ZAGREB, May 28, 2020 – President Zoran Milanovic called on citizens on Thursday to vote in the July 5 parliamentary election, saying he was not thinking about the election interests and chances of the ruling HDZ or the opposition SDP and that he did not wish to influence that.
“I call on everyone to go to the polls, and it’s unbelievable how a well-meaning and defensive statement by me has prompted several analysts to react. My message is ‘vote’, and I’ll see, because I don’t want any bias to be ascribed to my activity,” Milanovic told reporters, explaining an earlier statement that he did not know if he would vote at all.
He said this was not his message but his stance. “I’m not thinking about the SDP’s interests and chances in the election, nor the HDZ’s, nor would I influence that.”
He said the right to vote was a constitutional right, not a duty, and called on citizens to go to the polls to vote, not to invalidate their ballot.
Asked about the business of the INA oil company and recent media claims that oil was being shipped to Hungary for refining, Milanovic said he did not know enough about that.
“In order to have a stand, I need to know a little more. Business reasons have to exist for it to be refined in Rijeka. What those reasons are, I don’t know. I don’t know the motives of INA’s owner, the majority owner being, unfortunately, the Hungarian company MOL. Unfortunately, that was wrong, damaging for Croatia.”
The president added that the Rijeka Refinery has to operate.
Last night he met with the military leadership in his office to discuss the situation in the army. Although he did not reveal details of the talks, he said new military aircraft would likely be procured.
“We will probably procure them, I can say with certainty. When the situation calms down a bit. But I will do my best so that it isn’t done as it was three years ago, for responsibility to be taken more clearly at one point. That is up to the prime minister. Frankly, there’s not much choice here. The US or someone from the West without an indecent proposal.”
Asked if Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandrokovic were sending him a message by not attending a Croatian army reception in his office, Milanovic said they were sending the message to their voters, not to him.
As for the new date on which Statehood Day is being marked, May 30, he said that date is not really Statehood Day.
“It’s a holiday that is being moved by political turbulence so that people won’t really know what holiday it is in fact. June 25 is a symbolically important date, it’s not a parade. It’s the date of the Croatian referendum on independence and leaving Yugoslavia. That date is the common denominator of all Croats. This new date isn’t the common denominator. Too many people have dilemmas about it.”