ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 – President Zoran Milanovic said on Saturday, after a wreath-laying ceremony at Zagreb’s Mirogoj cemetery on the occasion of Statehood Day, that he was not boycotting the commemoration of that day, but that it was an election rally and a promise by a political administration that was now being fulfilled.
“This is an election rally. I am not boycotting anything. This is a promise by a political administration that is now fulfilling it. I consider that legislative decision a boycott of common sense and of the will of the majority of people in this country,” the president said.
He added that on 30 May 1990 a multi-party parliament was elected in democratic elections in which the absolute majority was held by a political party that had been supported by a relative minority of Croatian voters.
“That cannot be everyone’s holiday. There were other parties as well. To single it out as a holiday of Croatian statehood is very pretentious. To start with, you should find something that does not bother anyone. And by that I mean a vast majority,” Milanovic said, adding that Victory Day (August 5) was much more important than May 30 as well as that in the independence referendum of May 19, 1991, practically all Croatians had voted.
Asked why he was then commemorating May 30, he said that he was doing it out of respect for the dead.
“That is the minimum of conciliatoriness and respect I will always show because after all, this decision was adopted by the parliament, however, as we know, the parliament can pass any decision with a majority based on defectors. That is what I said half a year ago, that is my position and I am now showing it this way,” he said.
Milanovic did not join today PM Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic in laying a wreath at the grave of first Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at Mirogoj.
He also confirmed that he would not attend any of the commemorative events to be held later in the day.
Milanovic on impeachment: Go ahead and do it
Asked about senior HDZ official Vladimir Seks’ statement that a procedure should be launched to remove Milanovic from office over his position on Statehood Day, Milanovic said “He should go ahead and do it.”
“Nobody has ever voted for Mr Seks, code name “Sova” (Owl). He has been one of the very negative figures in Croatia in the last 30 years, leaving behind a negative institutional trace that is difficult to remove. Let him do it. Who knows, maybe someone will launch an investigation into responsibility for war crimes committed in Osijek,” said Milanovic.
He also said that the current parliament had made the decision on Statehood Day solely for the purpose of elections.
“You do it because you can. You have bought defectors’ votes. Someone else will come and I hope they will be sensible enough not to insist on imposing their own will and choosing something that bothers half the Croatian people. That’s not the way to do it,” said Milanovic.
Asked about Friday’s arrests, including those of state-owned Hrvatske Sume forest management company CEO Krunoslav Jakupcic and Public Administration State Secretary Josipa Rimac, and if he believed they, too, were part of the election campaign, Milanovic said that many people were arrested.
“They are all actually members of the ruling party. This is now assuming the proportions of an epidemic. What I have seen is not entirely clear to me because it seems an investigation was compromised. I would like to believe that the Office of the Chief State Prosecutor (DORH) has arguments (to support the case) because if it does not, it will be ridiculed,” he said.
Milanovic recalled that during his term as Prime Minister, one government member had been dismissed but that there had been no such cases as the current ones, and that DORH officials had not been appointed on the last day of the parliament’s term but well into it.
“I want that difference to be noted,” he said.