"The People decides" handed over petition

Group demanding election law referendum hands over petitionIzvor: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL
Members of the group, some dressed in folk costumes and sporting Croatian flags, gathered on Wednesday morning in Zagreb's upper town, to walk towards St. Mark's Square, flanked on two sides by the buildings of government and Parliament.
"We are here today because we won't give up on Croatia, on the country that Croatian soldiers gave their lives and health for. We know that Croatia could be a country in which people can earn a living by doing honest work. We know that Croatia could be a country to which Croatians who are abroad will return to," initiative organisers said in front of Parliament.
They added that they expected the Parliament and the government to check the signatures within two weeks. According to Croatian law, the signatures must be verified, after which the Constitutional Court will be asked whether the questions proposed are in line with current laws. They said they expected the court to be asked it before the Parliament break in July, so that the referendum could be held in September or October.
The initiative requests for Article 72 of Croatia's Constitution to be amended, and it summarised its proposed changes in two separate questions.
The first one refers to an overhaul of the election system, including the reduction of MPs from the currently mandated 100-160 - it now has 151 - to a maximum of 120, preferential votes for up to three candidates instead of voting for just one, the re-drawing of election districts, the reducing of electrion threshold from 5 to 4 percent, and that voters can vote via mail and online.
The second question refers to the reduction in voting rights for MPs representing ethnic minorities, as it proposes banning them from taking part in confidence votes, and the government budget.
The initiative also released new numbers of signatures collected, saying they had more than 405,000 signatures for the first referendum question they proposed, and more than 407,000 for the second one.
By Croatian law, any petition calling for a referendum to be held needs to collect around 375,000 signatures, or 10 percent of the entire electorate, within two weeks.


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