Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Živi Zid, SDSS Submit Candidates for European Parliament Elections

ZAGREB, April 9, 2019 – Živi Zid submitted its candidate slate for the European Parliament elections, headed by party secretary Tihomir Lukanić, to the State Election Commission (DIP) on Tuesday.

Lukanić said Živi Zid was ready in cooperation with same-minded political parties to redefine and redesign Europe.

"We want to bring optimism to this country and people and pull them out of the jaws of crony organisations which have been suffocating us and displacing us around the world for the past 30 years," Lukanić told the press.

Živi Zid President Ivan Vilibor Sinčić last month in Rome met the leaders of kindred European parties - Luigi di Maio from Italy's 5 Star Movement, Pawel Kukiz from the Polish party Kukiz 15 and Evangellos Tsiompanidis from Greece's AKKEL in an attempt to form a new group in the European Parliament.

Apart from Lukanić, the Živi Zid slate also includes Dolores Schauer, Dominik Vuletić, Goranka Dorotić, Branimir Bunjac, Nikolina Budimir, Ivana Delaš, Dinko Štimac, Igor Markešić, Maja Očko Šunjić, Zvonko Šegvić and Sinčić.

The Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) also submitted its slate for the European Parliament elections, headed by party president Milorad Pupovac, to the State Election Commission (DIP) on Tuesday.

Pupovac told the press their ambition was a Europe free of dangerous nationalism.

"We have submitted a surprise slate, a slate that wants to enter the European Parliament and represent what we represented when we supported Croatia's accession to the European Union and EU enlargement," Pupovac told the press, presenting the slate of his party, which is running in European elections for the first time on its own.

Apart from Pupovac, the SDSS slate also includes Dejan Jović, Dragana Jeckov, Jugoslav Vesić, Boris Milošević, Anja Šimpraga, Dejan Mihajlović, Mirjana Oluić, Nikola Ivanović, Tatjana Vukobratović-Spasojević, Aleksandra Ratković and Srđan Jeremić.

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

Friday, 5 April 2019

Živi Zid MPs Clash with Parliament Security Guards

ZAGREB, April 5, 2019 - Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković on Friday strongly condemned death threats by Živi Zid member of parliament Branimir Bunjac against parliament security guards who carried his party colleague Ivan Pernar out of the parliament chamber, saying that Bunjac's threat that they "will not leave the parliament alive" was intolerable.

"Such scenes do not contribute to the parliament's reputation, they are inappropriate and do not send the right message, especially to the youth, as to what appropriate behaviour is," Jandroković told reporters, noting that as a society Croatia had to decide whether it would continue tolerating such behaviour.

Deputy speaker Milijan Brkić of the HDZ party on Thursday evening cautioned Živi Zid MP Pernar twice for speaking about a topic other than the one for which he was given the floor and which was on the agenda, namely an interpellation by the Social Democratic Party about the government's work.

Pernar read psalms, calling on former prime minister and HDZ leader Ivo Sanader, who was taken into custody again yesterday following a Supreme Court ruling in a corruption case against him, to end his silence and speak up about the HDZ's slush funds.

Brkić warned Pernar twice to stick to the subject of the debate but he ignored the request and Brkić eventually asked that he be removed from the session.

His party colleague Bunjac, who called out Brkić for ordering Pernar's removal from the chamber, was also cautioned and banned from speaking until the end of the debate.

More news about Živi Zid can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Živi Zid Presents Its Slate for European Elections

ZAGREB, April 1, 2019 - The opposition Živi Zid party on Sunday presented its slate for the forthcoming European Parliament elections, with its leader Ivan Vilibor Sinčić calling on voters to go to the polls on 26 May in large numbers.

In his speech, Sinčić said that in that way voters would contribute to the struggle for the future of the Croatian people "within a huge European mechanism of centralised decision-making".

"We are here to decide on whether the future of Croatia and the Croatian people will be servility or freedom," said he.

The slate is headed by the party's secretary-general Tihomir Lukanić.

In mid-March the party presented a joint platform with a group of European populist parties for May's European Parliament election in Zagreb, when Sinčić said that they were a new generation of politicians who would build a new and better Europe.

The platform which Sinčić said is advocating an honest Europe that will be closer to citizens and that will fight against corruption and organised crime was presented by him and the leaders of kindred European parties - Luigi di Maio from Italy's 5 Star Movement, Pawel Kukiz from the Polish party Kukiz 15 and Evangellos Tsompanidis from Greece's AKKEL.

