“Bandić is not the mayor any more, but his network, his legacy and problems are still present. We have been preparing for long to deal with these problems. We have entered politics not to be against, but in favour, to deal with the problems and raise the standards of living in Zagreb. Also, we want to change Zagreb in order to change Croatia,” Tomašević said.
The present management model in Zagreb did not emerge with Bandić nor will it end with him. It will end only if true change occurs, and we are the sole guarantor of that, he added.
“The coalition between the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) and Bandić has been stable for five years. Who ran Zagreb before Bandić? The HDZ. Who rules Croatia on the basis of clientelism and corruption? The HDZ. If we look at all the local ‘sheriffs’ in Croatia, the model of local ‘sheriffs’ must be dismantled. The best place to show this is the City of Zagreb, because it is a symbol,” Tomašević said.
He said he did not think he was politically incorrect because he had not attended Bandić’s funeral and signed the book of condolence in City Hall. He said he had extended his condolences to the family, cancelled all his campaign activities and refrained from making public statements until today.
Tomašević said that he and his associates had been working on the election programme for Zagreb for months. He said he believed that it would be the most comprehensive of all programmes in the forthcoming election, due in May, and that he would present it to the public soon.
Debt to be stabilised by public procurement monitoring
Tomašević said that the city’s budget deficit had officially reached HRK 1.3 billion (€173.3m), but noted they had not yet received the report on budget execution for last year, which was very difficult because of the earthquake, the coronavirus pandemic and the socio-economic crisis.
One of the main ways to stabilise and reduce the debt is to reorganise and monitor public procurement, he said. “My message to the private sector is that there will be a level playing field for all, no more favourites,” Tomašević said, expressing confidence that in this way the city would cut expenses by HRK 600 million (€80m) annually.
He announced a review of all detrimental contracts with private companies, and said he expected all heads of city departments and all management boards of city companies to offer their resignations, after which public calls for those positions would be issued.