Local elections in Croatia

Local elections in Croatia

It’s hard work being a Pirate in Croatia. Only a month after the campaign for the EU elections, the campaign is on again in this former Yugoslav republic. This time it are the local and regional elections. The Pirate Party of Croatia (Piratska Stranka) will compete in 6 cities or towns. These are Zagreb, Rijeka, Varazdin, Belje, Samobor and Petrinje. They will also compete in one region, Primorsko-goranska. Elections will be held on Sunday 19th of May.

In the following sections we will introduce some of the top candidates:

Rijeka – top candidate: MARTINA GRABOVAC

Martina Grobovac

Martina Grobovac

Who are you and why did you join the Pirate Party?
Martina: My name is Martina Grabovac. I’m a 25 years old single parent. I am a sculptor by profession. I joined the Pirate Party only 2 months ago. I joined the Pirates because I share thier vision of democracy.

Can you tell us a little more about your city?
Martina: The city of Rijeka is a multi cultural centre. It’s a real pleasure to live here because people are uncomplicated here. But here the projects are difficult to realize.

What’s the most important Pirate standpoint in your opinion?
Martina: The most important topics for me is always e-democracy both on local and on state level.

Do you think you can win any seats after this campaign? How many?
Martina: I think we can win 4 seats in current election.

Varazdin – top candidate: MATIJA TURK

Matija Turk

Matija Turk

Who are you and why did you join the Pirate Party?
Matija: My name is Matija Turk (30), married and father of a one year old. For the past 12 years I have lived and worked in Varaždin. Currently I am CTO of Novi-Net Telelkom, a Wimax based telecom operator located in neighbouring Međimurje county. Before, during and after my college education I have been involved in multiple community projects including Croatian Red Cross, student organization STAK (co-founder) and Varaždin Intelligent Community project. My personal goal is to be active in the community and help it grow. Motivate people to be proactive in order to help those less fortunate and to understand that the people of the community are the only ones that can make it a beautiful place to live. Politicians are, and always will be, only a product of the community, so the change needs to start from the people. Pirate party is my means to achieve that goal.

Can you tell us a little more about your region?
Matija: The city of Varaždin, and the surrounding county, is a special part of Croatia, that cherishes old traditions but at the same time attracts young people because of a slower life style, lower cost of living, multitude of cultural and sports events, and it’s orientation on new technologies and companies based on them. So on one side we have our baroque heritage (urban) and rural untouched countryside, and on the other fast growing IT sector, all connected with well developed tourist offer. This is also the orientation that I see Varaždin developing in the future. Problems arise with legacy industries that are struggling life wood, textile and meat industries where a big part of population is employed. Varaždin as a county has one of lowest unemployment rates in Croatia, but as majority of employed work for the legacy industries, mean pay is rather low compared with the rest of Croatia. That is a problem that has to be addressed before we can attract more young people to our little part of paradise 🙂

What’s the most important international Pirate standpoint in your opinion?
Matija: The most important PP standpoint is E-democracy and liquid democracy because it empowers people and limits the elected politicians that work against the good of the community. It allows faster change (in every aspect, political, economical and legislative) and at the same time promotes sharing of new ideas and hopefully allows people to feel as part of the community again. Which, as said earlier, I consider the most important part of every community and every democracy!.

Do you have any specific local topics you are focusing on?
Matija: The main focus, if elected, will be on development and implementation of E-democracy and a liquid democracy platform, so that we can connect the city council to its people. To inform the community of the city council’s plans and decision making process, and allow the community to influence them directly. Many people say that E-democracy and liquid democracy is an utopian idea. It is not! And it is not light years away. It’s implementation needs to start from small local communities. Become accepted, so that it can be allowed to create real, tangible results. From there it will spread, it is an idea, that needs to grow in people’s minds before it can be put in computers.

What will you focus on when elected?
Matija: Specific focus of Varaždin branch is humanitarian work, using our resources from members of local PP (entrepreneurs and/or various IT specialists) to help disabled young people and young parents with financial problems. To allow the community to recognize the problems and help solve them.

