Presidential candidate Mislav Kolakusic said on Sunday that Croatians are apolitical and politically illiterate, and if he fails in the forthcoming presidential election, he will return to his duties as a member of the European Parliament.
"Unfortunately, most Croatian citizens have chosen to be apolitical and consider it a very good move. Well, my dear citizens, whether your family lives as they do in Norway or in the poorest African country is decided by politics and you decide who runs politics," Kolakusic, a former judge at the Zagreb Commercial Court, said in an interview with the N1 television channel.
"Croatians are absolutely politically illiterate," he said, but added that he continued to believe that important issues should be decided in referendums. He is confident, for example, that if there were a referendum on abolishing all taxes, citizens would be against.
He said he was in favour of a system that would allow holding several offices at once, adding that this would make it possible for the people to know who was responsible. He said that if the citizens voted for the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) or the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the next parliamentary election, it would mean they did not want change.
"You can't change anything, because regardless of your will you lack these 76 votes in Parliament that decide. I didn't enter into politics to do something that makes no sense but to try to change things, and you can do that only if you have power. What business do I have in politics if the citizens choose one of the direct candidates of the HDZ or SDP in these elections? In that way they say they don't want change and why would I spoil their pleasure?" Kolakusic said.
"The people are always like their leader. Every nation decides on turning points in its development and is guided by its leader. The key is in Parliament, everything changes in Parliament," he added.
Kolakusic said that the Croatian parliamentary system is irreparable because political parties are financed from the state budget, which he would abolish and introduce financing through contributions by members. "If there are not enough interested members to join a club, then the club should not exist."
Commenting on other presidential candidates, he described Miroslav Skoro as a reserve candidate of the HDZ, while accusing the SDP's Zoran Milanovic of being responsible for 300,000 citizens with blocked bank accounts during his premiership.
During the interview, Kolakusic criticised the media several times for poor-quality content and for turning into party mouthpieces rather than reporting facts.
"The media never asked me questions of vital importance to Croatia," he said, adding that he would attend presidential debates only if they were serious and focused on important issues.
Kolakusic said he had no intention of spending a penny on his election campaign, stressing that voters could find everything on the internet. "Our videos have got 55 million views via Facebook alone. If you want to inform yourself, there are places, and if you don't, then do as you please."
Kolakusic said he would sort out the lack of money for pensions by removing false pensioners, false war veterans and false disabled persons from the system. He believes that at least half of the veterans in the system are fake.
He also believes that counties should be abolished or reduced to only symbolic functions, that the government should have only ten ministries and not more than five agencies, and that the number of judges should be halved.