Vol 1, No 23
29 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 20 November 1999
Due to the deteriorating health of President Franjo Tudjman, who has been hospitalised since 1 November, and the fact that elections were not called for 22 December (as Tudjman announced before going to hospital), virtually all campaign-related party activities have ceased, and President Tudjman has been declared "temporarily unable to perform his duties." Since the Croatian Constitution does not mention such a possibility (it only contains a clause for "permanent disability," which means that a President who is declared permanently disabled may not return to his office if his health improves again), the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) decided to initiate the adoption of a special Constitutional Law on the Temporary Disability of the President in Performing His Duties. In a compromise with the HDZ, the "Opposition Six" made its approval of the Law conditional on the date of elections. No agreement was reached, however, and on Wednesday the Sabor's House of Representatives adopted the law with exactly the two-thirds majority (85 votes) necessary to do so.
The Sabor also ruled that it can proclaim laws by itself, without the usual approval of the President. According to this law, in a case of temporary disability, the President of the Republic is replaced by the President of the Sabor. Temporary disability may last 60 days, and is renewable without time limitations. After a proposal by the government, the institution authorised to establish temporary disability is now the Constitutional Court. On Friday, two days after the law was passed, the Constitutional Court declared President Tudjman temporarily disabled from performing his duties, and the Sabor's President, Vlatko Pavletic, was named Acting President. He will be in charge of calling for parliamentary elections, which must take place by the end of January 2000 at the latest.
The President of the ruling party (the HDZ) decided that seven vice-presidents will be in charge of steering the party during the President's illness. The Party's statute does not take into account the possibility of the President's disability, thus the decision was made ad hoc. The vice-presidents are authorised to call for the sessions of the Presidency and will chair them in alphabetical order.
Due to the overall situation in the country, the leaders of the "Opposition Six" parties decided to postpone their visit to the EU and NATO headquarters in Brussels, Ivan Jakovcic of the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) told the reporters on Wednesday.
The Spokesperson for the Organisation for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) Mission to Croatia, Peter Palmer, stated that "it would be very strange and would constitute a precedent in Europe" if the parliamentary elections were to take place between Christmas and the New Year, as speculations in Zagreb suggest. This speculation is based on a statement from the HDZ's Vice-President, Ivic Pasalic, who said that "it would be in the HDZ's interest to carry out the elections as soon as possible."
The most recent public opinion poll, ordered by the International Republican institute (IRI) and carried out by the Puls agency using a sample of 4000 persons, indicated that the most popular politician in Croatia is Mate Granic, the HDZ's Vice-president and Croatian Foreign Minister, who received 71% of the support of those polled. Opposition leaders Ivica Racan and Drazen Budisa came second and third respectively. President Tudjman scored 51%. The most remarkable outcome of the survey was that 67% of the those surveyed believed that it was time for the ruling party to be voted out.
Sasa Cvijetic, 26 November 1999
Copyright (c) 1999 - Central Europe Review and Internet servis, a.s.
All Rights Reserved