Local elections are getting closer and parties are deciding on their candidates.
Leader of MOST and Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov said on Saturday, after the inaugural session of the party Main Committee, that they had discussed plans for the upcoming local elections which will take place in May. He confirmed that Marko Sladoljev will be his party’s candidate for mayor of Zagreb, reports tportal.hr on March 12, 2017.
“Unlike other candidates, Marko Sladoljev is currently the only real opposition to Mayor Milan Bandić”, said Petrov to reporters.
Sladoljev said that he would present a programme for rational management of the City of Zagreb. “We will have programmes that will directly affect the benefits which politicians receive for serving in school management boards. My first move as a potential mayor will be the abolition of fees for politicians in schools and kindergartens. We will propose changes at the ward level as well, so that officials become volunteers”, said Sladoljev on Saturday.
Waste management plan, transport issues, education, kindergartens, schools, and management of sports facilities will be in the focus of his interest. Asked whether he was entering a battle which he cannot win, Sladoljev said he was a fresh face in politics and the only candidate born in Zagreb. “That is not necessarily an advantage, but I think it is not a disadvantage. Zagreb does not need just superficial changes, and two ladies who are the main opponents to the current mayor were actually his long-time associates. They would not make deep structural changes which are necessary in Zagreb”, said Sladoljev.
Asked whether he thought he should become HDZ’s candidate as well, given the fact that HDZ has not yet announced its candidate, Sladoljev said that he thought HDZ would have its own candidate. “HDZ is in a certain way also responsible for this, because Bandić now has 7.5 billion kuna from the city budget to use for his election campaign”, said Sladoljev, alluding to the fact that in December HDZ saved Bandić in the city assembly by voting for his budget proposal for 2017.
MOST leader Petrov commented on the local elections as well. “There will be no test”, he said when asked whether the forthcoming local elections will be a test for the relationship between MOST and HDZ, which are coalition partners at the national level. “We can distinguish what is the national and what the local level”, he added. “At the national level, we are partners and we want to achieve the best possible result in the interest of all citizens. As for the local level, that is something where the best candidates should win”, he said, adding that there would be no problems and no “spill over” of any possible conflicts, hostility and competition from local to national level.
Petrov said that the largest “conflicts” at the local level during the election campaign will take place between HDZ and MOST, much less than between SDP and MOST. “The biggest fight will take place on the territory of the 9th and 10th parliamentary constituency, where HDZ is strong, but I know that we will achieve excellent results, defend everything we already have, and demonstrate that we have the strength to lead other local government units as well”, said Petrov.
MOST will consider local elections a success if it manages to defend all local government units where it is already in power, and expects additional successes in Split, Dubrovnik and other towns, including a good result in Zagreb.