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.
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)]