Former judge Mislav Kolakusic, whose independent slate won one seat in the European Parliament election held on Sunday, spoke to reporters on Monday where he commented on his result.
None of the polls predicted Kolakusic would gain any seats in the European Parliament, making him the biggest suprise of the Sunday election.
"The people must wake up and go vote. Now, we showed there is enough of us and we can achieve results. We did not have media space, we made use of what we had, (which is) Google ads and social media," Kolakusic said.
Kolakusic has no previous political experience. He worked as a judge of the Commercial Court in Zagreb since 2011, where he got into the spotlight after he publicly criticised the controversial law on pre-bankruptcy settlements, passed by the centre-left government in 2012, which Kolakusic called “the theft of the century.”
In spite of vocal criticism from his colleagues, in early 2019 Kolakusic announced his candidacy for the European Parliament election as leader of the independent Citizens’ List, saying he would step down as a judge. A week ago, Kolakusic resigned from the post in a decision which came in to force on May 24, two days before the election.
In latter half of 2018, Kolakusic started an organisation called Anti-Corruption, which aims to battle corruption on all levels of society.
With a strong message focusing precisely on anti-corruption, Kolakusic ran his campaign mostly on social media, with his Facebook page, “People for Mislav Kolakusic” (Gradjani za Mislava Kolakusica), counting more than 140,000 fans.
“This was a highly personalised campaign. Everything I promised, I will achieve myself, not the movement, not the party,” Kolakusic told reporters on Monday.
In spite of winning a seat in the European Parliament, Kolakusic said that change cannot come to Croatia from Europe.
“Croatia can change only in elections. We can’t change in the European Parliament or anywhere else except in the Croatian Parliament,” he said, adding however that a seat in the EP was an important victory.
Earlier in the campaign, Kolakusic said he would run for the post of Croatian president in the upcoming election, set to be held at the end of this year, if he wins any seats in the European Parliament. After he won 7.89 percent votes, and one seat, on Sunday, he repeated the promise.
“Right after I take over my post in the European Parliament, I will begin my campaign for the presidential election,” Kolakusic said.
On Monday, he also added he would run for the post of Prime Minister as well, if early election is called. Regular parliamentary election in Croatia is expected to be held in autumn of 2020.