Milanović: I Didn’t Enter Presidential Race Unprepared

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 25, 2019 – The Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate for President of the Republic, Zoran Milanović, told Hina in an interview that he did not enter the presidential race unprepared and without ideas and that he knew what values he would promote, adding that if he had begun his campaign differently he would have been portrayed as “aggressive and violent”.

“I also know what I will not be doing – much of what we have seen in the last five years. … I think I know a lot about state affairs. I have a great experience as the leader of a large political party and prime minister, which is an advantage, but possibly a drawback, too. People will give their verdict, that’s how it is, it can’t be otherwise in politics,” he said.

Milanović would not comment on the performance of the incumbent President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović or say what he thought of the other contenders.

“I don’t want to comment. I simply think and am confident that I will do this job better, with greater dignity and more worthy of Croatia,” he said, adding that he would advocate Croatian interests “more convincingly, more energetically and with greater authority, and not opportunistically.”

Asked how he saw the recent government reshuffle, he said: “This is another topic I would prefer not to comment on, because I think I will have to work and cooperate with these people. There’s no stability there.” He added that he would not use “dirty tricks” to undermine the government as had been done in 2015 in relations between the president and the opposition.

Milanović said that, if elected, he would not treat the government of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković “destructively and unconstitutionally” as the incumbent president had done, but that he wanted “a fair relationship, clear, transparent, direct and critical if necessary, but not opportunistic and cowardly.”

Asked whose support he had for his presidential bid, he said he was backed by the SDP, the Pensioners’ Party (HSU) and the Peasant Party (HSS). “But I cannot hope for a victory unless I am stronger than this. Above all, I am my own candidate and I will be what I have been all along – unquestionably independent, even rudely independent. … I am in touch with the IDS (Istrian Democratic Assembly) and they will make their decision. I need their assistance because in Istria it is not irrelevant whether you are supported by the IDS or not.”

Asked who would finance his campaign and how much money he intended to spend, Milanovic said: “Not much. We haven’t planned it all yet, but we plan to spend as little as possible. I expect support from the SDP, but I believe other parties will also assist symbolically. But I am here to attract the hearts and minds of people. The President of the Republic cannot return a favour. What Croatia needs from the President is to be cunning, to look after national interests and show no sympathy for Serbian President Vučić and Hungary’s Orban.”

Asked if he was in favour of changing the powers of the President, Milanović said: “I am not one of those who want greater powers or who interpret the existing powers in their own way and misuse them. I will not behave like that. I will abide by the Constitution. The phrase that the President is the only one directly elected is music to the ears of megalomaniacs. It would be better if the President were elected by compromise because then that person would be more firmly on the ground and aware that they are not God-given.”

More news about the presidential race can be found in the Politics section.


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