Grabar-Kitarovic rejects pressure regarding future prime minister-designate


President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said on Monday that she would decide on who she would give a mandate to form a new government in accordance with the Constitution and the election outcome.

“I absolutely reject any kind of pressure regarding the future prime minister-designate. I will make this decision after the elections in accordance with the Constitution and election results,” the president briefly told the press ahead of her visit to China.

A source close to the President’s Office vehemently dismissed criticism from Pedja Grbin, an MP of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SDP), that Grabar-Kitarovic was supporting the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party in the election campaign, stressing that “the President is not and will not be involved in any election campaigns.”

That’s why the President will not temporarily transfer her office to Vukovar, as previously announced, because she does not want any of her moves to be put in the context of the election campaign, the source said.

The source went on to say that the focus of the election campaign should not be on the migrant crisis but on the parties’ platforms, on employment, on young people leaving the country, on pensions, living standards, the country’s future and foreign policy. “Where they see Croatia, how best to promote our interests in the European Union and NATO, and how to patch up our relations with Hungary and Serbia,” the source added.

As regards the migrant crisis, the source warned that most of the refugees pouring into Europe from the Middle East, Asia and Africa were obviously economic migrants and a portion of them would certainly be sent back from countries they were going to. That’s why the mode of their return should be discussed with Germany and other countries because these people will not be peaceful then, but frustrated and dissatisfied, the source added.

“Our border is porous. The whole world has seen pictures of people entering Croatia unchecked and in that way we have sent a message that we are not protecting our border,” the source said, warning that “this, unfortunately, is an invitation to criminal elements and potentially terrorists too.”

The source stressed that it was necessary to impose stricter controls on the border between Greece and Turkey and strengthen the role of the EU border management agency Frontex, adding that the United Nations and the United States should also become involved in dealing with the migrant crisis. The official border crossings should remain open, but the areas between them should be controlled.

As for the President’s visit to China, the source said that the visit was a positive message to Croatia, adding that China had insisted that the President of Croatia visit as soon as possible, while the President had wanted it to happen after the parliamentary elections in Croatia. “This is a positive message to Croatia saying that they want to work with us,” the source said.

The President will take this opportunity to further promote economic cooperation, especially in shipbuilding, the source said, adding that the Croatian delegation would include Chamber of Commerce Chairman Luka Burilovic. (Hina)