Croatian Presidential Elections Race: Intelligence Versus Stupidity

Left: Ivo Josipovic Centre: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Right: Milan Kujundzic

Left: Ivo Josipovic
Centre: Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic
Right: Milan Kujundzic


Considering the three presidential candidates who have so far officially announced their candidacy for the impeding presidential elections planned for 11 January 2015, the current President dr. Ivo Josipovic, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and dr. Milan Kujundzic, the first two started their pre-campaigning in a rather unmethodical and often seemingly sloppy way. Perhaps there was no way but unmethodical in given circumstances when a new candidate is easily characterised by the incumbent’s camp as someone encroaching on ‘their’ territory. Although Josipovic’s current position as president has given him a significant advantage, his recent ‘Kim Jong Un’ style rating has marked some significant declines in the past months, which, of course, speaks volumes about the quality of his competitors. Unlike him, his opponents have the advantage of avoiding being burdened by past bad actions or decisions or vague ideologies while their strongest trump card is that they owe no debts to the intelligence underworld – and, very importantly – no debts to the communist ideology of former Yugoslavia. In addition, they are not struck by a ‘victory at all costs’ cramp; eventual election loss would not represent the ‘end of the world’ to his opponents while to President Josipovic, an election loss would not only be a personal loss but many would also declare his five-year term as preseident – a huge disaster.


Although the latest polls suggest that candidate Grabar-Kitarovic is breathing down the current President’s neck much stronger than dr. Kujundzic, let’s not speculate here as to which one of them will finally manage blowing Josipovic out of the Office of the President at Pantovcak in Zagreb. It’s worth mentioning, though, that dr. Kujundzic appears to be navigating through the campaign confidently and appears relaxed – interestingly, almost completely undisturbed by the Office of the President/Pantovcak/Josipovic – while Grabar-Kitarovic has for months now suffered excessive shelling from him.


For months now the incumbent president of Croatia, Ivo Josipovic, has been slinging dirt and sarcasm – often wrapped up in stupid remarks, malice and sexism – against his opponent Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. He started his snide attacks with a phrase “We have the picture, but no tone” as the media wrote about Grabar-Kitarovic as a possible candidate and she, had kept out of giving interviews or statements, but her popularity and ratings grew to the point where jitters sparked from Josipovic’s eyes and every stupid word he’d utter when referring to her. On her arrival in Croatia, from her NATO post, embarking on a pre-campaign road, Josipovic took to a scandalous route upon which he was to call her “Barbie”. Of course he denied any part in a mysteriously discovered document “Action Plan Barbie” – a step by step recipe by which he was to bring her down as presidential candidate, there was little if any doubt that his campaign quarters weaved that deplorable sexist and misogynous plan.
She was initially introduced to the Croatian public as having left NATO and had returned to Croatia to run for president. It didn’t take long for camp Josipovic to discover that she was in fact still a NATO employee (on unpaid leave) and turn this whole thing during October in public eyes as a “deliberate lie”, calling that wonderfully sincere and just person, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic – a liar. Indeed, she should not have been placed in a position where she ended up having to defend herself from such outrageous accusations by Josipovic. The campaign headquarters together with Grabar-Kitarovic did end up clarifying to the public her employment status with NATO but to my liking, they missed in their rebuttal emphasising enough for Croatia the enormous desirability of a person of Grabar-Kitarovic’s qualifications for the presidency. After all, here is Grabar-Kitarovic, a welcome staff member of an important international organisation (NATO) and there is Josipovic – a failed contender for position as judge of the International Court in the Hague.


It seems that in his fight for a second term, President Josipovic is not the one to ‘calmly wait by the river and watch the bodies of his opponents float by’ as he has taken up some frantic running around Croatia, shoving mileage under his feet and while his lips and mind run busy with stupidity and gaffs that boggle the mind and makes one ask: how in the world did Croatia ever end up with such a snake-in-the-grass for a president? How else would one imagine a man – Josipovic – who at a recent public gathering that also formed a station on the presidential campaign trail, standing next to Grabar-Kitarovic he leaned and warned threateningly: “Hey, be a good girl!” (“Hej, budi dobra!” in Croatian language)


Well, now – we come to Tuesday 11 November when Grabar-Kitarovic revealed her election platform/program at a function in Zagreb that was well covered by the media and supported by hundreds of dignitaries and high public profile citizens.


