Marija Avramovic – Zagreb
The Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar said they were not satisfied with the decision of the Constitutional Court that the referendum question on the Cyrillic script is inconsistent with the Constitution because they will not be able to realize their idea for the whole Croatia, but noted that they can be satisfied because the Constitutional Court upheld some of their stances.
Croatian Constitutional Court passed this decision yesterday and review of the constitutionality of the referendum question to the Constitutional Court was asked earlier by the Parliament.
“I would not understand the decision of the Constitutional Court too tragic, and I think we can be satisfied and dissatisfied with it”, said the Croatian News Agency (HINA) Committee’s commissioner for legal matters Vlado Iljkic.
Stressing that he hasn’t yet seen the decision of the Constitutional Court, but he knows of it only from the media, Iljkic said that the Committee is naturally unhappy that the Constitutional Court its referendum question declared unconstitutional and that it is “now is obvious that Committee, in accordance with this decision, will not be able to realize its idea throughout Croatia”.
“We still believe that Croatian citizens should be left to decide on the issue, but now the Constitutional Court, if I understood correctly, puts the whole thing right down to the level of the City Council of the City of Vukovar”, Iljkic said, emphasizing that Committee’s initiative for holding a referendum was not directed against the rights of any minority.
Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) MP Dragan Crnogorac expressed satisfaction with the decision of the Constitutional Court and said that “it was logical and reasonable decision that it was not a surprise”.
“We can say that we are happy with the decision, according to which a referendum on the Cyrillic alphabet won’t happen. The whole story wasn’t really about the Cyrillic alphabet, but was aimed for destabilization and attempt to overthrow the government by some parties and politicians”, Crnogorac said.
The Constitutional Court also decided that the city council of Vukovar in the Statute of the city within one year must prescribe and regulate the individual rights of persons belonging to national minorities to use their own language and script, but in a way that “recognizes the needs of the majority of the Croatian people that emerge from the still living consequences of Serbian aggression”.
President Ivo Josipovic and Administration Minister Arsen Bauk welcomed the decision of the Constitutional Court.
“The Constitutional Court has brought, in my opinion, on Constitution-based decision, but the decision is wise as well in terms of regulation of social relations”, said the President.
Administration Minister said that the decision of the Constitutional Court was expected, according to the explanation that the Croatian Parliament addressed when making questions to the Constitutional Court, at least for the majority in Parliament.
Citizens’ initiative, which calls itself the Committee for the defense of Croatian Vukovar, collected about 650,000 signatures for a referendum with which intended to throw out bilingual tables from Vukovar.
This initiative proposed that the minority’s right to equal official use of their language is exercised only in areas where they make more than 50% of the population. According to current laws, bilingualism is applied in areas where national minorities make up a third of the population.