ZAGREB, March 17, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday there was no need for a referendum on the Istanbul Convention within his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, stressing that the main purpose of the convention was to protect women against violence and domestic violence.
“No, there is no need for any referendum within the party on this issue,” Plenković said during a visit to Ston on the southern Pelješac peninsula when asked by the press to comment on the proposal by members of the HDZ branch in Zadar for an intra-party referendum on the Istanbul Convention.
He stressed that the HDZ had never adopted any document, “at any stage since the creation of this convention, which would say that the HDZ is against.” He said it was necessary to explain a little bit more the essence of the convention to the HDZ’s regional and local branches.
“I repeat once again, the purpose of the Council of Europe convention is to protect women against violence and domestic violence. We should eliminate all the statements about the convention that are not true,” Plenković said. He said that the ratification of the convention would not lead to introducing a third sex in Croatian legislation or recognising same-sex marriages or introducing homosexual content in school curricula. “All this is not true. Croatia has no legal obligations in that regard.”
Plenković said it seemed to him there was “fear of GREVIO,” the independent body responsible for monitoring the implementation of the convention, adding that many of the key conventions of the Council of Europe had monitoring bodies. “Croatia is party to those conventions and no one is upset about that,” he added.
Speaking of the term “gender” or “gender identity”, Plenković said that it was introduced in the Croatian system about ten years ago. He said that the purpose of the Istanbul Convention was “deeply Christian” and that he could not see what problems it could cause.