Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) Warns of Problems Regarding Additional Voting Rights For Italian Minority

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) secretary-general Giovanni Sponza and MP Katarina Nemet on Tuesday pointed to a problem concerning ballots that makes it more difficult for members of the Italian minority to exercise their additional right in the 16 May local election.

Sponza said that in towns and municipalities where this is so regulated, as well as at the county level, deputy heads from the Italian minority are elected on separate slates, which, he said "is a novelty of the coming election because until now they were elected on the main slate together with mayoral candidates."

"In addition to being able to vote for candidates for municipal heads, mayors and the county head, as well as for municipal and town councils and the county assembly, members of the Italian ethnic community also have the right and can vote for their own candidates on a separate slate," said Sponza.

However, he added, in line with instructions from the State Election Commission, members of electoral committees do not have the obligation to offer a ballot with nominations for deputy heads from the Italian ethnic community but rather members of the Italian community have to ask for it themselves.

The problem is that a large number of members of the Italian ethnic community are not aware of that possibility, Sponza said, noting that stakeholders who set rules should make an effort to inform voters of their legal rights and possibilities and that by making voters ask for a ballot on their own, they are discriminating against them.

"We consider that unfair because all citizens should be equal in the election process," said the IDS official, adding that he wanted "to believe that this approach has nothing to do with the coming census in Croatia."  

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

Friday, 7 May 2021

GONG Criticises Parliament For Not Publishing Information On Voting

ZAGREB, 7 May, 2021 - The Croatian Parliament is the only parliament in the European Union that, on the pretext of the coronavirus pandemic, has not been publishing reports on the voting of MPs for a year, the non-governmental organisation GONG said on Friday, considering this to be an attack on democracy.

"The epidemic has seriously affected the democratic standards in the work of the Croatian Parliament. It is unacceptable that since March 2020 and the declaration of the state of the pandemic, the Sabor has denied the public key information on the work of lawmakers, hiding behind the epidemiological measures and the shortcomings of the electronic voting system, which is designed for use only in the main chamber," GONG said in a statement.

The governing parties are relying on a slim majority of 76 MPs in the 151-seat Parliament, and the information on how each lawmaker voted on a bill is of great interest to the public, it noted.

GONG said that Parliament has been neglecting the basic democratic standards in adapting to the epidemiological measures, recalling that the Constitutional Court had found the provisions of Parliament's Rules of Procedure limiting the number of MPs at plenary sessions to be unconstitutional.

It said that after the Constitutional Court ruling Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković had announced a possibility of forming a task force to draw up amendments to the Rules of Procedure, but that six months have gone by since then and there has been no mention of amendments any more.

GONG appealed to Parliament to start looking for a way to regain the public confidence it has lost and urged MPs to demand greater accountability from Parliament.

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


Friday, 29 January 2021

No Voting in Parliament Due to Lack of Quorum

ZAGREB, 29 January, 2021 - Due to the lack of quorum in parliament on Friday the usual voting on discussed items was postponed, including on amendments to legislation related to post-earthquake reconstruction, the declaration of an Exclusive Economic Zone in the Adratic and so on.

Voting is postponed until conditions allow and that won't be today, Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic said after establishing that conditions to conduct voting did not exist as only 75 MPs were present instead of the necessary 76.

Prior to that, MP Zvonimir Troskot (MOST) called out Jandroković for allowing the parliament to turn into a circus because he did not allow voting on MOST's motion to abolish the mandatory membership fee paid by members of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK), thus reducing the burden on entrepreneurs.

"We did everything according to the relevant procedure but you put the debate on our motion on the agenda late last night," Troskot said, accusing Jandroković of not allowing the vote on his party's bill.

Jandroković denied the claims, reiterating that the bill would be put to the vote after party groups making up the parliamentary majority completed their consultations on the matter.

Earlier Jandroković underlined that it was the Speaker who decided on the agenda and voting.

The item regarding amendments to the HGK Act was put on the agenda after a long debate on the National Development Strategy, Jandroković told Troskot.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Canada Only Country Where Croats Won't Be Able To Vote For Parl. Election

ZAGREB, June 8, 2020 - According to available information, Canada seems to be the only country where it won't be possible to organise voting for the Croatian parliamentary election set for July 5, the State Electoral Commission (DIP) confirmed to Hina on Monday.

The Croatian Embassy in Canada on Sunday informed that because of the coronavirus pandemic it will not be possible to hold the parliamentary election in that country on July 4 and 5.

Whether any other of the 50 or so countries that have confirmed that the election can be held, will cancel the organisation of voting of eligible Croatian voters on their territory cannot be said with any reliability before June 20.

"By 20 June DIP will have collected all the necessary permits via the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in order to hold the election and based on that, it will adopt a resolution to define polling stations in diplomatic-consular offices in those countries that have approved the election and then the necessary election material will be forwarded," DIP said when asked about the final list of countries where the election will be held.

680 Croatian voters in Canada exercised their right to vote in the 2016 election

At the last parliamentary election in 2016, 680 people with Croatian citizenship in Canada exercised their right to vote.

The electoral roll has 8,199 Croatian citizens residing in Canada registered with the right to vote, and of the 682 went to the polls for the previous parliamentary elections for Croatia's legislature.

Asked what if some other countries take the same steps as Canada and whether that will impact the validity of the election, DIP said that it is a body the conducts the election and it does not decide on the date of the election nor can it influence countries to approve the election being held in their country.

The validity of elections is supervised by the Constitutional Court, DIP recalled.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

SDP Chief Retorts To Plenkovic: Vote For HDZ Is Vote For Corruption

ZAGREB, May 23, 2020 - Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic said on Saturday in Dubrovnik that voting for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) meant voting for corruption.

Responding to Plenkovic's statement in an interview that a vote for Miroslav Skoro was a vote for the SDP, the opposition leader thus reiterated his accusations against the HDZ.

He went on to say that during the four-year of the term of the current government Plenkovic "has hidden behind Brussels, his aides, various task forces, the virus, and crisis management teams."

Commenting on Plenkovic's statement that the ban on Sunday work will be lifted if it is established that it is no longer required epidemiologically, but that he is for Sunday to be a non-working day, the SDP chief said that Plenkovic could not decide whether to have working or non-working Sundays.

"He could not take a position on important decisions for Croatia. Therefore, he cannot be at the helm of Croatia, and he will not be after 5 July," Bernardic said at a news conference in Dubrovnik before an SDP meeting.

Bernardic accused the Plenkovic government of lack of care for the tourism sector and promised that as soon as the SDP won the election, that party would reduce Value Added Tax in tourism and hospitality to 10%.