Croatian Presidential Elections Set Dead-Heat Conditions For January Run-off

Photo: Screenshot from Croatian Electoral Commission website accessed 29 Dec 2014

Photo: Screenshot from Croatian
Electoral Commission website
accessed 29 Dec 2014


The Social Democrat and left wing coalition backed incumbent, Ivo Josipovic, and the conservative rival backed by the Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and its coalition, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, are heading for a showdown in a run-off presidential election on January 11 in Croatia. The latest unofficial results published (1.00 a.m. on 29 December Croatia time) by the Croatian Electoral Commission, with 99.89% votes counted, place Ivo Josipovic at 38.48%, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at 37.18%, Ivan Sincic at 16.43% and Milan Kujundzic at 6.30% of votes counted. With such close results it seems impossible to predict the winner among the top two candidates at the second round elections on January 11, which must be held given that no candidate passed the 50% mark in first round held on 28 December.

The voter turnout at around 47% or 1,786,670 can be considered as large, however notably lower than in elections held during the era of  Franjo Tudjman in 1990’s and somewhat lower than in last elections of 2009/10. One polling place was closed due to weather conditions and serious snow-blizzards. Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic led in 13 districts with Croatia and in the diaspora while Ivo Josipovic led in 7 districts and the city of Zagreb. Croatian media reports that the biggest surprise in this first round of elections is the higher than expected voter confidence given to Ivan Sincic, a Eurosceptic, but also, lower than expected given to Milan Kujundzic, right-wing politician.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic at post-election gathering in Zagreb Photo:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
at post-election gathering in Zagreb


Grabar-Kitarovic, assistant secretary general for the NATO on leave without pay, and a former foreign minister of Croatia, has throughout her campaign called for closer cooperation with the government on economic issues and often reiterated the role of the President to hold the government to account, the role at which Josipovic has failed miserably during his current mandate as President of Croatia.

Croatian news agency HINA reported that soon after the announcement of the above unofficial results Grabar-Kitarovic congratulated all the candidates, especially Milan Kujundzic and Ivan Sincic and turned to “Josipovic voters” telling them that they too are a part of her program “For a Better Croatia”:
You and the whole of Croatia deserve a better and a more prosperous Croatia that believes in its own resources and in its own people,” she said and pointed out that the voters who gave their votes to Kujundzic and Sincic have shown that they want a better and a more just Croatia that cares about every single person. She said that there will be no more divisions into “ours and theirs” after 11 January and the togetherness championed by Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman in 1990’s will be revived.

Ivo Josipovic at post-election gathering in Zagreb 28 Dec 2014 Photo: Screenshot

Ivo Josipovic at post-election
gathering in Zagreb 28 Dec 2014
Photo: Screenshot

Soon after the unofficial election results were published Ivo Josipovic also addressed the Croatian citizens saying that he won in the first round and will win in the second.

“…We have won because my program offers a different Croatia to the one we have today, it offers one with more democracy, with more human rights, the one that opens new perspectives and the one that builds the economy which will not have so many unemployed, and the one in which the traditions and the values of Croatian society will be respected,” he said.

He emphasised that the motto of his politics is justice! And yet, he has the gall to brand all members of his opposition as those who have thieved Croatia even though only a handful of individual past HDZ government leaders/government functionaries have been indicted or brought to justice for corruption and – even though a handful of Social Democrat aligned politicians are currently entangled in court proceedings for corruption or investigations for corruption!

The man and the politician – Josipovic – is a joke! He tries to reassure the public of justice and yet in this important case he blatantly practices – none!

He is a lawyer by trade and yet paints everyone in an organisation guilty of acts secretly committed only by one or few!

And one must ask: what in the world has Josipovic been doing the past five years as President if only now he promises justice and greater human rights and more employment…? He did, after all, base his 2010 campaign on the same slogan “Justice for Croatia”!

