PM: Signatures for Referendum on COVID Passes Should be Checked Transparently

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Plenković said this in response to the statement by President Zoran Milanović that the government would most likely try to declare some of the signatures invalid and thus rob the MOST party, which initiated signature collection.

Commenting on Milanović’s statement after a ceremony marking the 145th anniversary of the existence of the Croatian Fire Service, Plenković wondered how Milanović knew whether MOST had collected enough signatures for a referendum, ironically adding that the President must be “a clairvoyant”.

Plenković called on the MOST party to present the signatures and show whether they had collected enough of them. He said he wanted the signatures to be checked “in the most transparent way possible.”

MOST MP Nikola Grmoja announced on Sunday that the party had collected enough signatures, saying that the results of the signature collection campaign would be presented on Wednesday.

Grmoja, however, stopped short of specifying the number of collected signatures, and in his statement to Hina on Sunday evening, he said that they were still gathering data and information from local teams that had collected signatures in the last 14 days. For a referendum campaign to be successful, its organisers must collect the signatures of 10% of the electorate, or 368,446 signatures.

If the referendum petition is supported by the required number of signatures, the proposed referendum questions may also be tested by the Constitutional Court.

Raspudić and Milanović are twins

Asked to comment on the statement by MOST MP Nino Raspudić that the timing of the Constitutional Court session was connected with the information that they had collected a sufficient number of signatures for the referendum, Plenković said he did not know what Raspudić was talking about.

“Raspudić and Milanović are twins. I guess anyone who hasn’t realised that before can see it now. This is a case of symbiosis. We can hardly speak about two persons here, they are one person. Does the Constitutional Court schedule its sessions taking into account other events? I doubt it,” the prime minister said.

He said that the government would submit its opinion on the mandatory use of COVID passes to the Constitutional Court as soon as it was prepared.

Two-frame operation

Asked to comment on Milanović’s claims that regardless of the Constitutional Court’s ruling on digital COVID passes, Plenković wondered how the president could have attended the ceremony marking the 145th anniversary of the Croatian Fire Service if he had not produced the certificate.

In his ironic comment, Plenković went on to say that “we as thieves and traitors abide by regulations and show certificates on our full vaccination, and he does not.”

He added that Milanović’s accusations against the best Croatian diplomats, his baffling statements about the euro adoption and his accusations against the government and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) only exposed problems with “south winds, common sense and the contribution to the Croatian general public and interests”.

 “It is only a parasitic activity,” said Plenković.

That activity consists of two frames, and in one of them political actors keep claiming that the HDZ is a thieving, corrupt and criminal organisation, which is the basic claim of all who have the problem with the HDZ approval ratings, and in the other frame, profiteers and parasites on the deaths of Croatian citizens are making a charade of COVID certificates, said the PM.

Those claims are perpetuated by their mouthpieces in the media and they try to push that on the front burner, Plenković said.

As for the opposition to COVID passes, Plenković noted that in all EU member states, there are those who are making a charade of the topic of COVID certificates.

“Those profiteers now even claim that the government will be toppled. However, the government is in good shape and alive, and according to the Croatian National Bank’s(HNB) forecasts, the Croatian economy will grow at a rate of 11%. Has the government been toppled? Of course not. Do they have enough signatures? I do not know. Is this a politically orchestrated charade with the sole purpose of destabilising the HDZ and the parliamentary majority? Yes, it is,” Plenković said, adding that those who are making this charade do not care about other citizens.

As for Milanović’s speech at the ceremony marking the 30th anniversary of the Croatian National Bank, Plenković said that what the president had said there was “gibberish”.

“He attended the ceremony, talking gibberish, so that no one can say whether he is in favour of or against the adoption of the euro… If you are in favour, say it clearly, if you are against, say it clearly, just be brave and say what you think,” Plenković said referring to Milanović’s speech.


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