President Milanović: The Constitution is Clear, the Mandate is Given to the Camp that has an Absolute Majority of Deputies

26. June 2020.

The President of the Republic Zoran Milanović attended a ceremony for graduates of defense studies at the Croatian Defense Academy, after which he took questions from the press. He was asked whether the upcoming election will be fair, as some citizens will be prevented from going to the polls for epidemiological reasons. The President replied that “there is always someone who is prevented or unable; the situation is unique and in order for the election to be postponed – if it is constitutionally possible, for instance – talks with the Prime Minister and some sort of understanding on the part of the opposition would be needed.”   

Asked whether he would initiate such talks, President Milanović replied: “No. I did not even initiate the dissolution of Parliament. I said that the election should be held at some other time. You are aware that I asked the Prime Minister about his priorities, and holding the election on 21 June was definitely not among them, so in choosing between 27 June and 5 July I decided that the election will be held on 5 July. I cannot do anything with regard to the election now without the Prime Minister’s initiative, but that, too, is questionable. Such a situation is not exactly envisaged by the Constitution, but some sort of solution would be found. I believe it would be theoretically possible, but in practice that is not going to happen.”

Reporters also asked whether it is possible in theory to declare a state of emergency. “This can only be done by Parliament and it is possible, according to Article 101 of the Constitution, to conclude that state institutions cannot do their job, but then power cannot fall into the hands of one person, the Prime Minister, but into the hands of the Prime Minister and the President at the least,” President Milanović replied.

Asked how he would decide to whom to give the mandate to form the Government, the President said: “The Constitution is explicit. The mandate is given to the camp that has an absolute majority of deputies, only the deadline within which this must happen is not set. I will be guided by that in the beginning; consultations really will be consultations. They will be very transparent; I will do everything to make them transparent and not the way they were in some other situations, which has undermined trust in democracy and the legal order. That shouldn’t happen.”