According to the latest projections released by the European Parliament on Friday, Živi Zid can expect one out of 12 seats in the EP allotted to Croatia, whereas the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is set to win six seats, the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) three seats and the GLAS-led Amsterdam Coalition and the MOST party could win one seat each.

It was the third such projection of the composition of the next EP released by the Parliament and based on polls on voting intentions in the EU member-states.

Initial projections of the composition of the new European Parliament indicated that of 12 seats reserved for Croatia the HDZ would win six, the SDP three, Živi Zid two and MOST one.

More news about Živi Zid can be found in the Politics section.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Živi Zid for Including Family's Assets in Politicians’ Assets Declaration

ZAGREB, March 23, 2019 - The opposition Živi Zid party said on Saturday that, following recent scandals involving Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Zalac, the party would forward into parliamentary procedure on Monday a bill of amendments to the Conflict of Interest Act under which every office holder would have to declare the assets of their immediate family, aside from their own.

" Živi Zid absolutely believes Minister Žalac must go. Prime Minister Plenković is proving his incompetence on a daily basis with the ministers he chooses and the fact that there is no person in the government that isn't involved in a scandal or that does their job responsibly," party president Ivan Sinčić said at a press conference.

"No one must ever again get into politics for their own interests but only and exclusively for the common good and the interests of society as a whole," the party said regarding the bill of amendments.

More news on the Živi Zid party can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Živi Zid and Kindred European Parties Present EP Election Platform

ZAGREB, March 18, 2019 - The opposition Živi Zid party presented the joint platform of a group of European populist parties for May's European Parliament election in Zagreb on Sunday, with the party's leader Ivan Vilibor Sinčić saying that they were a new generation of politicians who would build a new and better Europe.

The platform advocating an honest Europe that will be closer to citizens and that will fight against corruption and organised crime was presented by Sinčić and the leaders of kindred European parties – Luigi di Maio from Italy's Five Star Movement, Pawel Kukiz from the Polish party Kukiz 15 and Evangellos Tsompanidis from Greece's AKKEL.

"These European elections will not be won like previous ones where old parties won a majority. The situation will be completely different, and our message is one of hope – things can be different than they are in the EU today," di Maio said to applause and approval from Živi Zid members and sympathisers who gathered for the presentation of the new platform.

These four parties and Finland's Movement Now (Liike Nyt), who did not come to Zagreb, seek to establish their own political group in the European Parliament "to do good things for the benefit of the European nations," as di Maio put it.

"We want people in Europe to live better, we want their work to be appreciated and we want a minimum wage to be determined at the European level. We are fighting for the dignity of the European citizen and if we fail to achieve this, there is no reason for the EU to survive," di Maio said.

Sinčić said that their joint manifesto was not a definitive document and that it would be improved in cooperation with the parties that had acceded to it and that were yet to accede to it.

The 10-point manifesto includes projects promoting direct democracy, respect for the specificities of European countries and rejection of centralisation. It advocates radical change in the European institutions to ensure that the European Parliament is not subordinated to the Commission.

"We want to change the entire concept of European politics, without fake left-right divisions and without rows over fake ideological divisions," Sinčić said.

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

Friday, 15 March 2019

Živi Zid Accuses Major Parties of Brodosplit Wrongdoing

ZAGREB, March 15 (Hina) - Following the announcement by the opposition Živi Zid party that it would file a criminal complaint against the owner of the Brodosplit shipyard, Tomislav Debeljak, the shipyard's management, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and his predecessors Tihomir Orešković and Zoran Milanović, and former Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak for financial wrongdoing at the Split-based shipyard, the ruling HDZ and the strongest opposition party SDP denied their responsibility for the current problems at Brodosplit, accusing each other of financial machinations.

The chairman of the HDZ parliamentary group, Branko Bačić, said that criminal complaints were Živi Zid's "modus operandi", adding that what people thought of them was best shown by a fall in their approval ratings. He said that the government of Prime Minister Plenković cared about the shipbuilding industry, especially about the Uljanik Group, but had to deal with problems of the previous SDP government.

"When (the SDP-led government) said in 2012 and 2013 that the five billion kuna invested was the last the government was giving and that there would be milk and honey after that, they obviously were not telling the truth. Already by the end of 2015, at the end of the SDP's term, a guarantee was issued to Uljanik which was not spent on what it was issued for, so that last year we had to allocate 916 million kuna so that workers could receive their wages. That was done by this government to give the management enough time to agree a restructuring plan and find a strategic partner, but it turned out that they did not find a partner and the plan was made sloppily," Bačić said.

Branko Grčić, an SDP MP and former deputy prime minister in the Zoran Milanović government, described Živi Zid's move as "the initiative of a group of people who never even ran a local council, which means that they never took care of thousands of people who worked or who work in the shipbuilding sector."

