Thursday, 30 April 2020

Orepić Joins HSS; Party Might Run in Election on Its Own

ZAGREB, April 30, 2020 - Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Krešo Beljak confirmed on Thursday that MP Vlaho Orepić had joined the HSS, stressing that the party was not ruling out the idea of running in the parliamentary election on its own.

The HSS is seriously preparing for the election, whenever it may be, and it is ready to compete in any configuration, Beljak said, confirming that he was in talks with the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and other opposition parties on running together in the election but was not ruling out the possibility of the HSS running on its own.

He recalled that he had been pushing for opposition parties with similar platforms to come together but that the outcome of talks was not just up to him.

"We are ready for an agreement, not just with the SDP but with other opposition parties as well, but that does not mean that the HSS will wait around or beg anyone," he said.

He recalled that for two years the party had been advocating its New Republic platform, which, he said, defined what Croatia needed, and he believed the current crisis provided an opportunity to implement that platform.

Beljak described Orepić's joining the HSS as a great addition, announcing that his New Politics party would join the HSS.

Orepić, who is a former member and founder of the MOST party and now leads the New Politics party, said that the HSS is a "progressive, republican and green" party and that its platform covers the broad policy of the centre that was promoted by his party.

The New Politics' main aim is to protect Croatia as an environment and that ideological contribution would be built into the HSS, said Orepić, adding that the Opposition should unite in the fight against policies that had robbed and divided Croatians, forcing them to emigrate.

Orepić said he was not afraid that voters would think he was a turncoat because, as he said, his political positions were the same as on the first day of his political career.

MOST has turned into a far-right party and that is why I left it, he said.

More HSS news can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Vlaho Orepić Announces Candidacy for President

ZAGREB, July 11, 2019 - Leader of the New Politics party Vlaho Orepić on Thursday officially announced his candidacy for the presidential election later in the year, claiming that Croatia needs new politics that will introduce order, establish stability and confidence in the institution of the president and other government institutions and enable citizens a dignified and safe life.

MP Orepić, who entered parliament with the MOST party slate and later left it to set up the New Politics party in late 2018, presented himself today with the statement that he was not an entertainer.

"I am not an entertainer, I'm not a singer nor party actor nor a reality show politician. I am a citizen, an athlete, soldier and above all, a Croatian defender from the very first day of the Homeland War. My candidacy is not backed by any party or business interests or structure...I believe that Croatia can and must be a better society," Orepić told a press conference.

He said that his agenda is the Croatian Constitution and not any party statute or business plan. "I aim to preserve a dignified and secure life for all Croatian citizens. My aim is order," Orepić said.

He said that parties that have been in power until now had without any shame exploited presidential candidacies for their own internal party showdowns or various consultant-lobbying and business projects.

Orepić was the interior minister at the start of the term of the current government and left that post when the MOST Party came at loggerheads with the ruling Croatian Democratic Union and departed from the ruling majority.

More news about presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Croatia Must Change Its Policy Towards Bosnia, Says MP

ZAGREB, July 2, 2019 - A member of parliament, former minister of the interior and leader of the recently established New Politics party, Vlaho Orepić, has said that Croatia's attitude to Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably the interests of Croats in that country, had to change as it had become evident that the situation could not be changed for the better only through cooperation with the HDZ BiH party.

Orepić, who used to be minister of the interior nominated by the Bridge party, told the Bosnia and Herzegovina new agency Patria on Tuesday that he was concerned about the conduct of HDZ BiH leader Dragan Ćović and described his policy as detrimental to Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Croatia's interests.

"His policy lacks legality and legitimacy in the Croat electorate in Bosnia and Herzegovina... it is a policy that tries to present, based on the model used by Milorad Dodik, the policy of war booty as a Croatian interest... many in Herzegovina, even successful business people are afraid and depend on his policy. The Croatian government, too, is afraid to rub him the wrong way because he is part of the ruling majority and is using political blackmail in the parliament to secure its support," said Orepić.

He noted that Ćović's drawing closer to Bosnian Serb leader Dodik, who, he said, openly questioned Bosnia and Herzegovina's territorial integrity and NATO membership bid, was entirely opposed to Croatia's strategic interests.

