Foreign Minister’s Controversial Adviser Resigns

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Ladislav Ilčić will run for mayor of Varaždin against HDZ’s candidate, whom he accused of having a lifestyle which is contrary to Christianity.

Ladislav Ilčić, president of ultraconservative party HRAST and special advisor to Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, resigned on Friday and announced that he would run for mayor of Varaždin, reports Večernji List on March 10, 2017.

“If we had liked HDZ’s candidate, we would have supported him. As for HDZ’s candidate for mayor of Varaždin, the party which supposedly advocates Christianity has chosen a candidate who lives in a completely opposite way”, said Ilčić, who did not want to explain his statement further.

Habijan responded that he was a candidate of a modern European centre-right party which advocates for European values ​​and for Varaždin to live in the 21st century, and not in the 15th century. “It is high time to put Varaždin first. People of Varaždin are my priority and they deserve better management of the town”, said Habijan in a statement. “I want to lead and live in Varaždin which will finally become a part of the 21st century, and not in the 15th century in ideological terms”, said Habijan.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier thanked Ilčić on his efforts during his short tenure as his special advisor for human rights. Ilčić informed me about his intention to run for mayor of Varaždin, and that is not compatible with being a special advisor, said Stier. He added that during the election campaign it was usual to hear harsh words. “However, I think that people should not discuss private life of opponents”, said Stier. Asked whether the recent protest march of women held on 8 March, when Ilčić’s resignation was demanded, had any effect, Stier said that this was not the reason for his resignation.

Anđelko Stričak, president of the HDZ branch in Varaždin County, said that HDZ’s candidate Damir Habijan had received unanimous support of party bodies. “All the candidates have received the unanimous support of party bodies, including Habijan”, said Stričak. He reiterated that HDZ would propose the most qualified and best candidates for positions at local elections, including Habijan, who is already well-known to the public. Stričak also condemned Ilčić’s comments on private life of political rivals. “When you do not have ideas to do something for your fellow citizens, then you engage in demagogy and attack political opponents on a personal level”, said Stričak.

Human rights NGOs Kontra and Croatian Women’s Network welcomed Ilčić’s resignation. They pointed out that his resignation came just two days after women all over Croatia protested against government’s policies towards women’s rights and LGBT people. “We want to believe that the resignation points to acceptance of recommendations from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women”, said the activists. They requested from the government to start implementing Croatian laws and international treaties for the protection of human rights, and to stop “the drastic degradation of human rights, as well as a disturbing wave of violence against women, LGBT people and minorities”.

NGO Platforma 112 announced that it was “very pleased” with the resignation. “It is quite clear that the resignation is a direct result of the protest march, when thousands demanded his resignation”, said the NGO, pointing out that Ilčić today repeatedly praised Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, but refused to comment on Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković. Platforma 112 said that it seemed that the Prime Minister had decided to put an end to the behaviour of Minister Stier, who “felt powerful enough that he clearly showed that he belonged to a very organized and financially well-padded ultraconservative movement which spreads its tentacles to almost all corners of the world”.


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