How much percent/seat do you think you can win in this election?
Matija: Varaždin branch of Pirate party was founded just a week before the local elections. Before that there were EU elections where without a branch and marketing in Varaždin area PP Croatia got 150 votes (voting body in city of Varaždin is 41000).
We are working hard on the campaign but with limited founding (Varaždin PP branch budget for this election is 200 Euros). Election seat threshold is 5% of people that voted. In 2009 elections that was 1000 votes. To sum it up, our goal on this elections is 1 seat and we feel that there is a good chance for us to enter the city council.

Petrinje – top candidate: SLAVEN KADEČKA

Slaven Kadečka

Slaven Kadečka

Who are you and why did you join the Pirate Party?
Slaven: My name is Slaven Kadečka, I’m 25 years old. I’m a primary school teacher, but I’ve also been working in a youth organisation for five years. I joined the Pirate Party because I realised that the plans and programme of Pirates are something that is in line with my everyday life focus. That it is something that look for the future not past things. I joined Pirates only a few months ago.

Can you tell us a little more about your town?
Slaven: I’m from Sisak-Moslavina county, from town Petrinja. Petrinja has around 25.000 inhabitants, and it is post war town. During the war in 90’s the town was completely ruined. A lot of property in town remains in ruins and is not rebuilt. The economic and industrial situation is very bad. A lot of young people are leaving town and moving to urban cities.

What’s the most important international Pirate standpoint in your opinion?
Slaven: The most important thing in my opinion is supporting Pirate Parties around the world and connecting them to be stronger in their countries.

Do you have any specific local topics you are focusing on?
Slaven: Yes, of course we have, the local topics that we are focusing are input of open source software in local government, transparency of local government and direct democracy.

What will you focus on when elected?
Slaven: I’ll focus on youth, internet, technology and the entire porgramme of the Croatian Pirates.

How much percent or seats do you expect to win in this election?
Slaven: We expect 1 seat, that is around 5% of votes.

Samobor – top candidate: DARIO VIDOVIĆ

Dario Vidovic

Dario Vidovic

Who are you and why did you join the Pirate Party?
Dario: I am an telecommunication entrepreneur thus following the technology sector quite closely. When I came across the German Pirates I tough this is something worth investing my time in. I looked for other pirates in Croatia, as I did not find anyone, I started with few my friends the Pirate party, or at least what is today known as the Zagreb Branch. We found out later that at the exact same time there was a Pirate movement in Rijeka in its infancy.

Can you tell us a little more about your city?
Dario: Samobor, is situated between the countries capital Zagreb and the Slovenian border. History wise Samobor was always a centre of small entrepreneurs and good standing people. The city has a recorded history of more then 770 years and is very popular as a tourist resort with its green mountains and many woods. The local economy is focused on small and specialised industry and in general it is doing better then the rest of the country. But we think there is still room for improvement in many aspects of live of out citizens.

What’s the most important Pirate standpoint in your opinion?
Dario: The most important standpoint is hard to point out. We are running a local election campaign. And if I would point out something that is international in our goals, then I would say it is liquid feedback and demand for the reform of our political approach on the local level. Samobor has 37.000 inhabitants. We are an ideal community to test such new platforms, as we are still small enough to educate most of the population how to use such new political tools. Beside transparency we are putting a great emphasis on this part of pirate program. And if we win at least one seat, I think we can do a lot here in upgrading democracy to a higher level.

How much percent do you think you can win in these election?
Dario: we have our dreams! We dream of one seat to be present in the city council. But we also need to be realistically. Pirate Party is a newcomer. The name provides a shock, and we need time to explain our position and program. This was somewhat possible for our cities border. But Samobor is in area extremely large and half of the people are outside of the city limits. We had non or little reach to those people, and we have no idea how they look toward us or our program. Lets wait out these few days. And see what happens. In general the goal is 3%, and 5% is needed for one seat.

 

Featured image: by Watashi Figthermonk CC BY-SA

Koen De Voegt

About Koen De Voegt

I'm a 34 year old electronics engineer from Antwerp, Belgium. I joined the Belgian Pirate Party in October of 2011. Around that time I was one of the first members of the Ghent branch. In January 2012 I founded the local branch of the PP in the city and province of Antwerp. I'm also travelling to international PP meetings, sometimes as delegate. I find the international nature of the pirate movement one of its great strengths to focus more on this I've successfully ran for co-chairperson of PPI.

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