ZAGREB, October 3, 2019 – For the time being, incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović’s bid for a second term in office is supported by the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, whose candidate she was in the last presidential election, while members of the parliamentary opposition are very critical of the results of her five-year term.
After she addressed the public earlier in the day to announce her candidacy for another term as president, HDZ whip Branko Bačić said that his party fully supported her candidacy. “In her address I recognised the enthusiasm, desire, will and ability… to serve another term as president,” Bačić said.
He stressed that during Grabar-Kitarović’s term, and also owing to the work of the Andrej Plenković government, Croatia had never had a better international reputation and status in the EU and the rest of the world, and the Croatian Army had never been better, readier and more equipped, with visible progress of the military and security system.
“Speaking of presidential candidates, I would also say that she is a serious politician on the domestic scene. Voters will know how to distinguish between responsible politicians who lead the country in the right direction and with whom a majority of the Croatian people will identify and those who are irresponsible,” Bačić concluded.
Social Democrat Gordan Maras said the main question one should ask oneself today was what the last five years would be remembered for.
“Did Croatia make certain progress; did it accomplish what the president expected and said at the beginning of her term? Let us remember the statement that Croatia will be the wealthiest country, that the president will move her office from Pantovčak, that she will cut her office’s costs. None of that happened,” said Maras.
He said citizens would remember Grabar-Kitarović for certain situations that were not crucial for the post of president, “for her travels, her socialising at various events, her last trip to the United States. In a situation when the country has the most corrupt government ever, when there are so many scandals, when society lacks the fundamental values that make people want to live in Croatia, citizens expect the president to take a position and say ‘No more of that’.”
He added that the incumbent president could not do it because she was running for a new term with the direct support of those who had made the situation in the country what it was – the HDZ.
“The presidential vote must be a referendum on whether citizens are happy with Croatia and with the way they live… and I believe they are not,” said Maras, adding that his party’s presidential candidate Zoran Milanović was the only alternative to the current policy.
Kazimir Varga of Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić’s Labour and Solidarity Party said that the party would decide on whether it would nominate its own presidential candidate, call its members to vote according to their conscience or support some of the existing candidates after elections were called.
MOST leader Božo Petrov said he was confident that presidential candidate Miroslav Škoro would definitely make it to the second round and that he had a realistic chance of winning the elections.
“These elections are important because finally a president can be elected who does not come from the two parties that have proven over the last 20 years that they have nothing new to offer and do not protect citizens’ interests,” Petrov said.
Independent member of parliament Bojan Glavašević, who used to be a Social Democrat, described the president’s address as “a pile of utter nonsense”. “After five years she leaves behind only scorched earth. Of all the people who have said that they want to run for president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is definitely the worst,” he said.
“She has no morals if after five years of very selective, opportunistic patriotism and divisions she has caused, she wants to run again for president. She is the worst, most unpopular president in the history of Croatia and I sincerely hope citizens will vote accordingly,” Glavašević said.
Asked who the best candidate was, he said that he did not intend to join in any candidate’s campaign but that there was no mystery regarding his choice.
“I support any candidacy that can make Croatia a better place, any progressive candidacy and anyone who stands a serious chance of moving Grabar-Kitarović from the post which she did not justify in any way. Zoran Milanović is definitely one such candidate,” said Glavašević.
More news about presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.