ZAGREB, August 3, 2019 – MP Gordan Maras of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) said on Friday that the decision by the State Electoral Commission (DIP) to fine his party 86,000 kuna (€11,650) over a sticker he had displayed on his laptop in the Croatian Parliament during the campaign for May’s European Parliament election was scandalous and that the DIP was subordinate to the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).
“This is a scandalous decision and I hope higher instances will quash it,” Maras told a press conference, adding that “the HDZ has usurped the DIP.”
He said that during the EU election campaign “an entire retinue of ministers” had travelled around Croatia, spending millions of taxpayers’ money, while he had only expressed his opinion through a sticker.
The DIP decided that Maras had violated the Election Campaign Financing Act because he had used the premises of a state institution for campaigning. Maras argued that laws say the national parliament is a public place, defined as a meeting hall, and not as an office space.
Maras insisted that he had not violated the law or the constitution, adding that under the constitution MPs cannot be punished for expressing their opinions. He said that the HDZ had exerted pressure on the DIP because he was an obstacle to the HDZ due to his anti-corruption rhetoric.
Asked to comment on the fact that the DIP’s decision was unanimous and that the SDP’s Vesna Fabijančić Križanić was the DIP’s deputy chair, Maras told the press that they would have to ask her.
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