Almost two weeks before the final deadline, the People’s Coalition officially submits the names of its candidates for Parliament.
Presidents of parties belonging to the People’s Coalition – SDP, HNS, HSS and HSU – submitted the names of their candidates for Parliament at September’s parliamentary elections. After they handed over the candidate lists to the State Election Commission, they said they expected to win, reports Index.hr on August 3, 2016.
“We were in government until eight months ago. Croatia knows what the difference it was and we ask people to give us their confidence once again”, said SDP president Zoran Milanović. He added that he expected victory and a debate about difficult topics. “I expect that we will conclude eight months of this dangerous experiment which is still going on, since people who present themselves as Croatian government are still making illegal decisions”, said Milanović.
Discussing the issue of former Agriculture Minister Tihomir Jakovina, who yesterday announced that he would not be a candidate for Parliament, Milanović said that it was Jakovina’s own decision. He was replaced by Marta Luc Polanc, a young lawyer from Slavonski Brod. “Jakovina decided to withdraw on his own, he called me and told me he did not want to take part in it any more”, said Milanović explaining that Jakovina had not violated any laws. In recent days, Jakovina was hit by a scandal when it was reported that during his term as Agriculture Minister in the last SDP-led government he approved multi-million bonuses to members of the board of directors of the Croatian Forests public company.
Milanović was asked by reporters about the fact that Stipe Gabrić remained as a candidate for Parliament, even though there are several criminal investigations being conducted about him. “He is a HSS representative”, said Milanović. HSS president Krešo Beljak added that the difference was the fact that Gabrić had been placed low on a candidate list, which means that we will enter parliament only if voters in the tenth parliamentary constituency give him their preferential votes. “Gabrić is ready to help and I do not see anything wrong with that. However, according to media reports, I see that Božo Petrov and Nikola Grmoja from MOST will not run in that constituency, so obviously they are afraid of him.” Stipe Gabrić was for many years the Mayor of Metković, and was replaced several years ago by MOST leader Božo Petrov. Petrov and Gabrić continue to trade fierce accusations about who was a better mayor.
HSU president Silvano Hrelja also said that Gabrić will not be a negative factor for the People’s Coalition. “This is a pragmatic approach, since we respect all parties and I think it will be fine for the coalition”, said Hrelja, adding that parties should not interfere with one another. Hrelja added that he expected former President Stjepan Mesić to bring HSU another seat in parliament thanks to preferential votes. Mesić was President of Croatia from 2000 to 2010, and he will be a candidate in the first parliamentary constituency.
SDP president Milanović did not want to comment on the possibility of a grand coalition with HDZ after the elections. “We want a stable model for Croatia, a safe direction. Once we become the strongest coalition after the elections, we will want to cooperate with all those who wish well to Croatia. At the moment, it is too early to say who will that be. HDZ should really be thoroughly reformed. That is the only way for the HDZ leadership and the new party president to convince me that they really want change”, said Milanović.
HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak did not want to say whether MOST or HDZ were closer to the People’s Coalition. “I am sure and I sincerely hope that we will not need them. Croatia does not need negotiations and government like we had during the last eight months”, said Vrdoljak.
“MOST president Božo Petrov refused to be Prime Minister after the last elections. We gave the opportunity to a man whose party won 12 or 13 percent of the vote, but he refused”, said Milanović, alluding to the negotiations between SDP and MOST after the last elections. Milanović concluded that there were good people within MOST and that it was HDZ who tried to break up MOST, and not SDP.