Zagreb Mayor Bandić Used City Billboards to Promote His Own Party

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, August 2, 2019 – The City of Zagreb’s billboards were used during campaigning for May’s European Parliament election to covertly promote the political party of Mayor Milan Bandić and were paid for with money from the city budget, the State Electoral Commission (DIP) said in a report on Friday.

The report said that an inspection of campaign financing had found that jumbo posters with information about the City of Zagreb, were paid for from the city budget and were in fact covert electioneering by Bandić’s party.

City authorities put up 175 jumbo posters on billboards during the election campaign which all carried the City of Zagreb logo and promoted various events and achievements by the city.

The DIP said that the number of posters displayed in 2019 was disproportionately higher than in 2018. Last year 20 jumbo posters were displayed while in 2017 that number was 60.

“It was observed that in an election year the City of Zagreb advertised a considerably larger number of posters than it has done normally in previous years (…) which leads to the conclusion that advertising during electioneering cannot be considered as the normal provision of information to the citizens of Zagreb about the city authority’s activities,” the DIP concluded, adding that it was obvious that this was covert electioneering.

The report further notes that Mislav Kolakušić’s slate used funding from the Anti-Corruption Platform NGO, of which he himself is the president.

Kolakušić used stands issued to the NGO to promote his slate during the election, and the DIP decided that this was an impermissible method of financing.

Kolakušić’s election financing report noted that his slate had bought one information stand, yet during the electioneering several were used.

The DIP also ascertained that the Živi Zid party did not pay donations exceeding 5,000 kuna into the state budget as prescribed by the law and that contracts that the party concluded were not in accordance with the law.

The Independents for Croatia party and the Work and Solidarity Party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić did not pay funding obtained from unallowable sources into the state budget, the report said.

The DIP further noted that none of the participants in the European election exceeded the amount prescribed for electioneering of 4 million kuna. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) spent the most – a little more than 3,970,000 kuna, while the Social Democratic Party (SDP) spent almost 3,500,000 kuna. Bandić’s Work and Solidarity Party spent a little more than 2 million kuna.

The DIP found that 33 participants in the election spent almost 17 million kuna, while total income from all those participating in the election amounted to just over 15,300,000 kuna, and 2,100,000 kuna was raised in donations.

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


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