Croatia – Electoral Law Groundhog Day

croatia revolution

31.5% of Dubrovnik’s eligible voters came out to vote at the Referendum (for or against the proposed development of area Srdj [Srđ] above the city into an elite golf course and apartments) last Sunday.

Not a big turnout, but some 80% of those that did vote voted against the development. While the referendum initiators (those against the development/ “Srdj is ours” group) claim that, given such overwhelming expression against the development the local government has no choice but to commit to these results/ i.e. that people of Dubrovnik really don’t want the development going ahead.

The government, local or otherwise, will stick to the electoral/referendum legislation,
which says that 50% (of eligible voters) + 1 vote must vote in order for the voting results to be valid. And, of course, that suits the government as they have been and are on the investors’ and developers’ side.

This example serves as the latest terrible and unjust reality Croatian citizens must put up with in cases like this. That is, in the referendum for EU membership for example, 50% + 1 of all eligible voters did not have to vote for the results to be legal (any number, any turnout, is valid). But, local issues referendums must have 50% + 1 vote to be valid – despite the governments promises over the past 18 months that the latter would be changed to align with the former through legislative change.

The law had never changed!

Election results still don’t reflect a determined will of the people’s (a reasonable and acceptable size of the body of population as expressed via eligible voters) will on issues affecting their daily lives.

Furthermore, there are still no provisions for postal or electronic votes and in the case of Dubrovnik referendum people traveled to Dubrovnik from everywhere, in Croatia and Europe, last Sunday in order to vote. Just imagine – many could not afford to travel either from lack of money or from frailty. The electoral law still practices discrimination through lack of access to voting.

Revolution in Croatia

As the turnout for the return of entirely innocent Generals Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac (November 2012) as well as the protest turnout against dual-language signs in Vukovar and Podunavlje (April 2013) demonstrated, Croatians, when they want to, can turn out in big numbers and demonstrate their unity and voice their opinions despite a hostile government and a rabid, hate-filled Yugoslav nationalist-socialist media spider web downplaying and spinning and or misrepresenting the silent Croatian majority’s opinion.

Croatia, however, does not need a violent revolution – it needs a logical revolution.

Croatia’s woes are not beholden to this government alone, nor its HDZ predecessor under the kleptocrat in Conservative drag (no pun intended), nor the wolves in sheep’s clothing that betrayed Croatia’s first, and to date, only Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, as his health and mental capacities deteriorated due to cancer, and they filled their pockets with the treasure Croatia paid for in a sea of blood and suffering by its brave citizens, police and soldiers with an entire international community against any Croatia, and Croatia under an arms embargo.

It is beholden to the election law that was somewhat of a wartime necessity to keep the Yugoslav ultra-nationalist socialists demanding Krajina be recognised and that Croatia accept that it lost the war from getting into power that, despite his brilliant wartime leadership and strategic and tactical vision that made him the most successful statesman and geostrategist in post-WWII Europe, Tudjman failed to change before his death.

No one is perfect.

However, no one has since tried to change the law – in which Croatian citizens vote for parties and not candidates, which means that since 1990 there has been no accountability – because it is something that both the faux Conservatives and faux Socialists want to maintain.

Any discussion about changing it is immediately attacked by those in government and the opposition, as well as their paid prostitutes in Croatia’s unfree and untransparent, mostly Yugoslav ultra-nationalist socialist, media.

The ruling kleptocratic idiocrats therefore after election time simply play magical chairs and switch seats in Parliament, from Opposition to Government, and vice versa.

Accountability

To date, parties, not people, have been held accountable in Croatia at election time. Therefore, the unfortunate election paradigm of voting for the lesser evil – and not, say, for the competent candidate that either delivered on promises that deserves re-election, or the candidate that has succinctly outlined a strategy that will best defend the interests of his or her constituency and above all, national interest – has been the dynamic that has shaped Croatia’s pathetic political scene and equally pitiful economic, domestic, and foreign policies.

This lesser-evil voting problem is compounded by the fact that the “former” Yugoslav Communist Party and “former” Croatian Communist Party ruling castes within HDZ, SDP, HNS and other major parties simply recycle the same incompetent kleptocratic idiocrats in different positions within the opposition or government (depending on which party Croatians vote more against).

