Croatia's ruling conservatives to analyze loss of presidency


And Croatia's former Prime Minister Zoran on Novic won his country's presidential elections this weekend. The center-left candidate beat the defending center-right incumbent Kalinda grubber Qatar in a second-round round runoff. Mr Milinovic takes the reins just as Croatia takes on the rotating presidency of the European Union at the time of huge change within the EU. So so how will he manageable. This Guy Delone ISM is multiples Balkans correspondent and I'm delighted to say. He joins me on the line now. A guy a very warm welcome. Tell us about this new the president that Croatia has yeah. He's not exactly a newcomer to Croatian politics. He's not a fresh face by any means. He was actually Prime Minister for five years between twenty one ten and two thousand fifteen when he was at that point the leader of the Social Democrat Party And he was emptied out in two thousand fifteen hundred along with his government. Ostensibly I think because he the Presided over the bulk of never ending recession and it lasted for six years this recession. Although he was at pains to point out during the presidential debate that during during his last quarter in power as prime minister of Croatia had started to grow again economically speaking. You know you described him. As centre-left you describe. Kalinda Gra Qatada which is as a centre right. These things are all relative in Croatian politics. you you have both sides appealing at these nationalist tendencies save which have still existed even despite the fact that Croatia achieved its independence during the homeland war of the Nineteen Ninety S. They still think it's A. It's a winner to to drum up nationalist rhetoric. And we certainly saw Mr Milosevic and also script Qatada Mitch doing that during the campaign. Indeed I mean many people were quite surprised the fact that Kalinda grab architectural which has lost the election given the fact that she was extremely popular in so many ways. And also talking about the populist and nationalist point of view many remember her the World Cup final in two thousand eighteen when she was closing cozying up Vladimir Putin. And that's quite a statement to make who can forget those scenes When Kalinda quarterback Catava gloriously decked out in the checkable Jersey of of of Croatia during the World Cup final? As I recall she didn't have an umbrella but some I'm funky was holding an umbrella over over Putin's had but she looks absolutely delighted with the fact Croatia we're in the final and creations enjoyed the fact that not only their country's footballers footballer's but also their country's head of state regaining such an international profile. And you saw many profiles of Qatada in the international press after after that she certainly gained international attention and that was a big boost to her personal popularity For a long while and for much of last year you would have said that she'd be a shoo-in career election because you've really got to do something hitting quite unfortunate in order to lose the presidency and Croatia because it isn't a role the tolls a lot of executive power by any means means it's really a figurehead slash ceremonial role. But she made some missteps. And I think the key one among them was she made some sort of alliance with the mayor of Zagreb Millan Bandage Pitch. Who is currently on trial for corruption? Not the first time that's happened to him and needs to be said. And if there's one thing that voters in Croatia a sensitive about it's the idea idea of politicians troughing it at their expense and that seems to be in the biggest misstep which hit her popularity that she was in second place in in the first round of this. The presidential election to Mr Milosevic many people thought hoover up the right wing votes in in the second round. But it seems that wasn't the case against Milosevic assuming the presidency and a k next month I think as you said the largely ceremonial role but he does have influence when it comes to foreign policy and defense and security plus last Wednesday. Croatia took up the reins in terms of being the The EU presidency. It's assumed the six-month rotating position and has described itself. Is it being a historic event CRATIA and the most difficult test of its maturity since independence. That's an enormous job. I think that's actually Ahah comment because the issue we've seen had highlighted during the presidential campaign is the two candidates still hawking back to the nineteen ninety s and there was a think tank here in Slovenia which was looking at the issue and it said that the the both candidates were trying to prove which was the biggest Croat. And that's that's rather problematic when you think this is now almost thirty years on from the country's independence it's twenty five years on from the end of the homeland wars. They call it in Croatia unless still trying to prove who's more Croat than the other. The country needs to move beyond that and taking on the presidency of the European Union. Even if it's only for six months is a chance to show that it can be bigger than that and it does have an excellent opportunity to show that it can put all of these ethnic and regional squabbles. Behind it because of course the question of the expansion of the European Union into the Western Balkans is a really big live issue. Both Serbia and Montenegro are in membership negotiations. Albania north Macedonia would dearly like to be and would be were it not for manual macron. Vetoing them a couple of months ago so Croatia really doesn't have an opportunity here to stand up and say it'll be better for all of us in this region and in Europe as a whole if we he gets on the right track with these negotiations. This is the K. Isn't it guy the fact that when you do assume the EU presidency. You almost have to put your national interest to one side and thinking linkin terms of the greater good of the block. How capable do you think Croatia will be in trying this this task given the fact that it's issues of populism listen? Nationalism Migration border control a such a sticky issue for them. I don't want to make Zora Milosevic out to be an angel. He isn't he's he said. A nasty things about Serbia. Bosnia and Croatia has been locked in a border dispute with Slovenia a decades now However the fact that people wanted to vote for him him who is as we settle sensibly centre-left rather than Kalinda robot Qatada? He was supported by a right-wing Nationalist Party the party which founded Croatia the HD Zad that may be indicates that the voters think that they need to do something else. Now that this would be optimistic slammed on this it has to be said but perhaps people are thinking well. It is now time to move beyond that. The the arguments the politics and the ethnic arguments of the nineteen ninety s and try something different so so she would be optimistic in the New Year to think of Croatia moving in that direction. Why not thank you very much? Indeed guide

Coming up next