Transparency International Croatia (TIH) and the GONG NGO said on Thursday there was still no real political will in Croatia to combat corruption, and that since nearly all political parties and election candidates failed to issue early financial reports, the May 17 local elections could not be given a passing grade.
ZAGREB, May 28 (Hina) – Transparency International Croatia (TIH) and the GONG NGO said on Thursday there was still no real political will in Croatia to combat corruption, and that since nearly all political parties and election candidates failed to issue early financial reports, the May 17 local elections could not be given a passing grade.
Zorislav Antun Petrovic of TIH and Sandra Pernar of GONG told the press that under the law, election candidates must submit early reports to the local election commission but not publish them.
Since nearly all parties and candidates have failed to submit early financial reports and will not be penalised, this means the public remains deprived of information on their donors, said Pernar.
Only one parliamentary party, the People’s Party (HNS), one non-parliamentary party, the Medjimurje Democratic Party, and two independent candidates, Josip Kregar and Tatjana Holjevac, released on their websites how much they spent in the campaigns, said Petrovic.
Since no information on donations is available, one cannot follow if the elected candidates will work in the common interest or in the interest of their donors, said Pernar.
According to Petrovic, TIH and GONG maintain that without a transparent financing of election campaigns, one cannot have transparent elections or combat corruption.
Pernar said the conclusion was that Croatia was adopting some laws only because of pressure from the European Union, without taking into account if the laws are actually good or how much they contribute to the respect of standards in force in developed democracies.
Elections in Croatia cannot be given a passing grade until political will to change the current state of affairs has been shown, she added.
Petrovic recalled that the May 17 local elections were the first which should have been held in keeping with last year’s law on the financing of political parties, independent slates and candidates, but said the campaigns were not more transparent, indicating that the law would not contribute to better information of voters and less room for corruption.
GONG and TIH have asked election commissions in Osijek, Rijeka, Split and Zagreb for copies of reports on campaign costs, sources of financing, and donors, but only the Osijek City Election Commission has complied.