Which brings Croatia to the absurd point that hundreds of thousands of patriots and people who suffered through the war and the disastrous economic policies of post-Tudjman Croatian governments (when Tudjman died, Croatia’s debt, after a war that in damage alone cost 27.1 billion USD, was 9 billion USD, now it is reaching 50 billion EUR) voted against Jadranka Kosor’s incompetent Sanaderesque (as in Ivo Sanader-former PM now in court for corruption and the like crimes) vision and put in an even more incompetent Zoran Milanovic government, which put Vesna Pusic – who, were she a citizen of any other country during wartime and engaged in the same activities as she did against Croatia, would most likely be convicted and sentenced for treason – in charge of Croatian foreign policy; and the high-pitched Slavko Linic (minister of finance), whose policies robbed Rijeka of its rightful place as a major shipping and ship producing hub of Central Europe’s future, and so on.

So, in essence, every election cycle is like the movie Groundhog Day – a few different bad decisions but more or less the same old, same old – in terms of Croatia’s economic, domestic and foreign policy, the same old incompetence and dilettantism with a few cosmetic changes to the bloated pig.

A One-Point Referendum on the Election Law is a Logical Revolution

When Croatia’s election law is changed to direct democracy, or at least an Irish-style election law where the candidates who received the most party-list votes are the ones who get into Parliament, voters will finally be able to hold its politicians and leaders accountable for their actions.

The only way to actually bring about any change whatsoever in Croatia, is to start a signature campaign to hold a referendum on Croatia’s election laws and allow for citizens to vote for candidates, and not parties.

The failure in the previous nation-wide referendum was that there were simply too many points, and people would reject one point and then not sign the referendum because that point did not fit their belief system.

However, if Croatia had a logical election law that provided for direct democracy, political parties would be beholden to voters and single-item issues such as genetically modified foods and some of the other issues the referendum-initiators were hoping people would support would be items of discussion in Sabor (Parliament), or county, or city governments – as voters would hold their representatives accountable if the issues they actually cared about were not represented or pushed by their representatives in government.

Most referendum issues would be obsolete, for in a election system that inherently forces accountability onto politicians, much of the referendum issues would sooner or later become issues if their constituents demanded them. They would finally see the light of day in discussions in local and county government and in Croatia’s Sabor.

A referendum on a single item, Croatia’s Election Law, would end this ongoing criminal highway robbery of Croatian taxpayers and their and their children’s futures by the circus freak show of incompetents in Croatia’s Sabor, where most of the circus freaks spend less time in than they do in the Sabor Cantina, drinking, babbling nonsense and wasting time on the taxpayers dime.

Without a change to Croatia’s Election Law, Groundhog Day will be relived government after government, and Croatia’s hard-fought freedom and independence will slowly be withered away due to blatant treason, which we have grown used to since Stjepan Mesic’s questionable first election, and incompetence.

Its time to start this revolution – today!

[Thank you to the readers and commentators on this Blog whose sharp observation skills, superior verbal fluency, healthy critical minds, unconditional love for Croatia, knowledge of Croatia’s history, current issues and political system and its practices who have contributed significantly to this particular post “Croatia – Electoral Law Groundhog Day”. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)]

Comments

  1. Spectator says:

    Great article – things are truly ripe for electoral law changes in Croatia as a matter of urgency. Dubrovnik’s Mayor Andro Vlahusic (HNS party – Vesna Pusic’s crony) said on TV yesterday that he can conclude that the 70% of those who did not vote do want the Srd golf course and apartments going ahead! Can you believe this communist courage!

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  2. If we are to judge by what those who voted against the Dobrovnik’s Srdj project they are not taking the referendum “defeat” lying down. They aim to fight on. Good on them – it’s about the appalling referendum law that needs changing

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  3. Miso Sorbel says:

    Yep – citizens of Dubrovnik were told, the day before the referendum that they do not need to come out and vote that they will participate in the referendum even if they do not vote! Yep party faithfuls were ordered not to vote – I have no doubt about that. I hope the coming local government elections in May truly reflect the rage that the governing elite deserve.

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  4. Slaven Bijok says:

    Investments, job creations are important, especially in the bad economic climate and unemployment. So in a way, the Srdj project should go ahead!

    BUT NO – judging from past experiences etc the foreign investors will import their own workers especially for the cushier positions and locals will maybe get to clean, tend to lawn and gardens, work at some reception etc … sad, sad – money makes the world go around and many of us will fall from that merry-go-around.

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  5. Revolution Now! Croatia has not had the proper revolution by which the power is truly transferred onto the people. Independent Croatia just “imported” the political elite system from that rotten communist Yugoslavia and this needs to stop, quick smart.

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  6. We need a big, big broom in Croatia to get rid of electoral laws which have too many holes through which the repulsive political careerists weasel through every time. U boj, u noj – to battle, to battle

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  7. Personally I would have voted for the golf development, but whole heartedly agree that electoral laws need critical change. Can a petition bring change?

