President says isn't worried about election but lack of continuity

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Sunday it was not unusual that a new parliamentary election, which she will likely call for September 11, would be held in a short time, but voiced concern about a  lack of continuity between Croatian governments.

Croatia still doesn't have a sufficiently professionalised state administration and state development strategy. It is a stable state but is stagnating because of a lack of reforms, which is why everything depends on the political leadership, and that's not good, the president said on N1 television.

She reiterated that she was inclined towards calling the early parliamentary polls for September 11 but said she would decide after consultations. The previous election was held last November.

Asked if the caretaker government was authorised to carry out decisions, she said all procedures were launched before the government was given a vote of no confidence and could therefore continue. "This process must go on, it's a question of the state's reputation. I urge them to continue with their job until July 15 and the procedures which have been launched and the decisions which the government has made to relieve or appoint officials are legitimate."

The president said she would not call the Tihomir Oreskovic Cabinet an experiment but that the government did disappoint her. When they began, they had a big credit in both the domestic and the foreign public, but they did not justify it, they dealt too much with their relations and appointments of officials, and didn't implement key reforms, she said, adding that the reform package was given a relatively positive evaluation but that there was a lack of ambition and optimism.

Grabar-Kitarovic said she did not distance herself from Tomislav Karamarko, who resigned as first deputy prime minister and HDZ president last month. I have never renounced him as a person nor will I do so now, she said, adding that the deadline for reorganising a ruling majority expired on July 15, when parliament would dissolve, and that anyone who brought her 76 signatures for a new majority could be designated prime minister-designate.

Asked why Croatia put up and then shortly removed a barrier at the Batina border crossing with Serbia earlier in the week and if Croatia planned to close the crossing if migrants started arriving again, she said Croatia would not have much choice if they did.

I hope and believe it won't happen. I spoke with (Interior) Minister Orepic and he told me that the alert level isn't being raised, that they are on higher alert because of tourism and that they were testing some new technology, the president said, underling the importance of cooperation with the neighbours.

She reiterated that the Croatian hooligans who caused an incident at Euro 2016 were terrorists. She said they must not be linked to any group of football fans as they were individuals or small groups of extremists who were politically motivated to sully Croatia's reputation abroad.

Behind that are political forces and intentions to depict Croatia as a dysfunctional transition country which can't bring order in stadiums, let alone at home, she said, adding that higher tolerance for incidents at stadiums could easily spill over into society.

Grabar-Kitarovic called on the Croatian Football Federation to be responsible and find out what the problem was through dialogue.

Asked about her friendly relations with controversial football manager Zdravko Mamic, who is accused of corruption, she said they were acquaintances, that he contributed a small amount to her presidential campaign, and that as president she must stick by the position that everyone was innocent until proven guilty.

Last update: Sun, 03/07/2016 - 14:19

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