Tuesday, 24 January 2012

That Croatian referendum

The BBC enthusiastically tell us that:
'Near complete results from Croatia's referendum on European Union membership suggest that a large majority of people want to join the EU in 2013.

With nearly all the votes counted, 66% of voters backed the membership. About 33% were against.'
The BBC do also add that 'But officials expressed disappointment at the low turnout of about 44%.' but it's not as important as the 'large majority' comment.

For some more information on this story England Expects has something of interest from the 'Only Croatia' party:

Contrary to official claims, the Croatian people did not overwhelmingly support Croatia's membership of the European Union.

In fact, most Croats abstained from the EU referendum resulting in a record low participation level of only 43%, which means that even if  all those who turned out, voted in favour of EU membership, they would still constitute a minority not only of voters, but of the Croatian people.

At the first-ever referendum held in Croatia in 1991, the turnout was 83.5%, of which 94% voted in favour of independence.

Fully aware that the Croatian People do not want to give up their hard earned independence, the ruling elites changed the Croatian Constitution prior to the EU referendum to eliminate the rule which invalidated any referendum unless 50 percent participation was achieved.

Prior to the EU referendum, the Croatian people were subjected to a massive North Korea-style pro–EU propaganda campaign, which relentlessly extolled the benefits and virtues of
membership, and denigrated any attempts to say otherwise.
The Government spent huge amounts of public funds to pay for a massive YES campaign, whilst denying any funding to the NO case. In addition, the European Commision ran its own very expensive YES campaign. State enterprises and corporations were also enlisted. State Television aired pro-EU adverts for free or at discounted rates, Croatia Post home delivered more than 2 million government leaflets for free, and the City of Zagreb provided free EU advertising on its trams.

The official referendum campaign was restricted to a four week period at the height of winter and favoured the official YES case which had almost exclusive access to the electronic media. It also exploited seasonal distractions provided by Christmas and New Year celebrations as well as winter school holidays.

The real referendum campaign had actually started much much earlier and involved, not thousands, but tens of thousands,  pro-EU advertisements on radio and Television.

The 'Vecernji List' daily reported on 10.8.2011 that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and EU Integrations had in the two preceeding months (June and July 2011) paid the broadcasting of  more than 13 thousand radio adverts and more than 2300 TV adverts on 80 radio stations, 6 national and 15 local TV stations. This massive propaganda campaign continued and even increased in scope and intensity over the next six months leading up to the referendum.

The Austrian, German and Government-owned electronic and print media ( ie all the media in Croatia) blatantly supported the YES case and made sure that the YES campaign was the only campaign.   Hundreds of sponsored 'information programs' were aired over many months and even more 'informative' newspaper articles were printed.

The Catholic Church hierarchy, lavishly funded by the State, also openly supported the YES case and seemed unconcerned that there was no democratic public debate and no visible NO case.

In the last few weeks, the population was carpet-bombed by advertisements and appeals on TV, radio and the print media from the President, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader,   Ministers, Actors, Singers and Sportsmen to choose EU prosperity and happiness over isolation and poverty.

Just days before the referendum, Foreign minister Vesna Pusić shamelessly threatened Croatia's 1.2 million pensioners that they would lose their pensions if they voted against EU membership. The Zvijezda voting station in Zagreb, which covers several retirement homes with about 1100 pensioners, reported an 80 percent vote in favour of EU membership.

And the result of this massive propaganda campaign ? -A referendum turnout of only 43% of  all voters and a vote of 66% in favour of EU membership and 33% against.

And even this vote is somewhat suspect because Croatia has more voters than citizens. According to the latest 2011 Population Census, Croatia has a total population of only 4.29 million, yet according to the Electoral Commission it has 4,504,765 voters over 18 years of age eligible to vote.

In such blatantly undemocratic circumstances, it was impossible for the Croatian People to make an informed decision and the EU referendum therefore has no democratic legitimacy. It has all the hallmarks of a sham.

It is clear that the EU referendum in Croatia was a swindle which did not meet even the most basic democratic criteria, and whose sole purpose was to elicit an affirmative vote.

We call on the Croatian Government and the political elites to recognise the reality that the Croatian People have not freely and democratically given their consent to the loss of their independence.

We call on the Croatian Government to do the right thing, to annul this sham referendum, to organise a new, fair and democratic referendum, and to give the Croatian People the opportunity to make a free and informed decision about their future.   

Should this not happen, we ask all the democratically minded Peoples of existing EU members not to participate in this undemocratic swindle of the Croatian People. We ask them and their National Parliaments to block the ratification of Croatia's membership of the EU, until such time as the Croatian People are given the right to decide freely at a fair, democratic and legitimate referendum.
The latter article does smack of being truthful when you remember how pro-EU forces have managed previous referenda

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