The coming two weeks are bound to shape the results of showdown run-off second round voting 11 January. The results between the two leading candidates are too close and the scales could tip over either way. Depending on how strong the need for change is etched on voters’ minds and hearts. Josipovic’s 38.48% first round result certainly suggests that the need for change is strong as it is actually this need for change in Croatian leadership that is the first round winner – not Josipovic, as he would like to think. While Stjepan Mesic (ex-president) has said during Josipovic’s post-vote gathering that Sincic “can freely ask his voters to support Josipovic in the second round” one wonders as to how much a single candidate or two (Sincic/Kujundzic) can actually influence the decisive vote on 11 January. By all indications these Croatian voters are voters for change, non-aligned with the two top candidates (Josipovic and Grabar-Kitarovic) in the first round of voting and it will be up to the candidates to convince these “runaway” voters to vote to their advantage. Indeed, a strong impetus must be maintained in order to encourage these voters to vote at all.

When it comes to voters living abroad, the diaspora, there is no doubt that both Stjepan Mesic and Ivo Josipovic have managed to solidify the atrocious situation in which the right to vote has been alarmingly diminished by the reduction of the number of polling places where émigrés can vote. The polling places have been limited to diplomatic-consular missions’ addresses and this has resulted in the sad and enraging effects where diplomatic-consular staff are/were unwilling to ensure fair access to polling places by organising more than one in a country or state (depending on the number of missions). As there is no postal or electronic voting, the majority of those with a right to vote have been kept out of voting – it was only during the times of Franjo Tudjman, 1990’s, that polling places for all elections for Croatia (parliamentary and presidential) were organised in optimally adequate places accessible to a greater majority of voters, e.g. Clubs or other organisations where émigrés largely gravitated to. After that time, the Croatian diplomatic-consular missions across the world had ensured that the number of polling places was reduced to an absolute minimum and thus, not at all reasonably or fairly accessible to most. One of the President’s key roles is associated with decisions regarding the operational matters of diplomatic-consular missions abroad – and here too Josipovic has failed those Croatians citizens abroad! He talks of justice and rights but so easily takes, obstructs or minimises both! What is even worse is that polling places in the diaspora are construed as matters of state authorities rather than a matter of the Electoral Commission, which in legal terms is an independent (of government or presidency) body.  Croatian democracy, if it’s to survive and evolve further, is so desperately ready for change in leadership! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatian Presidential Elections: Cream Always Rises To The Top

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (right) Tomislav Karamarko (left/ president HDZ) Photo: Davor Puklavec/Pixsell

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (right)
Tomislav Karamarko (left/ president HDZ)
Photo: Davor Puklavec/Pixsell

The time to hand in citizens’ signatures supporting individual candidates for the presidential elections expired midnight Saturday 6 December.


Seven candidates may be yet confirmed as running in the elections to be held December 28. The Croatian Electoral office received bundles/boxes of original signatures sheets from:

Kolinda Grabar, Kitarovic (Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ and its coalition parties) – 328,683 signatures;

Ivo Josipovic (current president backed by Social Democrats and their coalition parties) – 203.875 signatures;

Miland Kujundzic (Croatian Dawn/Alliance for Croatia coalition) – 50,000 signatures;


Ivan Vilibor Sincic (from “Living Wall” citizens’ organization that attempts stopping tenancy eviction orders as per defaults on bank loan repayments) – 15, 200 signatures. Sincic said that the political parties to which other candidates belong have done nothing for Croatia in the past 25 years. He emphasized that his election platform is founded on cancelling all privatization and the “return of the stolen”, on the lustration of war profiteers and failed politicians, changes to Debt Payment Enforcement Act, a stop to all current eviction orders and a return to Croatia’s monetary sovereignty.


Ivan Vilibor Sincic Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

Ivan Vilibor Sincic
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

There are three more candidates who may qualify yet as the numbers of signatures they claim they have lodged have not yet been verified. They are:

Slobodan Midzic – did not hand in sheets with signatures but unlike the other candidates he handed in a CD on which he said there were more than 500,000 signatures. Given that he failed to hand in to the Electoral office a certification of a specific campaign funds bank account he was warned he was in breach of electoral procedures and would most likely be fined, however he did not withdraw from candidacy. Midzic is an engineer from Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina who also ran, unsuccessfully, in these elections 5 years ago – reportedly a nostalgic for former Yugoslavia whose ballot paper for last parliamentary elections in Croatia was struck off as invalid – it had the Communist Alliance as his nominator;

Ratko Dobrovic and Ivan Bavcevic – both independent.

