Presidential Candidate Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic Takes The Rudder For Croatia’s Future

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic Sept 2014


She is refreshing, she is intelligent, she is prudent and wise, she is capable and highly skillful in public affairs of local and international dimensions, she is a leader whose paramount interests are those of the people she leads, she is caring and fair, she is hard working, and she is the answer to Croatia’s future! Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic is all that and more – just watch this space and see Croatia turn a new leaf into a better future when she is elected as president of Croatia at the end of this year.

The past few years have seen reigns of destructive incompetence on all fronts of government (Social Democrats led by Zoran Milanovic) and presidential (Ivo Josipovic) roles, catastrophic political and social divisions, an unsettling and distressing decline in living standards of multitudes as poverty and unemployment spread like an epidemic whose outcome can only be the country’s bankruptcy – unless a new president takes the rudder!

At this stage there are two candidates in the race for the Office of the President of Croatia – the incumbent Ivo Josipovic and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. There may be others in weeks to come, however they’d do a great service to Croatia if they held back this time around and allow programs for Croatia’s future rather than personalities decide.

Generally, a candidate is either a leader or a ponderous professor, a man/woman of the people or an elitist, the real deal or a phony.

Croatia has had an elitist, a ponderous professor and a phony in the Office of the President this past mandate. Nothing of substance that would help Croatia move forward with democracy, corruption fighting, economic recovery … that Josipovic had promised during his 2010 campaign has been delivered. That makes him a phony in my books. Of course he may also have acted and is acting in the interests of the League of Communists that did not want an independent Croatia in the first place – which, of course, is the opinion prevailing among much of the Croatian disillusioned and significantly embittered public.

Having just wrapped up her very successful mandate as NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Grabar-Kitarovic has kicked off into the presidential elections campaign mode with an appearance in the popular and sought after TV talkback show Bujica on Monday 15th September, only to travel the very next day to Medjugorje (Bosnia and Herzegovina) to greet the US Open champion Marin Cilic and congratulate him on his success as well as to express her gratitude to him for being such a strong and revered advocate for Croatian people and their good name in the world.

From that TV interview Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic we learn much of what we must look for in a president: we learn what she believes in; we learn that she can set priorities for the country and that she has candour to say it all out loud – and we know by her past working record that she has the skills necessary to follow through on her election promises and translate her position on issues into policy. The people will recognise this.

Here’s an excerpt of that TV Bujica interview translated into English:

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic: “…How would stable states who expect predictability from us look at us? How will investors who will say ‘OK, how are we to invest in Croatia when they change the Constitution every so often, let alone so many laws and regulations that are regulated or deregulated’ look at us?… At this moment when the country is in a catastrophic situation, when the state regretfully finds itself at the brink of bankruptcy, to speak of Constitutional changes (As Josipovic is) is out of place.

The Constitution is not to blame for the state Croatia is finding itself in, the incompetent government is to blame for this state and in this, the President, Mr Ivo Josipovic, is complicit, he shares the blame because he relentlessly keeps quiet all these years, does not call the government to account, does not question what the government does nor does he request it to give accounts to him. In that sense he does not use his Constitutional powers and his public views regarding the Croatian economy, in general, in reality do not match the reality.

…The fact that the President and the Prime Minister are not on speaking terms is a catastrophe…because with that there is neither agreement nor consensus in relation to fundamental questions of foreign affairs, of economic politics and everything else. But what is more dangerous is the thesis inversion in that the said lack of communication between them is interpreted in the way that suggests that Mr Josipovic is independent of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), as opposed to me who is being connected with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), the political party I have never given up, but of course as a president of the country I would be the president of all citizens and step out from political party, however, the fact that Mr Josipovic doesn’t speak to SDP is a result of his fear that SDP might not put him up as a candidate for the coming five years because the whole of this 5 year mandate was geared at another five years as some kind of inherited right. But to be elected one must get elected on the basis of results that need to be demonstrated and on the basis of a program. For him to be able to do anything he must, before anything else, be able to speak to Milanovic, sometimes bang his fist against a table, and say it cannot go like this any more, call a meeting of the government – he can do that under the constitutional powers of a president, impose an agenda, impose public debates and talk about the real problems in Croatia in these times, as we said economic crisis, the youth leaving the country, even the material state of the defence force let alone about Croatia’s foreign politics…

The reason why I want to be the president is because of the people and this state …we have the duty to worry not about our personal ratings but worry about the country and the people … we have achieved so much, yet in the past few years we are literally falling apart …

I’m against any kind of divisions in society – one of the fundamental goals of my presidency will be reconciliation, reconciliation of the people, the society, today we are divided as society more than ever before, now we need to take Croatia into a better future, we need to focus on existential questions, I cannot tolerate seeing people rummaging through garbage …as you know I was recently criticised with cynicism regarding the plastic bags with food and clothes I said I leave outside the bins for people to take…it pains me deeply to see that this was looked upon with ridicule because that means that part of this society has grown a hard-skin against poverty around us, that the poverty goes unnoticed… foreigners coming to Croatia see that and regardless from what reasons people open garbage bins, food, bottles, clothing…that is something that we must solve…

And there is the sin of us politicians from turning the attention to questions or discussions that are not essential for the people or the future of this country, we must concentrate on the welfare of people, how to open new jobs, today people in Croatia are interested in, firstly, do I have a job, if I have a job am I getting paid for it, and thirdly, is that wage adequate for my existence – feed the family, educate the children, to make it possible for my children to remain in Croatia. I want my children to return here but regretfully we see more and more educated young people leave Croatia and watch the Croatian intelligence contribute to the development of others.

As the president, I’m planning to be a stateswoman, not a politician.

The first thing I will do when I become president, if people give me that trust, is to reduce the costs of office of the president, I will rationalise, I have a basis for this, my administration in NATO had about 126 people, I reduced it to about 90 people, so I reduced the administration but at the same time I increased its efficacy, modernised the work, simplified the structures introduced collaboration across the whole of the administration …

And I say – well done and Croatia needs you as its next president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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