In her election platform – “For a better Croatia” – speech Grabar Kitarovic vehemently attacked what she claimed was the poor economic and social situation in the country and the current President’s inaction. ( source: TV news, 11.11.2014)
Croatia is in crisis because there is an atmosphere of pessimism, discouragement and lack of imagination… We need new unity, optimism, new ideas,” she stated. She vowed as president to bring down the current government, to save the Croatian people the pain and torture of having to live another year, pending next general elections, in this hopeless state of mismanagement and incompetence.
She pledged among other things to promote rural development, sustainable development, stronger support for researchers, educational reforms and a national development strategy.
On foreign policy, Grabar Kitarovic said she would take an active role. “As co-creator of foreign policy I will insist on a responsible foreign policy that primarily promotes national interests,” she said.

She accused the current President, Ivo Josipovic, of failing to take care of ordinary people’s interests.
He took care of protecting the political interests and positions of the current government, and ignored the common interests of citizens,” Grabar Kitarovic said.
If Ivo Josipovic was a determined and independent President, in this dramatic situation in which the country finds itself, he would roar and expressly demand a government session,” she continued.
Josipovic was later asked what he thought of her election program and he called it a fantasy!
This is not really a program, but a certain fantasy, and its main determinant is ‘hit the President,'” Josipovic said. “What she presented implies the abolition of the government, parliament and local government,” he added.

See what I mean: Josipovic is a stupid, hopeless president. He does not even seem to know what a program or electoral platform is! There is no doubt that what he says is not a program, is actually a program and a superb one at that! It is the program that Croatia needs and great majority want:


Get rid of the incompetent bastards!


Many wonder why Grabar-Kitarovic decided to run for president of the country that is facing bankruptcy, why on earth would one want to leave a top position (NATO) for a lower one (President of a small and economically frail state)? Perhaps the answer lies in patriotism or nostalgia that so easily flourishes in one’s mind and heart when living abroad away from ‘home’. Whichever it is, both are powerful motives and the strongest of foundations for success. There’s that demeanour of intellingence with Grabar-Kitarovic and stupidity with Josipovic. No contest! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Tomislav Karamarko sends message to Croatia’s leftist government: times of comfort and experimenting with Croatia are over

Tomislav Karamarko, President of HDZ Photo: FAH

Tomislav Karamarko has won the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) elections and has become the fourth president of the party since its foundation in 1989

By 5 a.m. Monday morning Karamarko had the votes of 971 delegates and his opponent Milan Kujundzic received 860 votes in the second round.

1845 delegates voted and 11 of these votes were invalid, giving just under 53% of votes for Karamarko.

As the results were announced Karamarko said that with these results the party has demonstrated the desire for change and unity, for the return to a victorious path and for the clearing of a string of affairs left by individuals.

Finally, we’re becoming a real Opposition which will point out all mistakes, but will also support the government when it works in the interests of Croatian people.”

He said that HDZ looks forward to democratisation and invigorating of the party and that special attention will focus on the young and on the war veterans. “War veterans will be at the centre of attention,” he pointed out, promising that they will have a true interlocutor in HDZ because they were the ones who gave most to Croatia.

HDZ must strengthen itself as a party of centre-right. We need to cast out all anomalies and theft from the party …we need to return the party to its roots,” he said.

He emphasised that he will seek unity and energy from the new leadership, adding that “HDZ needs to be returned to Croatia, we need the return of real patriotism because where there is real patriotism, there’s no theft.”

Karamarko sent a message to the leftist government: “times of comfort and experimenting with Croatia are over.

He stated that he will head the Opposition which will sharply defend the national interests of Croatia and if his firm resolve to deal with issues head-on, even the unpopular ones, is anything to go by, Karamarko’s victory speeches will not remain just that, just political rhetoric.

Regardless of opposing opinions about Karamarko circulating in the media, regardless of all sorts of unsavoury malicious attacks and false biographies, one thing is certain: Karamarko is sure to give the governing coalition a good run for their accountability. And, given that Serbs have just elected Tomislav Nikolic, ultranationalist right wing at heart even though he may want the world to think he has transformed into progressive more-EU oriented politics, for their president, Karamarko’s victory as leader of HDZ is a godsend.

Judging from Nikolic’s statements in months past it is now to be seen whether Serbia continues to reconcile with its neighbors and wartime foes, including the former province of Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008. Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s independence. Nikolic has not strayed from his Greater Serbia ideals and I do fear that Croatia needs to brace itself for Nikolic’s path in attempting to justify Serb aggression against Croatia in the early 1990’s, equating the victims with the aggressors.

