The president’s statements are full of fear. Therefore, they cannot be written as letters, but they are always just sort of statements. That is why these messages will not remain known as the announcements that, also because of the constant fear after the lost loved one, Vita West wrote to her friend Virginia Woolf, or at least registered in the political history of our time as a love letter to the British, which was written precisely these days, two years back, by a group of European eminent persons, also from the fear of British exit from the European Union.
The recipient of the letters, i.e. the public announcements of the Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, is the Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković.
The first statement was sent to him from Rome, where, at the end of May, just a few hours before Slovenian President Borut Pahor, she visited Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
She sent the second, a much more direct statement, from Brussels, on Wednesday, two days ago. In the first one, the president sent an order to Plenković to convene a government session where she would explain what is wrong with the various government strategies, while in the second one she points to her,
President’s, authority to manage the Government. Grabar Kitarović started a two-day visit to the European capital this Wednesday. The first host was the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk. She told him that the Republic of Croatia was ready for the European presidency, warned him of the danger of illegal migration and pointed out, in fact, again reminded that the European Union should not interfere in the dispute between Croatia and the arbitral tribunal over Croatia’s ignoring and rejecting the pronounced border verdict with Slovenia. This was followed by a question that was not new, but it is precisely with this question that the President’s fear begins again each time. They asked her, almost inappropriately or at least diplomatically uncomfortably, what will be her role and what will be her competencies in the event of the Croatian presidency. The President’s answer was a new announcement to Plenković, a kind of gentle tightening of a silk rope around his neck, when you never know if it is a gift, an erotic insinuation or something much more critical. However, the answer was not very long, but it is precisely because of that that it was much more immediate. She said. According to the Croatian constitution, Croatia is represented in the European Council by the head of state and prime minister. Accordingly, Kolinda Grabar Kitarović and Andrej Plenković, which means that we both have joint powers, especially regarding all issues of national security, diplomacy, migration and foreign policy. Therefore, as the President could be understood, all operational issues of the presidency, in terms of technical details and policies, will be left to the Government and its operational apparatus, and she, with her advisers, will take care of complex strategic issues alone.
However, fear and fright are hidden behind all the answers and both statements about the president’s political power. Of course, the President knows that there is only one big question to which, at least now, the answer can be given only by the Prime Minister, Plenković.
But, in order to understand it, I will return to the time after the death of Dr Franjo Tuđman, the president of the then new government, also the late Dr Ivica Račan, as well as the newly elected president of the state, Stipe Mesić. Their agreement was to prepare a constitutional reform and implement the transition from the semi-presidential to the parliamentary political system. However, both were pragmatic. Račan was trying to increase his political power, and Mesić to lose as little as possible. At the end of October 2000, for the first time, there was a first break between the declarative statement of a reduction in the powers of the president and personal, quite legitimate, political ambitions. Mesić announced his dissatisfaction with the proposed changes to the Constitution and accused the Government and Račan of wanting to strip him of powers or at least take away all his competencies. That as the president of the state he would not be able to appoint ambassadors or without the consent of the Government conclude interstate agreements and, furthermore, to erase the constitutional provision that the president of the state is concerned about respecting the Constitution.
Due to internal political problems Račan made a compromise. Contrary to the decisions already made by the Government, the President of the State remained the supreme commander of the Croatian army and obtained the right to co-decide in the creation of foreign policy and the work of intelligence services. However, it is precisely here that the basis of all disputes about jurisdictions and authorizations is found. Both of Ivo Sanader with Mesić, as well as Zoran Milanović and Tihomir Orešković and Plenković with the current president of the state.
And now back to fear. Kolinda Grabar Kitarović wants to repeat the mandate. With all the powers of the directly elected president. At the end of October 2015, then Prime Minister Milanović dug up the old idea that, as in most European countries, the president of the Croatian state would be elected in parliament and that it would be necessary to amend the Constitution by the next elections. It was only a few months before the president in December 2015 did not want to assign a mandate for the composition of the new government either to the first or the other strongest party. She asked for a sufficient number of parliamentary signatures for the election of the prime minister. At that time, she herself, in response to Milanović, intended to appoint a transitional government and announce new elections. She also had a government office composed, which would be led by Damir Vanđelić, President of the Croatia osiguranje Board. And an agreement was reached and Orešković was elected. The observer could be convinced that disputes in terms of jurisdiction would be settled. Indeed, it may well be that Plenković did not himself begin to flirt with the proposal on the elections of the country’s president in parliament.
Grabar Kitarović sees every such intention as a threat. That is why her every announcement to the Prime Minister and the president of the ruling party sent from large European cities can be read as a request for help during the new presidential elections.