Central Europe Review: politics, society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 1, No 24
6 December 1999

Croatia News Review C E N T R A L   E U R O P E A N   N E W S:
News Review for Croatia
All the important news from Croatia
since 27 November 1999

Sasa Cvijetic

On Saturday, 27 November, one day after he temporarily took over the duties of the President of the Republic, Sabor (Parliament) Speaker Vlatko Pavletic called for parliamentary elections to take place on Monday, 3 January 2000. Especially for that purpose, that Monday will be declared a non-working day.

The "Opposition Six" strongly protested Pavletic’s decision on the date of elections, calling it "an offence to Croatian citizens" and "opposed to democratic European traditions." The co-ordinator of the six opposition parties, Ivica Racan of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), stated that this decision is contrary to the citizens’ right to have free and fair elections. However, he invited all citizens to take part in the elections so they can "say clearly what they think about the policies of the ruling party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)."

The presidents of the "Opposition Six" parties signed a declaration which binds them to form a government together and revise privatisation should they win the upcoming elections. In this Declaration, the six parties also announced that they would run the elections in two blocks - the SDP and the Croatian Social and Liberal Party (HSLS) will make up one block, while the Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS), the Liberal Party (LS), the Croatian People's Party (HNS) and the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS) will constitute the other block. According to the declaration, they will not form a coalition with the ruling HDZ. If the "Opposition Six" wins the election, they will dismiss the semi-presidential system and strengthen the role of the parliament and de-politicise the armed forces and the police.

At a press conference, Vice-President of the HDZ Vladimir Seks called this Declaration "undemocratic, anti-European and impolite." "It is an expression of the lack of concordance within the opposition parties," Seks claimed. He also added that it was not yet known whether President Tudjman (who is still undergoing medical treatment in hospital) will be the first name on the HDZ’s rosters.

The ruling HDZ announced its candidates for the posts in the future government. Nikica Valentic, former Prime Minister and vice-president of the party, is the HDZ’s candidate for the Prime Minister’s post, Vladimir Seks, currently Deputy Speaker of the Sabor would become Speaker and Mate Granic would (most probably) be the party’s candidate at the presidential elections. Ivic Pasalic would be a candidate for the party leadership.

The Constitutional Court on Thursday appointed members of the Ethical Commission for Supervision of the Elections. In pursuance with the new Law on Elections to the Parliament, this commission consists of six members, who are selected by the ruling and opposition parties, according to their representation in the Parliament. The chairman of this Commission is ex offitio the President of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ivo Padovan. The Constitutional Court also appointed a special council in charge of resolving legal disputes concerning the elections. The vice-president of the Constitutional Court, Jurica Malcic, has been appointed the chairman of that Council.

On two consecutive days, Sabor Speaker and Acting President of the Republic Vlatko Pavletic received Interior Minister Ivan Penic and Defence Minister Pavao Miljavac, who informed him of the current situation in the police and armed forces. While Interior Minister Penic informed Pavletic about a recent police action which resulted in the arrest of 10 persons from organised crime circles, Defence Minister Miljavac told reporters after the meeting that the army wouls not transgress its constitutional obligations, both in the pre- and post-election periods, and would perform its tasks, respecting the chain of command and fully respecting the results of the parliamentary elections.

Sasa Cvijetic, 5 December 1999



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