Washington Post reports: “Nikolic, who narrowly lost two earlier presidential votes to Boris Tadic, claimed to have shifted from being staunchly anti-Western to pro-EU. But that change is widely believed to be a ploy to gain more votes. Nikolic has close ties with Russia and has in the past even envisaged Serbia as a Russian province.

‘Serbia will not stray from its European road,’ Nikolic, a former ultranationalist ally of wartime Serbian leader Milosevic, insisted Sunday. ‘This day is a crossroad for Serbia.’”

The HDZ leadership election results undoubtedly speak volumes of the resolve to change things and to strengthen not only the party but also the nation. Democracy simply cannot function to its best potential if there isn’t a strong opposition government and without decisive changes, without regaining of peoples’ trust, HDZ would simply wither away into insignificance. At the end of the day, HDZ delegates are to be congratulated in their performance at the HDZ General assembly on Sunday where many from the “old” leadership were simply voted out and new blood injected. It was by no means an easy task, I’m sure, for many loyalties had to shed to achieve this. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps.(Syd)

Tomislav Karamarko: A good notch above all new candidates for Croatian Democratic Union leadership

Tomislav Karamarko

The Croatian Democratic Union (CDU) (Hrvatska demokratska zajednica/ HDZ), having been the predominant force in national politics in the two decades since Croatia split from Yugoslavia, has been facing a struggle for leadership after steep parliamentary losses (December 2011) and allegations of corruption of individual former leaders or party dignitaries.

A month after  CDU lost at general elections and its leader Jadranka Kosor was replaced as Prime Minister by Zoran Milanovic of the Social Democratic Party (December 2011), five candidates have emerged to challenge Kosor for CDU party leadership.

Contrary to the view one may form from following the Croatian media, this, of course, is a normal event. Everywhere one looks (in developed democratic societies) electoral defeats are assessed; political parties re-grouped, new programs emerge … Every political party in the democratic world undergoes (or should undergo) a major “SWOT” (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) analysis after a defeat at general elections.

Such a “SWOT” analysis is, I guess, best done as a group “brainstorming” effort within a party/organisation. But, proposals made by individuals are also acceptable and indeed can create a refreshing change if changes within a Party or its programs are needed.

Changes to a political party after electoral defeats are those, should be those that reflect the best interests and needs of the people (voters) within the democratic State.

On January 23rd, CDU announced that presidential elections will be May 20th at the party’s 15th general assembly.

Soon after, Jadranka Kosor had announced her candidacy for re-election as leader (president) of CDU and so had five other members of CDU. The five new candidates are: Marko Karamarko (former minister of internal affairs); Milan Kujundzic (medical doctor), Darko Milinovic (former minister of health); Domagoj Milosevic (former deputy prime minister) and Drago Prgomet (member of CDU central committee).

Most candidates for CDU leadership go about building a public profile of themselves – hoping I guess that the information will flow to party members and translate into votes at the general assembly in May.

Some candidates try to impress by “name dropping” of “world VIP’s” they know or who support them (e.g. Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel) (Kosor), some have announced retirement from politics if they’re not elected (Milinovic), some claim that CDU is sick and needs to be cured and that with the disappearance or weakening of CDU, the Croatian state is also endangered, democracy disappears (Kujundzic), and so on.

Well, there is no way that democracy can disappear from Croatia because it’s well rooted in the political system with many (maybe too many) political parties floating around. CDU as a political movement had made sure of that from the very beginnings of Croatian independence, under the leadership of Franjo Tudjman.

Judging by the fact that there are 6 candidates for its presidency, CDU is in strife.

Change seems imminent if it wants to secure electoral victory for government at the next general elections. Relationships and mechanisms within the party itself don’t interest the public (except members of the party), what interests the public is/ will be: can CDU be a better governing party than the current Kukuriku (Cock-a-doodle-doo) alliance or any other political party/alliance that may emerge as a serious contender at next elections?

Kosor is a “known” quantity and CDU had lost at the general elections miserably, despite her excellent leadership in bringing Croatia to the doorstep of EU membership and not doodling around the fight against organised crime and corruption.

With the dynamic, often confusing and comic commotion created by the mere existence of 6 candidates for the presidency of CDU and the spins the Croatian media churns out on a daily basis, Kosor just might be re-elected. Better the “devil” you know … as the proverb goes. She certainly has the stamina to change CDU internally, give it the facelift it needs in becoming appealing to the electorate again.