"They don't understand the significance of the shipbuilding industry for the Croatian economy and state. Shipbuilding accounts for about 15 percent of exports and that is reason enough to fight for this industry," Grčić said.

Grčić said that contrary to their statements, the present and previous HDZ governments had issued about 360 million euro in guarantees to Uljanik and a further 45 million dollars to the Uljanik shipping company, but nothing of that "was built into the ships". "After a while they faced a crisis at Uljanik, whereas what we did produced certain results and was visible in the delivery of newly-built ships."

More news about the Croatian shipbuilding industry can be found in the Business section.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Živi Zid Launches Tirade against Journalist for Writing about Party’s Suspect Finances

On Saturday, the Živi Zid political party used a paid advertisement on the Facebook social network to launch an attack on Jutarnji List’s journalist Željka Godeč. In the Saturday edition of Jutarnji list, she published the article "Financial Holes in Živi Zid", an extensive analysis of Živi Zid’s finances, which showed that the party did not spend its money in a transparent way. The report was corroborated with documents and a State Audit report. The State Audit confirmed to Godeč that the documents had been forwarded to the competent State Attorney's Office for further investigation, reports Jutarnji List on January 28, 2019.

Not long after the publication of the article, Živi Zid launched a blistering attack. On Facebook, the party paid for an ad featuring a photo of journalist Željka Godeč with the inscription “Expert for False News – hanzamedia,” adding the #fakenews hashtag with the Jutarnji List logo. Hanza Media is the publisher of Jutarnji List.

In a shameful ad that looks like a call for the lynching of the journalist, the party attacked her on a professional and personal level. The ad says that "for years, she has been systematically trolling against Živi Zid, writing half-truths, drawing conclusions that do have nothing to do with the facts, constructing theories which are a lie, but doing it in the form of questions so that she cannot be sued.” The ad ends with a question: "What do you think, is she manipulating the facts because she is illiterate? Or simply evil?"

Given that Živi Zid bases its popularity in large part on social networks, the ad has reached a large number of people. It quickly spread among Živi Zid followers. Particularly worrisome is the fact that a couple of hundred comments, many of which are full of hate speech, have been added to the post.

This is an unprecedented act and an attack on the media that no political party has ever dared to launch in Croatia. “This is an inappropriate way of communication and an open call for the lynching of the journalist. We strongly condemn this kind of behaviour,” said Jutarnji list editor-in-chief Goran Ogurlić.

The article alleges that the State Audit report on the party’s finances is full of allegations about irregularities, suspicious payments, unsubstantiated travel expenses, payments for intellectual services without documentation and proper records.

The party’s seat is located at the same address where one of its politician, Ivan Pernar, lives. In the first six months of 2017, the party paid 150,000 kuna for consultancy costs, 53,750 kuna for lawyers and 25,000 kuna for accounting services. However, according to auditors, “there are no specifications for the services provided, no description of the type of service provided, and the period when they were provided.”

According to the State Audit report, the party is mainly using cash transactions. Payments were made in the amount of 170,854 kuna, referring to material costs, hospitality, fuel costs and official travel. However, it is not clear to whom the money was paid, and the recipients have not signed the receipts. And there are no enclosed documents that could be used to confirm that the business events really took place.

More news on Živi Zid, the third (or occasionally second) most popular party in Croatia, can be found in the Politics section.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Tomislav Kukec).

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Živi Zid Negotiating Cooperation with Five Star Movement

ZAGREB, January 12, 2019 - The leader of Italy's Five Star Movement, Luigi Di Maio, who is gathering similar political parties ahead of this year's European Parliament elections, met in Brussels on Tuesday with the leaders of three parties advocating direct democracy, including Ivan Sinčić, president of Croatia's opposition Živi Zid.

Di Maio, Sinčić, the president of Poland's Kukiz'15 political movement, Pawel Kukiz, and Karoliina Kahonen of Finland's Liike Nyt political movement met to discuss cooperation in the upcoming European polls.

In an interview with Italy's Il Fatto Quotidiano daily, Di Maio says the negotiations with Kukiz'15 and Živi Zid are nearing completion, while those with Liike Nyt are expected to be completed in about ten days. The Croats from Živi Zid, whose leader was born in 1990, "look almost like us," he noted.

Živi Zid secretary-general Tihomir Lukanić told Hina on Friday "relations haven't been formalised yet." "We talked about a programme and the things we have in common. We are currently working on a possible joint programme and if we manage to agree, we will present it together to the public soon," Lukanić said, adding that with the Five Star Movement, they "exchanged experience in the fight against corruption, organised crime and the establishment."

