The new Information Commissioner helped Minister Malenica hide the real authors of the new model of constituencies
Gong finds the election of Anita Markić as the new Croatian Information Commissioner extremely problematic since she provided an excuse for the Minister of Justice Ivan Malenica to hide the actual authors of one of the most important laws enacted during the mandate of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković - the Law on Constituencies. Following the Commission for the Prevention of Conflict of Interest, the Information Commissioner has now become another independent institution that has been captured by the ruling party.
With a secret vote in the Parliament, while the majority of the opposition was absent, Markić "overpowered" her opponent Dubravka Bevandić, the former deputy of the former Information Commissioner Zoran Pičuljan, who has been dealing with the right to access to information for more than a decade.
Since May, the Ministry of Justice and Minister Malenica have refused to answer Gong's question about who the authors of the new model of constituencies are. This culminated in September when Minister Malenica was threatened with a fine for disobeying the order of the former information commissioner to publish the names of the authors of the new model of constituencies.
The Ministry finally disclosed the names of several alleged authors, including Anita Markić, head of the Directorate for Political System and General Administration in the Ministry of Justice. The previous secrecy surrounding this information indicated that the Law on Constituencies was created under the direction of politicians from the ruling party, the so-called MARŠ group (Malenica, Anušić, Ressler and Šeks).
The law on constituencies is controversial due to the fact that it was drafted in a non-transparent and exclusive manner, without any consultation with the professional public (as well as the fact that the constituencies model is based on an unreliable voter register). All this leaves considerable doubt that Markić actually participated in designing the constituencies.
Gong deems that such political compromise of the elected candidate is contrary to the definition of the Information Commissioner as an independent state body which protects, monitors and promotes the constitutionally guaranteed right to access to information. Therefore, the election of Anita Markić to the position of Information Commissioner poses a threat to the democratic mechanism of citizens' right to information, which could result in further erosion of the rule of law in Croatia.