Much Ado About Croatian Parliament Speaker’s Skiing Trip

Total Croatia News

And who better to comment than a member of MOST

It didn’t take long into the New Year for politicians to come back into the spotlight in Croatia. On January 2, 2016, just after we got sick of the news of snow falling in the mainland, major newsflash: “Newly elected Parliament Speaker Reiner uses his privileges to cut the crowds at toll booths while he was leaving for his ski trip”.

Hm…newsworthy? Sure, but not for the reasons most would think. Yes, the public thought it was outrageous one would use rotation lights and security privileges to avoid waiting at toll booths like all other average citizens that were heading for the ski slopes, especially since the lines were long and people were already getting nervous. But we seem to be forgetting that this is indeed the second most powerful man in Croatia (right after the Prime Minister), and security detail is an absolute must no matter what the occasion. Could it have been done differently without rubbing it in people’s noses? Of course, but our politicians are not exactly subtle when it comes to displaying their power regardless of which political party they come from.

Just remember Ivo Sanader’s trips across Europe with a private plane whether to visit the opera, drop his daughter off to school or go to the ball in Vienna. Or Milanović’s habit or rerouting the plane to Krk for “undisclosed reasons”. Vesna Pusić and her urgent return from Istanbul with a private plane is another example, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović’s husband and his use of official vehicles around Washington… There are many of them so please excuse me for not naming them all.

And just minutes after the news broke, the circus began. And how would throw the first stone? Surprisingly it wasn’t SDP, it was HDZ’s very own coalition partner MOST, ooops, sorry, associate since MOST insists they are not in a coalition – Tomislav Panenić. Outraged by Mr. Reiner’s behaviour and lack of sensitivity Panenić quickly commented: “It is against everything MOST stands for and it sends the wrong message to the people”. In the meantime, HDZ’s PR army went into overdrive, especially the social media department, making sure every negative comment on Parliament Speaker’s wall is quickly erased.

In my very humble opinion, it is not a question of whether it was appropriate for Mr. Reiner’s security detail to use such measures as rotating lights to skip the toll booth line so he could get to the ski resort in time. What I want to know is how someone goes on a skiing holiday just 5 days after landing the second most powerful job in the country, especially after claiming there is no time to wait and that they have to start working right away?Now that sends the wrong message. Does he need to clear his head before tackling such a daunting task or did he book it weeks ago and could not get a refund? As for security, in all honesty, it is better they follow him around, he might need it while he’s swooshing down the ski slopes, he’s not exactly a spring chicken anymore. We need him healthy and with all bones in one piece, there’s a lot of work to be done when he gets back.

Ending on a much lighter note, it didn’t take long for the endlessly creative Internet community to share their own vision of the situation.


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