MAY 21 2009 10:59h
A social democrat considered to be the opposite of Milan Bandic became Primorje-Gorki County prefect for the third time in the first round.
ZAGREB, CROATIA – At local elections last Sunday, Zlatko Komadina was for the third time elected Primorje-Gorski kotar County Prefect. He is also personally a winner with 60.48 percent of votes and on top of the list “For” which got 52.25 percent of votes. The list contains an unusually large coalition unions of eight parties which confirms his diplomatic efficiency in diplomacy. He says this about it:
- It is difficult to act maximalistically in coalitions, coalitions are a compromise and everybody has to concede a little. Burdening talks with names instead of programmes kills all understanding.
Milan Bandic’s opposite
In his political engagement so far he has managed to maintain a pure image. Although he has for a long time been on prominent positions and offices in the City of Rijeka, and thanks to basketball he was not anonymous in his youth, there is not one single scandal than can be connected to him. Such a flawless Komadina is seen within the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as an antipode to Milan Bandic by moral characteristics, even though both are pillars of strength in the party.
Komadina is characteristic for his exceptional privacy and however he keeps his life private, so he respects others’ privacy. We were told this by Djani Marsan with whom he ushered in the New Year in Losinj. The two of them and the confirmed mayor of Veli Losinj, Gari Cappelli, a HDZ member in parliament, enjoyed hanging out together with their wives and not one word was uttered about politics. Whether Zlatko Komadina minds the fact that Djani Marsan is the singer of the HDZ’s anthem, nothing would give that away. Such a gentleman-like avoiding of political duels and explanations thrilled Marsan, who himself likes to spend time with people of various political orientations.
- He struck me as a positive person with a broad education and not at all inclined to bragging – Marsan said, who noticed the height and built of his new friend and later found out he played basketball.
He is positive, cultured and fisherman
The two of them found a mutual subject to talk about in which there are not even possible conflicts. Both passionately love fishing. But since Komadina fishes from a boat in the waters of Kvarner and Djani marsan only from a rock in the Zadar waters, they talked about it nicely and did not even try competing with each other.
- What I liked the most is when I Told Zlatko that I like that special type of alone, Robinson-type fishing, he took me to meet two fishermen. One was in Losinj and the other in Cres and we spoke about their way of life. I spent the entire afternoon like that and utterly enjoyed myself. I also heard he sings well, so I hope we will sing something together once – Marsan told us.
Mesic’s choice for heir?
His private history, as he put it forward to the public, is short and without details. With every segment of his actions he gives out the message “I am a serious politician”. You will not find his photographs on Speedos or on brooms or any kind of position somebody at a higher position, for example, a president, could be ashamed of.
Last year, this strong politician was launched in the media as unofficial candidate of President Stjepan Mesic as his heir. It would not be surprising, since they share strong anti-fascist views. Both come from partisan families and the foundation of Komadina’s programme of the “For” list which he heads and which got the assembly majority in the past local elections, sounds just as if Mesic wished for it: “Honesty and the rule of law based on EU standards, values of anti-fascism and the Homeland War”.
At the beginning of this year both held speeches at rallies of anti-fascists of Primorje-Gorski kotar, Lika-Senj and Karlovac counies.
- We need to be persistent to correct historic injustices about anti-fascism, while without anti-fascism there would be no Croatia of today, or Slovenia, or Bosnia, or other countries from the former Yugoslavia – Mesic said.
- People forget that the 4th army, under Tito’s orders, in liberating Istria and the Slovenian coast, created preconditions for the establishment of today’s western borders of Croatia and that without this, it could have happened that Istria was lost to Croatia and the coast to Slovenia – Komadina said.
Born in Ljubljana
His personal history begins in Ljubljana on October 24, 1958. He also went to kindergarten in Slovenia, so when he speaks about Slovenians, he makes a joke about being qualified to negotiate with them because has known them “since they were little”. Perhaps this is why he thinks that the HDZ as the opposition, when former Croatian and Slovenian prime ministers, Ivica Racan and Janez Drnovsek made a border agreement, should have been more constructive and then we would not have the problems we are having with Slovenia on Croatia’s way to the EU.
Komadina finished primary school in Kantrida, a part of Rijeka where he still lives. He then completed high school and the Engineering Faculty, where he graduated in thermal energy. During his school years he played basketball and today he is a member of the “Kvarner osiguranje” backatball club board. Apart from basketball, his hobbies include sports fishing, nigh fishing which also includes meditation, he likes cooking fish stews and small house chores relax him. He lives with his wife Branka, daughter Sanja who is a student and son Luka, who is still in school.
His first employment was as a specialist engineer in making and setting up ship equipment at the “3 maj” shipyard. He later worked on various jobs, from commercial director in the company “Instalater” and director of the “Energo” utility company in Rijeka.
Konestra: He is a nice, team player
- While he was director of the Energo company, there was a gas leakage somewhere and two people got gas poisoning. The minute he found out about it Zlatko Komadina resigned as director. It was a moral act because it happened with something his company was in charge of and by doing so he won sympathies of citizens. Komadina is very good with communication. Reporters like him because he speaks without pausing, citizens respect him because he has no scandals in his background and his associates like him because he cooperates well. He is truly a fine team player – said Damir Konestra, a long-time journalist from Rijeka and editor of the ‘Livingstone’ magazine.
Komadina proved he has high morals during the Simic scandal. When accusations started pouring in against the famous hearth surgeon for taking bribes, Komadina clearly stated “everybody stands behind their own actions and is responsible for them”, not allowing the scandal to get out of proportions.
He entered politics after the first multi-party elections in 1990 when a neighbour knocked on his door, an old member of the Croatian Communist Party, of which Komadina was a member from his high school days, to become politically active. He comes from a partisan family who wanted him to run in the local elections in 1990. He made it into the City Council by winning in Kantrida.
- The 1990s were hard times for us from the SDP. We were treated as if we were not real Croats. I was additionally irritated by this and since I am the sports type, I decided to fight and I kept winning at local elections – he said in one of his interviews.