"Ćović and his political exhibitionism are the most important reason why relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia are bad," Orepić said, adding that that policy should be replaced with one based on principles of trust and responsibility and that it could be articulated by other political parties that would represent the interests of all Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including his New Politics party.

More news about relations between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Vlaho Orepić Discusses Issue of Fake Residences and Voting System

Independent parliamentarian Vlaho Orepić discussed various issues surrounding the Croatian political and social structure, claiming that ''the failure to properly deal with fake (fictitious) residences by the authorities is politically motivated and purposely left unresolved with the aim of influencing the outcomes of the upcoming elections,''

The fact that there is no real intention of the current authorities to remove fake residences from the electoral register and bring some order [to that situation] and accordingly, Croatia conducts a policy of banalisation when it comes to the conditions for obtaining Croatian citizenship were grounds for a press conference held by independent MP Vlaho Orepić.

On Tuesday, February the 5th, 2019, on the premises of the Croatian Parliament, Vlaho Orepić held a press conference on which he once again pointed out to the media and the public the problem of fake residence registration.


The fact that this issue remains unresolved means people who have their permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia are denied the right to elect their own authorities, and Croatian citizens living outside the homeland (whose voting rights are indisputable and come directly from what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (Ustav Republike Hrvatske) are also deceived in this way.

The conclusion which has now been arrived to, given that a response from the relevant minister wasn't given even after the issue was brought up in parliament, is that there is simply no sincere and real intention of the current government to even try to tackle an extremely important issue so that honest elections can be carried out in the future. Orepić has therefore also called upon political and social structures to take a stance and engage with the aim of protecting legality of upcoming elections and democratic processes in the Republic of Croatia.

"What worries me, and what has inspired a series of both formal and informal reactions from me, even this press conference, is the fact that false (fictitious) residences are politically motivated and protected with the aim of influencing the outcomes of the electoral process(es) in the Republic of Croatia. My goal is to put an end to fake residence [registration] and the type of politics which permits that same cheating in the elections. My goal is fair elections,'' stated Orepić.

According to new statistics, Croatia has fewer than four million inhabitants (approximately 3.750 million), according to official data we can count almost 4,175,000 people with health insurance and as many as 3,746,286 voters. The fact that the number of voters isn't actually correct has been indicated by the data of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), published in July 2017, which states that just children under the age of fourteen alone which are registered amount to 600,000. It's totally clear that Croatia has no accurate and publicly available list of citizens and voters, nor does it have the political will to have this problem solved.

From the mentioned numerical indicators, as well as from the legal definition of residence, which reads as - residence is the place and address in the Republic of Croatia where the person permanently resides in order to exercise his/her rights and obligations related to living interests such as family, professional, economic, social, cultural and social other interests - it's clear that a lot of people who don't meet these conditions have been entered into the electoral register.

They are listed [on the electoral register] on the basis of their false registrations of residence in the Republic of Croatia and thus, in addition to voting and other rights, they enjoy economic ones which come with residing in the Republic of Croatia.


That this is politically motivated has also been indicated by the fact that the second day after Vlaho Orepić's dismissal as Minister of the Interior, the disclosure and deletion procedure of false residence registrations in the Republic of Croatia (mainly regarding citizens from neighbouring Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) was suspended. Activities related to the abolition of fake residences are a legal obligation of the chief of police administrations, but in spite of that fact, all of those who were engaged in carrying out this work were prevented from continuing with it.

While Vlaho Orepić was the Minister of the Interior, in just two and a half months, about 45,000 fake residence registrations were removed, and over the next four months that number rose to 75,000. The estimates are that at the present moment, there are at least 150,000 fictitious residence registrations in the Republic of Croatia, which brings a whole range of election process outcomes as well as the legality of the authorities at all levels into question.

"I hope all political, judicial and other social structures will realise the importance of this issue. From the government, the security services and the justice system, I expect an urgent reaction, just as was done with the recent attempt to try to discredit the Minister of Agriculture (Tomislav Tolušić). I expect from the umbrella of war veteran associations to stand up for the legality of the election process in the Republic of Croatia, especially with the engagement of Mr. Josip Đakić as a parliamentary representative and as a war veteran.

