to spend more time with my family," Krstulovic Opara told Hina.

He said he would continue performing his duties as a parliamentary deputy for the benefit of Split.

In late January 2018, Krstulovic Opara was diagnosed with melanoma.

Krstulovic Opara is a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

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