Early election in the Adriatic city of Split will be a "farce" if the second deputy mayor, Antonio Kuzmanic, does not step down, the head of the Split City Council Jakov Prkic said on Friday, a day after Mayor Ivica Puljak and one of the two deputy mayors, Bojan Ivosevic, announced they would step down and call for snap elections.
Puljak won the last local election in May 2021, representing a small liberal party called Center. His deputy mayor, Bojan Ivosevic, worked at an IT company before the election, but became much better known after the election for penning an anti-Semitic rant on Facebook and also for threatening an editor of the local daily Slobodna Dalmacija.
Puljak initially defied mounting public pressure to sack Ivosevic, but on Wednesday local media reported that they would both resign, meaning that the city would have to hold snap election. On Thursday, Puljak confirmed this in a news conference.
Puljak said that Kuzmanic would be the commissioner for the city until the snap polls and demanded that councillors also resign, calling for the dissolution of the City Council in order for the elections also to be held for it.
“For an equal position of all stakeholders in the elections, all three, including deputy mayor Kuzmanic, must leave their positions,” Prkic, a member of the Pametno party for Split and Dalmatia, said in a written statement.
HDZ MP: Situation in Split is a dangerous precedent
MP Ante Bacic of the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Friday commented on the “ostensible resignations” of the Split mayor and his deputy and told citizens that this set “a dangerous precedent because the political interest of one person is placed above the rule of law”.
The City of Split “is blocked, the season is starting, and we are going to the elections because of one person, deputy mayor Bojan Ivosevic,” Bacic said in national parliament.