Croatia: End Of Lukewarm And Incompetent Mandate Era On Horizon As Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Becomes Presidential Candidate

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with Ivo Josipovic Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/Pixsell

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with Ivo Josipovic
Photo: Zeljko Lukunic/Pixsell


It is official: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is officially in the race for President of Croatia, elections for which are now likely to occur at the end of this year.
She will run as Croatian Democratic Union’s (HDZ’s) candidate.

The two major presidential candidates come from political centre: Ivo Josipovic (current incumbent/ Social Democrat prior to becoming the president; stems out of former Yugoslavia communist party echelons and Social Democrats membership) on the centre-left and Grabar-Kitarovic (Stems out of HDZ membership/ no communist or any other totalitarian regime ties) on the centre-right.

A leading Croatian newspaper Vecernji List article in its address of Nova TV survey regarding the two candidates writes: “When voters are offered characteristics they mark the president (Ivo Josipovic) as a skillful politician. Then, as decisive and sincere. They also consider him a fighter against corruption, educated and a person who understands the ordinary person. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is a candidate who understands foreign politics and defence. Voters also assess her as a person who is decisive and who is not corrupted. They consider her as a fighter against corruption and sincere.”


As her candidacy was announced Friday, the mentioned survey places Grabar-Kitarovic with almost 38% of voter preference. This figure of approval, while exceedingly rare throughout the world for a first-time candidate, is of monumental significance given that it also serves as a certain proof that Croatian voters are looking for a fresh start, for the future rather than the past.

It’s of note that while the surveyed Croats saw Ivo Josipovic as a fighter against corruption the reality has been that his fight against corruption has employed the tactics of action-evasion as well as lukewarm reactions to cases of corruption before Croatian courts during his presidential mandate. He has failed miserably even at leading a badly needed culture change against corruption in Croatia. He has demonstrated no initiative of note in this area whatsoever. The latest example of Josipovic’s inclination to place a political rather than a purely criminal-act-of-individual label on corruption is seen in his latest moral as well as apparent statutes interpretation transgression. That is, after Croatia’s Supreme court confirmed a guilty verdict against former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader for taking a bribe from Hungarian oil group MOL in exchange for allowing it a dominant position in Croatian oil firm INA, Ivo Josipovic had Saturday 14 June labeled Sanader’s corruption as “high treason”! Suggesting that corrupt actions of individuals (Ivo Sanader) within a nationally important but largely privatised company, such as INA is (which, in the process of privatisation, handed over to the Hungarian MOL the power of decisive majority vote on the company’s affairs), constitutes high treason!

When we look into the relevant legislation in Croatia on criminal acts against the Republic of Croatia, “Penal code” (Kazneni zakon) for “high treason” we find Articles 135 – 155. These Articles are associated with high treason in varying degrees. While a proven treasonous intent in an act of large scale or even violently coloured corruption could perhaps be plucked out of this legislation and remotely possibly launched  or engineered into some indictment for the crime of high treason, none of these Articles refer directly to the “usual” corruption within individual company dealings regardless of how large or significant for the nation a company may be.

Ivo Sanader has been found corrupt and there are no excuses or justifications for these crimes. He deserves all the punishment coming to him. However, by labeling Ivo Sanader’s corruption as high treason, president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, has, to my view, demonstrated a complete disregard of Croatia’s relevant legislation and purposefully used “high treason” label in order to score political points, confuse the masses and provoke the masses into further and biased condemnation of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), to which Sanader belonged and whose candidate Grabar-Kitarovic is.

I am yet to see a journalist, or anyone else for that matter, from Croatia, analysing this latest Josipovic’s terrible transgression. Perhaps Josipovic and his advisory camp relish the fact that the concept of high treason mobilises high emotions against the person labelled so and against those who were around him? But it is wrong, horribly wrong! This lends nothing to a real fight against corruption, or positive results of any such fight. This also points to a conclusion that Josipovic was not, is not, a true fighter against corruption. He was not and is not a fighter against high treason, either – for if he were he would have dealt with the issue of State secrets/documents that were evidently leaked out of Stjepan Mesic’s presidential office between 2000 and 2010!

If the “usual” corruption were grounds for high treason, Croatia (and most countries of the world) would have to impugn nearly every government administration.


If Josipovic considers that corruption in Sanader’s case is high treason, then why did he not say that such is his opinion only but that the country’s laws should be reviewed to bring that opinion into legislation, instead of wrongfully making it sound as a fact under the law? Why did he not initiate such legislative review, as a president should? The answer to this is, as far as I have seen, that Josipovic most often pays aloof lip-services (to gain political points and impress as a person who is doing something about the corruption) to the anti-corruption fighting but in fact fails miserably at initiating or sparking-off the badly needed widespread and culture changes in the fight against corruption in Croatia.