"They see the opposition in us. It was an honour to attend the meeting. It's time for new policies. If Italy could do it, so can Croatia," Sinčić said on Facebook.

We don't agree with the Poles on civil rights and abortion, while the Finns are very liberal, Di Maio has told Il Fatto Quotidiano. Živi Zid is against the euro, which we advocate, he adds.

Despite the ideological differences, the parties will sign in Rome in mid-February a ten-point manifesto founded on direct democracy, he says, adding that the manifesto will focus on social rights and that they want to "reduce the privileges of the few."

Lukanić said they had many things in common and that Živi Zid's objection to Croatia's adopting the euro was not an obstacle to a joint articulation of other problems.

The Five Star Movement is currently part of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament.

More news on the Živi Zid party can be found in our Politics section.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Opposition Demands Resignation of Croatian Defence Minister

ZAGREB, January 11, 2019 – Živi Zid president Ivan Sinčić said on Friday Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević was primarily responsible for the failed purchase of Israeli F-16 fighter jets and should resign, adding that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was also responsible for "holding the ladder."

Krstičević worked with Israelis in the King ICT company and had to know how this job is done and should not have put Croatia in such an embarrassing situation, Sinčić told reporters.

Asked to comment on President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović decision to convene the Defence Council over the failed aircraft purchase, he said that instead of acting preventively with the personnel and bodies at her disposal, she was convening a meeting when the deal had fallen through.

She is the supreme commander of the armed forces, has personnel and contacts abroad, she was a diplomat, including in the US, she knows many people and should have obtained adequate information and known the protocol of buying fighter jets, and she should have warned the government about the risks and advised against the deal, said Sinčić.

He also commented on the fact that Croatian Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ivan Del Vechio and the president of the HDZ BiH Bosnian Croat party, Dragan Čović, had recently attended a ceremony marking the unconstitutionally declared day of BiH's Serb entity Republika Srpska.

Sinčić said the policy of Croatia's ruling HDZ party regarding BiH was a wrong and hypocritical policy of cooperation with someone one should not cooperate with.

Živi Zid MP Ivan Pernar said Čović had formed an alliance with Milorad Dodik, the incumbent chairman of the BiH Presidency, who Pernar said was not a Croatian ally and had given his consent to a BiH lawsuit against Croatia. He said attending a ceremony marking the day of an entity created on the disappearance of Croats from northern BiH said more than enough about the HDZ's love for Croats in BiH.

More news on the Živi Zid party can be found in our Politics section.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Croatian MP Has to Deposit Expensive Watch Given by Qatari Emir

ZAGREB, December 4, 2018 - The Conflict of Interest Commission on Tuesday said that Croatian MP Ivan Pernar of the opposition Živi Zid party is obliged to deposit a watch given to him by Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, among state protocol gifts, as it is valued more than 500 kuna.

One of the commission's members, Tončica Božić, said that this was a gift to an office-holder and that that matter is regulated by the Conflict of Interest Act which specifies that gifts of that nature could create some form of obligation by that official to the person who has given the gift.

Officials can retain symbolic gifts with a value of up to 500 kuna and anything exceeding that amount is considered to be a protocol gift to the state, Božić said.

The wrist watch Pernar received is estimated to cost 32,000 kuna.

Pernar also asked the commission whether he was allowed to give the emir a gift valued at more than 500 kuna without being in conflict of interest, i.e. without attempting to influence the emir's decision in doing so.

Božić said that the commission is not familiar with Qatar's regulations and that if Pernar intends to give the emir a gift he should check Qatar's regulations.

Recently Pernar had asked the Conflict of Interest Commission to give its opinion on whether the wrist watch he received from the Qatari emir as a gift could be treated as a gift that could influence the decisions he made as a parliamentary deputy.

Pernar told a press conference in Zagreb in late November that he had received the gift, valued at about 32,000 kuna, from the Qatari emir, who was recently on an official visit to Croatia, because he was "the only lawmaker in the Croatian parliament to raise his voice for the Palestinian cause".

"If the Commission believes that the Qatari emir wants to exert in this way influence on me as a lawmaker, and de facto bribe me, if they believe that he the emir stooped to that level, then they can tell me: 'Mr. Pernar, we suspect that this could be a way to influence you'," Pernar said then.

"In that case, I will give the watch to the Commission theatrically," the opposition MP told the press on 28 November.

The gifted watch was an act of deep respect, the Živi Zid official added.

The Qatari emir Al Thani visited Croatia on 19 November.

For more on the Živi Zid party, click here.

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