President Seems to Support Referendum Initiatives Government Opposes

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, June 2, 2018 – Commenting on referendum campaigns launched by civic groups, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović said on Saturday that she did not interfere in referendums but that she strongly believed that the will of the people had to be respected.

“My position on referendums is that I respect recommendations by the Venice Commission and do not interfere in referendums. However, I also strongly believe that the will of the people has to be respected,” Grabar-Kitarović said when asked by reporters about her position on referendums and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s statement that the referendum questions of the recently completed signature-collecting drives for two referendums were irresponsible.

“As far as I know, a sufficient number of signatures has been collected for one of the referendums. It is particularly important for us politicians and office-holders to take into account the will of the people. I would like the will of the people to be taken into account in other spheres of public life as well,” she said after a special session of the Osijek County Assembly, held on the occasion of the county’s day.

Grabar-Kitarović said that, by signing the referendum petition, citizens had shown that they wanted changes on Croatia’s political scene and among its political elites. They have shown a wish to have the election law changed, which is legitimate, and that they want to participate more and have a greater role in the election of their direct representatives, she said.

Responding to a reporter’s remark that young people loathed high politics, of which she, too, was part, Grabar-Kitarović said that she had spoken about that problem on Friday with a fair amount of self-criticism and that she considered herself, too, to be part of the political elite that was losing the trust of the people, notably young people.

Asked if her statement was also a message to the prime minister, Grabar-Kitarović said that she did not want to single out anyone and that she too was concerned about the erosion of trust in political structures, parties and state institutions.

She said that she had not spoken with the prime minister yet but that she believed that they would meet. “We sit down from time to time to discuss many issues, so I believe we will meet. I can’t imagine a situation in which we would not be talking,” said the president.


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