The above Ivo Josipovic transgressions make Grabar-Kitarovic’s presidential candidacy all the more a breath of fresh air in Croatia’s future. Her win would, I believe, for starters seriously dampen the political public agenda of those politicians, NGO’s and organisations in Croatia who form the public left-oriented (communist sympathisers and activists) lynch mob that’s pushing for HDZ’s collective guilt for corruption on the back of Sanader’s guilt. Undoubtedly, sadly, the Croatian public will be seeing more of such injustice and witch hunting in the coming months, as the presidential campaign accelerates. It is, therefore, gladdening to see such significant support for Grabar-Kitarovic in this early stage of the campaign especially when one considers the fact that such support will surely find a way of showing-up this lynch mob’s deceit as deceit, and facts as facts. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)


  1. Reblogged this on mahabatta2012.

  2. Great news.I say good riddance to Josipovic.Thank God for Kolinda as she is intelligent and sane.Blessings

  3. Not only is Josipovic incompetent and aloof when it comes to major issues that needed and need changing in Croatia – he is a sexist! When Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic candidacy was officially announced on Friday he gave sexist remarks such as “I think that it’s very important that besides the picture we have the audio”! Grabar-Kitarovic is indeed a good looking woman and no doubt Josipovic would like to see those features in front of her campaign rather than her skills and know-how, which outshine his any day!

    • Yes, Maslow, I too noticed those reactions after Grabar-Kitarovic candidacy was announced; one could not but notice given the control of the media in Croatia. Josipovic’s remarks are truly pathetic, somewhat like his presidential mandate, I’d say. In his sexist remarks Josipovic most likely referred to the fact that even if Grabar-Kitarovic has not commenced with her official campaign there have been many who have posted her photos and expectations about her possible candidacy. He obviously does not like the fact that her popularity is on a steep upward climb so he resorts to sexist remarks, which is beneath contempt even for a political campaign.

    • Jessamy says:

      Oh dear, dear – it’s not for nothing then that Croats reflecting on Josipovic’s political activities have nicknamed him a “Squid”! He seems to be squirting black ink indiscriminately or, perhaps not – Grabar-Kitarovic is a most worthy candidate in decades.

  4. Wilkinson says:

    QUOTE: “He was not and is not a fighter against high treason, either – for if he were he would have dealt with the issue of State secrets/documents that were evidently leaked out of Stjepan Mesic’s presidential office between 2000 and 2010!” BRAVO INA!

  5. Indeed, if corruption were grounds for high treason there would be so many impeachments of and within government departments, politicians all over the world that we would need another planet to house them all, away from us normal people. I totally agree with you, Ina, Josipovic is using the words high treason or as he said in Croatian “veleizdaja”, to attract more unfounded ill-will and hatred against his political opponents. Shame on him! This is not to defend Ivo Sanader’s corruption – far from it but to use that corruption to incite people into resentment and hatred by comparing it to high treason is worse than the act of corruption!

    • Tide, Even Richard Nixon or anyone associated with Watergate in U.S. were not considered as having committed high treason…nor were any of the operatives in huge financial corruption cases we’ve seen in the last decade, or ever in any countries…but hey, Italy’s Premier Renzi said last week in relation to corruption allegations against the Mayor of Venice: “If it were for me, I’d put a politician probed for corruption under investigation for high treason,” and Croatia’s Josipovic perhaps picked up on that and actually turned Sanader’s corruption into high treason, without any regard to the due process such allegations deserve before making them as facts. To say that Josipovic’s transgression is silly would be do do justice a grave disservice. It’s just awful and inexcusable the way the man plays with serious matters such as due justice.

      • Croatia’s president Ivo Josipovic has clearl;y demonstrated here that he teaches and encourages citizens not to respect or follow the law or due process. He just comes out and calls corruption “high treason” without even suggesting that such a claim must be tried and proved before the courts. What an embarrassment for Croatia!

      • Embarrassing is a mild form of how I would call his actions here, Xiu! Thank you on your comment

  6. Let’s hope that Croatians finally wake up and see Josipovic for what he is – an ineffective, incompetent Yugoslav he needs to be ousted. He has accomplished nothing; what a waste of valuable time! I am sure he has enjoyed the privileges of office though. He and the SDP have squandered our most precious resource – time. How Croatians can even think of a second term for him or/and SDP government is truly beyond comprehension.