We have collected more signatures than any other candidate has in the history of signature-collection for presidential candidacies in Croatia. We are in for a campaign for a better Croatia, a modern, self-confident, patriotic, strong country, and since we have collected this many signatures of support, I expect an election victory,” Grabar Kitarovic said after handing over the boxes with signature sheets.

She said that during her campaign she would explain to citizens what she could offer them – life in a better Croatia, economic growth, social stability, rule of law, national security and defence, and international acknowledgement.


Ivo Josipovic (Left) with Zoran Milanovic (right/Prime Minister) Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

Ivo Josipovic (Left) with
Zoran Milanovic (right/Prime Minister)
Photo: Jurica Galoic/Pixsell

Ivo Josipovic, the current president of Croatia and a candidate at the coming elections said on Saturday in Zagreb at the handing over of signatures ceremony: “We have collected 203,875 valid signatures and I thank all citizens who gave their signatures for my candidacy and I also thank the parties that back my candidacy”.


Milan Kujundzic (Centre) Photo:

Milan Kujundzic (Centre)


Milan Kujundzic said at handing over of signatures ceremony: “ No one should stay at home and not vote. Let everyone vote in accordance with their own conscience and if they think that this which we have now is good let them vote for the existing. If they this this what we have should be changed let them vote for those who have freedom, credibility and the resolve to do everything they are promising, and not say one thing and then do another… Croatian people must choose whether they want the same people who have done this (brought Croatia to a brink of an abyss) or whether they want a new Croatia and a bright and prospective Croatia.


The reported numbers of signatures collected for the individual candidates strongly place Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in front of all the other candidates and could well mean that she has distinguished herself from others and is noticed as the leading candidate. While various polls, which one can take or leave particularly because they’re always taken from a limited and small “slice” of voter body, place her as runner-up to Josipovic the collection of signatures certainly represents a significant slice from the body of about 3.5 million voters. A cynic may argue that her campaign quarters have perhaps worked harder than any other at collecting signatures but that argument can only work in her favour because it shows ardent determination to succeed, to make a difference for Croatia. If one works hard to secure a job then one can expect one will work hard in that job. Nothing is, therefore, taken for granted and it’s through hard work such as this, backed up by the consistency of her policies to make Croatia a better place to live in that seems to have made her name rise to the top of the candidates’ list.

Whether the number of signatures in support of candidacy will translate into actual votes is at this stage a result impossible to predict with certainty. Much work paves the road to the 28th of December and it disappoints greatly that, once again, there will be no postal voting, no electronic voting and Croats living abroad are once again discriminated against. It is virtually impossible for most to make a trip to even the nearest Croatian consular office/polling place. To make matters worse, all voters living abroad need to register by 17 December to vote on the 28th December (First round) or 11th January (Second round), even those who do not have a address of abode in Croatia and who in previous elections could simply turn up at polling place on election day and vote. For all those living abroad and wishing to vote please register by the 17th and to make matters easier for you I have uploaded the Form you need to fill in (wherever you are in the world) and send it off to your nearest Croatian consular service office and do not forget to attach a photocopy of you ID document if you are lodging the registration to vote form via email, fax or post and not doing it in person. Your closest diplomatic-consular office can be searched at . Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)




Presidential Candidate Wants A New Croatia

Milan Kujundzic Photo:

Milan Kujundzic

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.

Ivo Josipovic

Ivo Josipovic

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.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic

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)


Voters living abroad can realise their voting right if BY WEDNESDAY 17th December 2014 they lodge an application for active registration or an application for prior registration. These can be lodged at the Croatian Consulates either in person, by post, email or telephone. There is a prescribed Form to be filled in. Ask for it at the consulate or download from Forms must be signed and one must attach a photocopy of a valid ID document (e.g. passport, ID Card…). One needs to register to vote for the First Round and/ Second Round or both Rounds of voting (Second Round will be held on 11 January 2015. See for further information

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