I expect the support of the President of the Croatian Parliament, Mr. Gordan Jandroković, and especially the two vice-presidents Mr. Milijan Brkić and Mr. Božo Petrov because they know very well what I'm talking about and what I'm fighting for. I also expect the support of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to whom this issue must be in focus because it's in the interest of citizens, and all the citizens of the Republic of Croatia, and without whom we cannot even begin to talk about the rule of law as the basis for the survival of every single legal state,'' concluded Vlaho Orepić, MP.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for much more.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Vlaho Orepić Talks Police, MOST and New Political Party - Nova Politika

Vlaho Orepić has seen his fair share of political alterations in Croatia, from becoming minister of the interior during Tihomir Orešković's government, to being shockingly dismissed by Andrej Plenković, to stepping down as an MP for MOST, one of the partners of the former ruling coalition, eventually breaking away entirely and forming a new party of his own - Nova Politika.

Known for not only his position as the minister of the interior, but for his achievements in the sporting world and his political activities in his beloved town of Ploče, Konavle-born Orepić sat down with us to discuss the past, the present, and the future, including his new party.

Why did you decide to set up a brand new political party? What values ​​does it, and you, represent?

Through the experiences I gained through my civic activism, and then through my direct participation in the work of the Government and the Parliament of Croatia I realised that politics in Croatia is not what should be expected of it. It doesn't do the work of the people. On the contrary, all the policies of the past have disrupted the [lives of the] Croatian people, and has impoverished the Croatian economy.

So, we need something new, that is Nova Politika, which will be what people expect it to be, and that means working for the people. This need, this message, and these values ​​are contained in the idea and the very name Nova Politika.

How will your party differ from the countless others who are already operating in Croatia?

We simply need order in the country, as well as in political and social relations because we as a country aren't in a crisis, but we are in disorder. The basic two goals of Nova Politika are the protection of democratic principles and procedures in political relations and the institutional arrangement, as well as the optimisation of the state. Nova Politika as a party is, unlike others, a project. A project of getting together with the aim of institutional convergence from the current disorder putting the country in order.

There are many challenges which require ambitious structural reforms, so new, life-motivated policies are needed.

First and foremost, what we're going to invest a huge amount of energy into is the struggle for the legitimacy of elections. The outcomes of the entire series of electoral processes in Croatia are crucially influenced by the voices of those who have filed a false residence in the Republic of Croatia, and as such gain a whole range of substantive rights, as well as voting rights. In its electoral register, Croatia has at least 150,000 such fictional voters. Parliament has a minimum of 4-6 parliamentarians who base their mandate on those fictional voters. That's been going on for far too long and it needs to stop.

Why did not you take advantage of this opportunity and as the minister of the interior, solve this problem?

I didn't manage to. They dismissed me. I believe that you're familiar with the fact that I uncompromisingly tried to solve this problem. In just two and a half months, the police, to whom the law prescribed that obligation, prompted the deletion of 45,000 fictional residences. Very rapidly this figure has grown to 75,000. This issue, because of political incitement and abuse, is an exceptional problem in our society.

What is especially disturbing is that this is intractable abuse and a kind of blackmail of people in need. People who, because of realistic, existential problems, engage in illegal behavior such as the fictitious reporting of residence in the Republic of Croatia. The Republic of Croatia should systematically and legally care about its emigrants and not just keep tolerating this crime.

You've endured huge political resistance to this engagement of yours and even personal discreditation. Judging from your findings, which parties have encouraged fictitious voters to participate in the elections in the Republic of Croatia?

Fictitious voters' transport from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina was organised by the HDZ, SDSS and even MOST, which was concealing it from me as its minister. Even the activists engaged in the recent referendum initiatives have also collected signatures in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the pre-election campaign for local elections in Vrgorac, HDZ had a poster with a cross marked over my face which they stuck in neighbouring places and cities in western Herzegovina. With which they called "their" fictional voters to come to the elections.

But that doesn't matter anymore. It's important to realise the magnitude of this problem and to get credible electoral registers as soon as possible in order to guarantee the legality of elections in the Republic of Croatia. We need to get that in order. To move forward, we need to be able to count the results of the elections to match the real will of the citizens. That's Nova Politika.

