The presidential candidate of the Alliance for Croatia, dr. Milan Kujundzic, on Sunday 30 November 2014 presented his election platform “The New Croatia”, which at first glance appears rather ambitious and with the high-spirited zeal for change one found way back in 1990 when Croatia decided to secede from Communist Yugoslavia:
• New Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (constitution that would state that Croatia is founded on the 1991-1995 Homeland War [as opposed to outdated and irrelevant WWII and post WWII antifascism] and with the National slogan ”SVE ZA HRVATSKU, HRVATSKU NI ZA ŠTO”/ “Everything For Croatia…” under which dr Franjo Tudjman in the early 1990’s led Croatia into independence and territorial integrity
• New Electoral System (Preferential voting, voting for candidates by name)
• New Public Administration and Internal Regional Restructure
• New Foreign Politics
• New Regional Politics
• New Strategy for National Security
• New Economic and Social Politics
• New Energy Politics
• New Demographic Renewal
• New Reconciliation and Truth (it’s the duty and responsibility of the State to research all the crimes of totalitarian regimes, but not with the aim of emphasising old divisions or equating in historical sense the victim with the perpetrator, but to the contrary, that is, so that we could finally leave the history behind us and go forth into the future.)
Even though he advocates that the number of ministries be reduced, he said that one of his first moves, if elected President, would be to establish a ministry for Croats living outside Croatia. Whether Croatia needs a whole ministry dedicated to Croats living abroad might be a moot point with many, however, the truth is that much needs to be done in this area in Croatia, particularly in educating Croats living in Croatia about Croats living abroad and about the truth of their life in “exile” – whether voluntary or forced, whether political or economic. Croatian diaspora in times of Franjo Tudjman during the Homeland war was one with Croatia and that should be nurtured with special attention to the benefit of all.
As for demographic revival, Kujundzic said that he did not support bans, but was rather for making it easier for women to decide to have children, including by making sure that day-care and education was available to every child.
He said that one of his first moves, if elected President, would be to use his powers to implement his platform, which he described as a plan for saving Croatia from a complete economic, social and moral collapse.
Kujundzic also said that the country’s biggest problem was a low birth rate and brain-drain.
Current president and presidential candidate, Ivo Josipovic made the statement during a meeting with citizens in Zagreb’s Maksimir Park, when asked by reporters to comment on the election platform of one of his rivals, Milan Kujundzic, who said that there was no longer any need to state in the preamble of the constitution the state’s foundations from the more distant past, including the Anti-fascist Council for the National Liberation of Croatia (ZAVNOH), and that the country’s statehood was founded on the Homeland War.
“I would not comment on his platform… I would only like to say that the Constitution already mentions the Homeland War; so nothing new would be added to the Constitution. As for anti-fascism – it is a historical achievement of the Croatian state and it will remain in the Constitution forever, just as the Homeland War, the direct foundation of our statehood, will,” said Josipovic.
Definitely, Josipovic denies the power of democracy by saying “it (antifascism) will remain in the Constitution forever”! But then again, he is of communist totalitarian stock who think that people power is unimportant when it comes to constitutional changes. No use wasting a breath on this pathetic statement.
But, Ivo Josipovic also proposes constitutional amendments in his presidential election campaign. He is proposing that citizens be enabled to initiate a parliamentary debate on any issue if they collect 10,000 signatures for such a petition. Kujundzic’s plans for constitutional changes also entertain the facility of “easy” access to referendums on important questions by citizens who collect enough signatures.
Presidential candidate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic commented on these plans for constitutional changes and said firmly that “Croatia is not in a constitutional crisis, but an economic one”!
Amen to that!
While it may be that Kujundzic and Josipovic think that by changing the constitution with view to including individual citizen’s rights to instigate parliamentary debate or referendums with relative ease and minimal “red tape” (which painstakingly exists now) and, therefore, increasing direct participation of citizens in political decision making, the fact is that in a democracy, if it functions properly, every citizen can instigate parliamentary debate via his/her representative etc. In other words, having something written in the constitution does not guarantee it will translate into practice – democracy is lived in everyday lives and it is up to the government to ensure this is enabled and politicians must think democratically, not simply ensure democracy is on paper.
The problem with parliamentary representatives and political authorities in Croatia is that they in overwhelming number of cases still fail to act as servants of the public, of their constituents. This of course is a mind set that belongs to the concept of “political elitism” which seems to be accepted in Croatia as “fait accompli” with roots probably strengthened during half a century of totalitarian communist rule in Yugoslavia. This is wrong and must be demolished if power is to shift to the people; no amount of changes to the constitution alone will change this.
While Milan Kujundzic’s election platform announces sweeping changes in almost every aspect of public administration or governance, which may indeed be needed, it would seem that such a seemingly “radical” election platform in dire economic, existential and low living standard circumstances may scare off rather than attract voters.
The coming week will tell us how many presidential candidates will officially enter the race to the high office as candidates collect at least 10,000 signatures each to qualify. The first round of voting will be on Sunday 28 December 2014! What miserable and mean-spirited individual came up with that date!? Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)