    • Let’s hope the voters will lead Croatia into a much better future, without Josipovic, Sunman. Interesting few months ahead

    • Veronika says:

      Indeed Sunman. We forget that he hates Croats. There is nothing remotely patriotic about the man. He is an opportunist who has no issue with demonizing the Homeland War against aggression. How can a country function when it still glorifies the original butcher of the Balkans, Tito? How too can a country function when no one, I repeat no one, has been called to the table about crimes committed during the Communist regime?What Sanader did is corrupt, yes, but what all the Yugoslav’s did before him in terms of robbing the country blind is WORSE, which is why the country was financially in tatters before the war.
      By 1981, then Yugoslavia had more than 19 BILLION in foreign debt. Where was the money? If you travelled there the stores were empty, the infrastructure was crumbling, employment was massive. If you travelled there in the 70s and 80s with Levis jeans or Adidas they considered you a western millionaire because most people, (read: non-Commis), had nothing.
      These criminals should also be dragged into court now.
      Croatia is a country in which former Partisans and Chetniks, the very same people who were killing in WW2, TO THIS DAY, continue to receive army pensions and celebrate their slaughters (See: town of Srb, every summer) !!!!
      Any Domobrani or Ustase getting pensions? Oh right, they were slaughtered at Bleiburg or forced to emigrate.
      Meanwhile under Yugo-sipovic veterans of the 1990s Homeland War are seeing their pensions cut or disappear, they are living hand to mouth, more than 1,200 have committed suicide in despair, they have no work, they are being dragged through the courts on alleged war crimes…I could go on but you know all of this. The government there needs an enema.
      Lustration needs to happen NOW.
      I was hoping someone like a high profile x-military man, a real patriot, like a Gotovina, would run. It would be good for the country because the place needs a ball-breaker and unless Kolinda is an iron lady like Maggie Thatcher…..She will crumble. I will NOT vote for her just because she is a woman, that’s just stupid, and I have never and will never vote for the likes of a Jugosipovic, Milanovic, Mesic, Racan, etc. Funny how that awful Sanader is charged and has his awards taken from him from a man who stands for all that is corrupt and vile in Croatia. Commis putting Commis on trial ! Does no one else see the irony here?

  7. Wow from the name I thought it was the senior old man… Great! A woman leader in office! She might bring some common sense into the office.

    • Common sense and dedication to the nation is what’s needed, Juan – there’s every reason to trust Grabar-Kitarovic will deliver.

  8. Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat™.

  9. Will I or Wont I says:

    I feel sorry for Kolinda. Josipovic is too strong. She should have come in at Josipovic’s second term.

    • This is an adult world, Will I or Wont I, in a situation of providing people with choice and hence, no need to feel sorry for anyone. By your account Croatia doesn’t need presidential elections as Josipovic’s first mandate ends…how ridiculous can you get.

      • Will I or Wont I says:

        Ina, you misunderstood. I didn’t say we dont need presidential elections. In fact if you read my post, I have the upmost respect for Kolinda and she is a quality candidate. But why should she run the risk of getting burnt at this stage of the race when Josipovic is at its strongest? HDZ is cleaning its ranks. I am sure you know this.

      • Well, Will I or Wont I, Croats are well aware that both HDZ and SDP (to which Josipovic belongs in spirit as he shed the membership for presidency) have “cleaning up to do” but that cleaning up has nothing to do with Grabar-Kitarovic and the law says elections are to be held for every mandate – I truly doubt Josipovic is at his strongest regardless of what surveys say – and again, why should the elections not have more candidates than one?

  10. she would be a better and classier president than girly-man
    Ivo! Too bad that Boris Miksic won’t run again!

  11. Will I or Wont I says:

    do you think she has the capacity to change this??? isnt this a governmental thing not a presidential thing???? or is this just cheap hype and?or spin ….

    • No spin there, Will I or Wont I – just simple truth. As the article to which you are commenting states: presidential powers are limited when compared to the governments, however presidential powers are huge in driving changes …

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    I have nominated your blog for the Most Influential Blogger Award.
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  13. Hope they get a good person, whoever it is. Sounds like there is some hope.

  14. I pray the new person has the desire of the people

  15. Hi Ina,
    I’m hoping for your sake that Croatian politicians are better than US ones. To be honest, I was really excited about Obama becoming president of my country. I also liked Hillary. Gone. All gone. Now, I think the main requirement to become president of the US is cold-blooded killer. 🙁

    Truly hope you have better luck with yours.

    Hello Professor,
    I wrote an article and made a companion film to go along with it. It’s a bit of an assignment to get through them. (Not too much of one, but not a causal read.) If you ever find yourself with enough free time to read and watch the film, I’d be interested to know what you think of them. I could do a bit of polishing on the article, but at this point, I’ve had enough. Maybe you know what I mean. Sort of life, A piece of art isn’t so much finished as it is abandoned. 🙂

    Here’s the link:

  16. Reblogged this on idealisticrebel.

  17. This female candidate seems to make many people happy. That is good. Hugs and light, Barbara

  18. Good morning!
    At the World Cup Brazil 2014
    CROATIA Cameroon
    4-0! 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Congratulations and
    Forza CROATIA! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. Good wishes to the new candidate for a win and for good governance. Regards.


  1. […] current president and a future presidential candidate Ivo Josipovic, an SDP loyal and musician, has labeled this corruption as high treason; playing the tune Social Democrats will undoubtedly dance to during his presidential campaign as […]

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