From the new 5 candidates for CDU presidency Tomislav Karamarko stands out by miles from the others.

One knows where one stands with Karamarko: he takes his “political” job seriously, dedicates himself in achieving results and outcomes in difficult circumstances – he is a people man.

As police minister he had mounted a determined, hard fight against corruption and organised crime as well as pursuing Communist crimes from WWII and after. He recognised the high importance these issues have to the future well being of the Croatian nation and acted accordingly.

When in February 2011 asked if he had political ambitions Karamarko replied: “Every person who’s within the political sphere must have political ambitions. My ambition is to be useful to this country.”

There are those in Croatia who consider Karamarko too right-wing to be “liked” by EU circles and that as such he would not be accepted.  That’s plain wrong and mere political point scoring. Right-wing political parties, conservatives, are well alive and kicking across the EU and the Western world, even the far-right parties such as the British National Party hold seats in EU Parliament.

One only needs to look at the interactive map produced by the Guardian in UK last year to see how more and more EU countries, faced with economic and immigration problems, are turning conservative.

Croatia needs more of right-wing orientation in order to become stronger as an entity within the international arena, to be recognised as a force that has a great deal to offer and share.

Karamarko now takes this attitude of being useful to his country into his election campaign for the leadership of CDU. For him, CDU is a mere vessel to “deliver the goods” for all the people of Croatia. And that is what a political party must do.

Karamarko freely and with confidence points to his loyalty to Croatian independence, to paths laid down by Franjo Tudjman – free, sovereign, democratic and prosperous nation that upholds the values of the Homeland war and war veterans.

Recently Karamarko was interviewed on Osijek TV about his candidacy for president of CDU and from about 9.00 min on the televised interview above he said:

My main platform: Economic independence is essential for national independence. We have sovereignty, constitutional, legal…  but it should not remain a dead letter on paper … if we’re not going to have economic independence … the program with which I’m coming out in the coming month, month and a half …  is actually called ‘New Croatian Independence’ where I place an accent on entering European Union, how are we going to be in EU?

 Are we going to be swept away because someone is going to buy out our I would say valuable potentials, economic, natural, water, sea and in the end the potentials of our people, or are we ourselves going to make use of them in adequate and useful ways…in the way that we will offer something to the EU and take something from it.

.…and there in that correlation, that co-existence, one sees I would say a good future.

 What I like to say is that we need to enter the EU with a name and a surname.

We cannot enter it as some breakaway part of former Yugoslavia but as authentic Croatian value with diligent quality people we have… look, our people everywhere in the world in EU function fantastically somehow we function the worst in Croatia but, here, Croatia has neared, entered the EU and there is no reason for us not to achieve those standards while protecting our what I call potentials whether they’re human or natural economic

… see what we can offer, Europe needs to see our values, in reality it already has, and that’s why we’re entering into the EU  but we need to protect that we are the ones who inherit the results of this good position of ours, the geostrategic and everything else that are our potentials”.

There’s no sense in beating around the bush: both the CDU and Croatia are in strife. CDU, rightly so, wants to be in government again – as any serious political party does; Croatia is in economic turmoil with alarming downturns and existential fears spreading like wildfire at the grassroots of its growing numbers of unemployed. To top the latter the sense of “everything will be all right, EU will help us” seems to pervade throughout the Croatian society.

No, EU will not help the people – any help from economically embattled EU would only be makeshift, band-aid. Croatian people simply must turn to themselves and overcome the economic strife they’re in, by utilising more their own great people potentials and those of natural and industrial resources.

Tomislav Karamarko’s program, message, is clear on this and if that means his political orientation is palpably to the right, that can only be good, that can only be right, just as it is in the many countries of EU today.

It’s been over a hundred years when in April 1899, in Chicago, Theodore Roosevelt (US conservative/Republican president 1901-1909) said:

Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is justified, for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavor, that we shall ultimately win the goal of true national greatness”.

CDU (HDZ) has seen Croatia through more than a tolerable share of difficulties and tragedies, national and personal. The past twenty years have been unkind to Croatia and yet, it has prevailed. One learns by one’s mistakes, and mistakes are an inherent part of development and growth. CDU will overcome this strife, this test of time where many destructive forces within and without Croatia continue trying to destroy the national pride that has sustained Croatian people through centuries of oppression and hardships. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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