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  8. Good article, but when will the apathy and defeatism of the Croatian voters be critisized?

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    • Davor, I would say that Croatia’s political leaders (government and opposition) first need to embark on a thorough public education on democracy, ease of access to facilities of democracy for all (such as is voting) etc, truly clear the placa of public office from thieves and corrupt individuals and those who act like gods behind public service counters – all this should have been started soon after the war, i.e. its final stage reintegration of Podunavlje … then one can criticise the public. Change of electoral laws and regulations are needed as the inequities etc themselves in them are creating further apathy and distrust. I believe that change could happen, it needs active individuals to instigate… An example of the appalling current electoral regulations – that are downright discriminatory – is the fact that there is no postal or electronic vote for those who live in remote areas or are incapacitated to travel to polling places at election times. So the law actually denies the right to vote by not providing all avenues of access to that right. So for instance you get the situation where many do not vote not because of apathy or defeatism but simply because they cannot afford to travel, they have no time to travel, they are too ill to travel etc… This reality suits the political elite because it guarantees them limitation of possible votes against them etc. So in this sense the Croatian election law is like a highrise building that has a “All Welcome inside” sign on it but no wheelchair access ramps, no lifts, no adapted toilets etc.

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  9. It is really interesting to read things about other places that rarely make it into mainstream news over here!

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  10. Another in a long line of excellent assessments!

    In Croatia rule of law points only in one direction –
    – the direction of what is good for the ruling political elite.

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  11. Velebit says:

    Great collaborative effort from your readers! I agree that a clean sweep is necessary although 23 years too late- a good housecleaning of both legislative loopholes and political wolves in sheep’s clothing is way overdue. Of course the situation Croatian people find themselves in today is not because of any one political administration but the cumulative effect of years of corrupt politicians and cronyism. When ‘former’ Communists from the political elite of Yugoslavia are overnight transformed into fervent ‘democrats’ why would anyone take either them or whatever political party they are currently fronting for seriously? Legitimacy of political parties and politicians themselves was called to question right out of the gate.’A good, stiff broom was certainly necessary in the early days to make a clean start of it – but no one at that time felt equal to the task to weild the broom and so today the Croatian people are feeling the ramifications of that misstep. Is anyone really surprised that the Croatian people in general are “tuned out” when it comes to politics and exercising their democratic rights? The euphoria of secession from Yugoslavia in 1990’s was our pinnacle, our hopes and dreams came true when finally, once again, we were recognized as a sovereign state. Thank God for our brave citizens and soldiers who protected and defended that sovereignty on behalf of all Croatians throughout the world – we as fellow Croatians owe them so much! But, unfortunately, as we see today, that democracy that they pledged their lives to ensure for us, is being manipulated by deceitful politicians and the effect is that the voter feels betrayed.This is just the latest example. The powerful wanted the Srd land development, they advised “their” voters or those who would vote ‘yes’ to the proposal to stay home – to not vote! Now, lets think about what that means. Instead of urging all their votes in – they are telling them NOT to vote! Now is that shrewd or what? They must have guaged firstly, that they didn’t have enough ‘yes’ votes and that therefore they would lose if all their supporters voted. Secondly, they knew the election law held that 50%+1 total votes were required and thirdly, they bet the farm that voters would be apathetic in the majority, and that only a minority of ‘no’ voters would actually vote! They manipulated their voters and the electoral system in order to win – and they did! Such artful slyness just underlines that little has changed in Croatia from times of old – the common man has gradually come to realise that this Croatian form of democracy smells oddly familiar – and why wouldn’t it? Its the same players, just different uniforms.

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  12. Michael Silovic says:

    Until we are able to change the constitutional and electoral laws we will continue to be puppets of the goverment.I think it is time to start a revolution because if we do not make changes that benefit the will of the people we will have massive amounts of corruption on all levels of goverment. I can sense already that when we get monies from the IMF and EU that thievery will be plentiful and our country in even further debt while few get richer.There is a reason that the elections are made difficult for the diaspora community and even harder to get citizenship based on ancestry. It is because the goverment knows that anyone outside of Croatia fully understands the will of a democracy and will put our peoples interest first because we have seen the suffering from both inside and out not just from a governmental point of view.

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    • The thing about money from IMF etc Michaeli, reminds one of the days of Tito’s Yugoslavia (only other than IMF gave him money for Yugoslavia) – political elite and those close to them benefit the others just get crumbs to keep them hungry all the time. You are right re diaspora & elections. Needs to change.

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  1. […] the war and future, is critical of Croatia’s electoral law which states that votes are only valid if 50%+1 of all eligible voters participate, saying that […]

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