The incumbent Croatian president has accepted the HRT invitation to debate with the other presidential candidates. We have learned that HDZ candidate, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, will nevertheless come face to face with the other presidential candidates in a debate, which is being coordinated by HRT (Croatian Radio Television) tomorrow night December 17, 2019 at 21:05h.
Grabar-Kitarović confirmed the news and stated that “each candidate who has collected 10 thousand signatures must have an equal opportunity and no one should be underestimated or favored before the first election round takes place.”
All Eleven Croatian Candidates Expected to Attend
According to unofficial reports, all eleven presidential candidates are expected to show up at HRT studios on Tuesday at 21:05h. The debate will be televised on HRT1, as reported by Jutarnji List/Zadarski on December 16, 2019.
The eleven presidential candidates are:
Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović – Current President | HDZ
Zoran Milanović – Former Prime Minister | SDP
Miroslav Škoro – Folk singer and former Croatian Parliament Representative | Independent
Mislav Kolakušić – Former Judge and EU Parliament Representative | Independent
Dario Juričan – Legal name: Milan Bandić. Filmmaker and Performance Artist | Independent
Dejan Kovač – Economist and Princeton graduate | HSLS
Dalija Orešković – Former Chair Conflicts of Interest Croatian Parliament | Independent
Ivan Pernar – Member of Croatian Parliament | Party of Ivan Pernar
Anto Đapić – Former Osijek Mayor and Former Member of Croatian Parliament | DESNO
Nedjeljko Babić – Regional party candidate | HSSČKŠ
Katarina Peović – Former member of Zagreb assembly | Workers’ Front
Milanović Sought Guarantee for President’s Appearance
Earlier on Monday, SDP presidential candidate Zoran Milanović spoke about the debate, saying that he had sent an official memo to HRT seeking a guarantee that the current president would appear – otherwise he would not participate.
“Presidential candidate Zoran Milanović will participate in the debate organized by HRT on December 17, 2019 if President of the Republic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is running as a candidate and defending her term, agrees to participate in the debate. If HRT, as organizer of the debate, can confirm and guarantee the arrival of President Grabar-Kitarović, Zoran Milanović is also ready to participate. Please confirm that she will attend,” the memo reads.
“However, we are still waiting for HTV’s response. The day before the much-publicized debate, they don’t want to reveal on public television whether Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is coming to the debate? Give us an answer and let us know because we’ll continue to think that HTV is negotiating with the HDZ behind our backs. You’re not going to bring Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović through the back door, in the dark, to Prisavlje (location of HRT headquarters), are you? We expect a response by 10am on Tuesday,” Milanović wrote on Facebook.
A response from Grabar-Kitarović’s headquarters has arrived in the meantime.
“Finally, we were able to get a confirmation that the current president is coming to the debate. I’ll respond. I know what I’ve been doing for the last 10 years and I know I’ll be the target of criticism for those who want to celebrate through the night. My goal is for a normal Croatia and it starts on January 5th,” read his Facebook update on December 16, 2019.
Earlier Debates Abandoned Due to President’s Non-participation
Zoran Milanović and Miroslav Škoro had refused to participate in debates among the four most popular candidates, which other TV stations had tried to coordinate, since Grabar-Kitarović chose not to participate. As she did not consent, planning for those debates failed. Mislav Kolakušić was the only candidate who had given his consent.