Will someone who is already active in political or public life enter your party? Maybe one of the members of MOST? 

I hope we'll all be able get together around the goal as Nova Politika is focused on its political goal, and all those who see Croatia as a decent and well-regulated state are welcome. Let's say that proper order in the area of [registering] ​​residence should be the target of everyone who wishes our homeland well.  This is what I expect especially from those who ran their election campaigns based on fictional voters and who claim they're sovereign.

Will you participate in the forthcoming European Parliament elections, and will you have your candidate for the president of the Republic of Croatia?

The focus is on parliamentary elections. But Nova Politika partaking either alone or in cooperation with someone else in all the upcoming elections hasn't been ruled out.

What's your opinion on the work of current President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. Will you back her for a second term?

She failed to portray herself as the president of all citizens. We definitely need a new president.

At the moment, the most current issue is the collapse of an Israeli jet plane purchase. Do you think Croatia needs war planes? If so, how much money would you be willing to invest in their purchase?

We don't need to call the need for war planes into question. But what we need to take into account is our financial situation. At this point, we have no money for that. We have a whole series of challenges that are related to our bare existence. We must take into account the life priorities that hav arisen from the situation in which we're in and live within our means. Aircraft, at this time, aren't something we can afford and aren't a priority.

MOST has been looking like a conservative party recently, more and more. Do you share such a vision? If not, why were you in that party at all?

I don't share the current worldview of MOST, which is significantly different from the one they were trying to show, and which dominated while I was in MOST. The leaders of MOST have repositioned MOST within the frameworks of their own personal worldviews. It isn't mature, and it is a type of conflict politics, this is a political environment which I can't identify with.

Why did you leave MOST?

MOST as a party abandoned the very idea of ​​MOST, so I left MOST.

In two HDZ-MOST coalition governments, you were the interior minister. Would you enter into a coalition with HDZ again? Will you remain in the Parliament as an opposition representative until the end of your mandate or does a possibility for you to support the current government exist?

I'm going to remain an opposition MP.

Which parties would you potentially enter into a coalition with?

With this very question you've addressed a big problem in the functioning of politics in the Republic of Croatia. Nobody asks you what your suggestions are. What are your political goals, etc. People are already accepting or rejecting you on the basis of your ideological orientation. This approach to politics is wrong and that's why we need Nova Politika. A policy that highlights clear goals and their implementation brings together the necessary majority. We need to evolve current politics into realistic politics. Politics that can and should be measurable. Politics which will be conditioned by the mutual interaction of the principles of trust and responsibility.

Davor Božinović succeeded you as the minister of the interior. How do you evaluate his work?

He's completely unambiguous in his approach in these circumstances we're in and his root changes make him look superficial. Manipulation with fictitious residences and some staffing solutions paralysed the operational work of the police and indicated a lack of workability. He acts unambiguously because he has no ambition and therefore no actual results.

What do you think about the Croatian police's treatment in relation to migrants on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina? Does the behavior of the police differ now than from when you were minister?

The migrant policy of Croatia, of which a lot is dealt with by the police I consider to be good. The work on the frontier is on the line of the one that was designed and established during my mandate. There is no leg room when it comes to illegal border crossings but there's also a very human approach when it comes to caring for people in need. Some isolated failures in treatment can't diminish the significance of the police work done.

When talking about migration policy, every day Croatia that it is a responsible member of the EU, because don't forget that the Croatian police, in protecting the borders of the Republic of Croatia, are also working to protect the EU's external borders.

Make sure to follow our dedicated politics page for more.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Former Interior Minister Orepić Leaves MOST

Vlaho Orepić is in the war of words with the MOST leadership.

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Croatia in Heightened State of Alert, No Indication of Possible Attack

Ahead of the New Year celebrations, Croatian security services are ready.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Interior Minister Criticized After Large Group of Migrants Illegally Enter Croatia

Minister Vlaho Orepić claims that the police are successfully controlling the state border.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Interior Minister Explains His Recent Attacks on Constitutional Court

Minister Orepić claims he did not try to influence the Court.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Constitutional Court Defends Itself from Attacks by Interior Minister

In a recent interview, Interior Minister Orepić said the Constitutional Court was the greatest threat to national security.

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