Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić Dead, Heart Attack, Aged 65 Years Old

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Grad Zagreb
Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić
Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić

Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić has died. At the time of his death, he was the longest-serving capital city mayor in the world. And he was aged 65 years.

News of the death of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić was released by official city authorities early in the hours of Sunday 28 February 2021.

gradonacelnik_Milan_Bandićdead.jpgZagreb Mayor Milan Bandić © Grad Zagreb

Death of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić: the city of Zagreb official statement:

“In deep sorrow, we inform our fellow citizens, associates, friends, the Zagreb and Croatian public that suddenly, today, February 28, at the age of 66, the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Mr. Milan Bandić, died of a heart attack.

He lived for his city, for the people of Zagreb who were in the first place in everything he did, for the job he did with love and energy, bringing in his whole self – without the rest, for 21 years.

We will inform the public about the details, the date of the funeral, the holding of the commemorative gathering, as well as other information related to this sad news.

Rest in peace.”

Croatian media reports that Mr. Bandić fell ill shortly after 11.30pm on Saturday 27 February. It was initially reported that he was at home at the time of falling ill. However, it was later revealed that he had been attended by an ambulance and paramedics at an altogether different address, that of a friend. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance was called to his apartment on Bužanova ulica. Paramedics at the scene attempted to resuscitate Mr. Bandić for 45 minutes before taking him to Sveti Duh hospital, say the media. It would appear that efforts made to revive the mayor were sadly unsuccessful.

He served in the position for 21 years. At the time of his death, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić was the longest-serving capital city mayor in the world.

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Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić: his life

Milan Bandić was born 22 November 1955 in the small hamlet of Bandića Brig, a part of Cerov Dolac in the municipality of Grude, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He excelled at athletics in his school years and after graduation, he received a scholarship from the municipality of Grude. This enabled him to go to Zagreb in 1974 to study at university. He enrolled at the Faculty of Political Science (and Journalism).

Over the course of many interviews he gave while in office, Mr. Bandić revealed that in his earliest positions he had worked as an unskilled labourer. However, he was gregarious and a good talker. He improved his employment status by entering local politics.

Following Croatia’s independence, there was a change to the structure (and names) of the political entities to which politicians belonged. In 1993, Mr. Bandić became secretary of the SDP City Committee. In 1995, he entered the Zagreb City Assembly as a councilor. Two years later, in 1997, he became president of the Zagreb SDP. In 2000, after securing the largest share of votes, he started his first tenure in the position of mayor of Zagreb.

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Milan Bandić: tenure as Mayor of Zagreb

As his years in the powerful position continued, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić attracted severe criticism from some quarters. He was linked to many scandals and Croatian media estimates that around 250 criminal charges were filed against him. He remained popular enough with segments of Zagreb’s population to retain his position in a series of re-elections.

During his tenure as mayor, the city of Zagreb changed considerably. Several new suburbs were built. Housing was provided for a large number of the city’s Roma residents. Transport within the city improved. Zagreb became an increasingly more tolerant and safer city. It also became more international.

People from all over the world came to visit the city and Zagreb became Croatia’s most popular city destination for tourists (for instance, Zagreb Advent was initiated while Mr. Bandić was in office). Moreover, many internationals moved to live in Zagreb during his tenure, adding to the city’s cosmopolitan feel. Many of Mr Bandić’s detractors say that improvements in the city occurred in spite of him rather than because of him.

Death of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić: consequences

Zagreb mayoral elections are due to take place in 2021. The unexpected death of Mr. Bandić now holds considerable implications for their running and outcome. Many had expected Mr. Bandić to win yet another term. Sections of the Croatian media and political class had offered the opinion that, in some cases, weak candidates were being fielded by specific political parties in opposition to the mayor. Many regarded Mr. Bandić as untoppleable. Others still voiced their opinion that the fielding of weaker candidates was motivated by a desire to maintain the status quo and allow Mr. Bandić to pass without serious obstruction into another term. Such accusations were strenuously denied. As of 21 February 2021, some 12 persons had announced their candidacies for the forthcoming Zagreb mayoral elections. Whatever the outcome of these elections, this year’s race will now be missing a candidate ever-present within them for the last two decades.

Mr. Bandic is survived by his wife Vesna who, famously, he married twice, and their daughter Ana Marija

textdeath.jpgGrad Zagreb screenshot

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