Vol 1, No 22
22 November 1999
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 13 November 1999
The spokesperson for the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Ivica Ropus, told reporters on Friday it was probable that President Tudjman would call for elections to the Sabor's House of Representatives by Saturday - the legal deadline to call for elections if they are to take place on December 22, which is the date previously announced by the President before he went into the hospital. That would put an end to speculations about a constitutional crisis and the date of the elections, said Ropus. The elections will be postponed in the event that President Tudjman is unable to sign the corresponding decree, but Ropus added that the elections would be held within the constitutional deadline of 27 January 2000.
The Deputy Speaker of the Sabor and HDZ member, Vladimir Seks, announced on Friday the possibility of passing a special law or an amendment to the Constitution regarding the temporary disability of the President of the Republic to perform his duties. The Constitution currently provides only for the permanent disability of the President. The notion of a temporary disability amendment envisages the Sabor Speaker acting as President of the Republic and entitled to call for elections and proclaim laws adopted by the House of Representatives.
The leaders of the "Opposition Six" parties stated on Tuesday that they would abandon the idea of visiting the EU and NATO institutions in Brussels later this month only if President Tudjman's condition further deteriorated. "We have already accepted the European Commissionís invitation to come to Brussels on 24 and 25 November, and we do not want to change this position unless there is a very serious reason," the opposition co-ordinator Ivica Racan told reporters.
Leaders of two main opposition parties, Social Democratic Party (SDP) member Ivica Racan and Croatian Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) member Drazen Budisa, stated that they would not announce the names of their electoral candidates before the elections were officially called for. "We do not want to discuss these issues considering the circumstances that have arisen due to the President's illness," explained Racan.
Presiding Judge of the Supreme Court Marijan Ramuscak was appointed President of the Central Electoral Commission, consisting of five members and five deputies.
Seven Croatian opposition parties signed the Convention on Public Television, envisioned by the Croatian Journalist Association (HND) and "Forum 21" (its sub-group for the democratisation of electronic media). This Convention should serve as a model for the restructuring of Croatian Radio and Television into a public- (rather than state-) owned television station after the opposition's possible victory at elections.
Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa represented Croatia at the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) summit in Istanbul, Turkey last week, in place of President Tudjman. Addressing the summit plenary session, Matesa expressed a wish for changes in the mandate of the OSCE Mission to Croatia and an adjustment of its activities to fit the actual situation in Croatia. He advocated new objectives, such as a dialogue of experts, aimed at the "fine tuning of legislation, the strengthening of democratic institutions and the further development of confidence-building measures."
Paul Risley, spokesperson for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), announced that the Tribunal rejected Croatia's complaints about the jurisdiction over the crimes committed during operations "Storm" and "Flash," and will proceed with the investigation in spite of the Croatian government's opposition.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who visited Zagreb last weekend, explained the Hungarian policy toward Croatia, which has often been criticised by EU institutions for being "too close." Orban reiterated Hungary's standpoint that Croatia is a strategic partner for Hungary and that he saw no reasons why the two countries should not co-operate as closely as possible.
Sasa Cvijetic, 19 November 1999
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