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Božidar Kalmeta


Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure
Incumbent
Assumed office 
23 December 2003
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader
Preceded by Office created

In office
1994 – 2003

In office
1995 – 2003

Born 15 January 1958 (1958-01-15) (age 52)
Zadar, Croatia
Nationality Croatian
Political party Croatian Democratic Union
Spouse(s) Dolores Kalmeta
Alma mater University of Zagreb
(Faculty of Agronomy)

Božidar Kalmeta (born in Zadar, January 15, 1958) is a Croatian politician, currently serving as Minister of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure in the Croatian Government (from 2003–2008 the ministry was called Ministry of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development).

Contents

Early life

He graduated in 1982 from the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Agronomy.[1]

From 1982 to 1993 he worked in his hometown Zadar as a manager at the Maraska distilling company[2] (which produces the world famous Maraschino liqueur).

Political career

In 1989 he joined the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and in 1993 his full-time political career started after he was elected to the Zadar City Council. In 1994 he became Zadar's deputy mayor, and from 1994 to 2003 he served as mayor of the city.[2]

From 1995 to 2003 he was also a member of the Croatian Parliament, serving as one of representatives from Zadar County. At the 7th HDZ Convention he was elected party's Vicepresident, beating Ivić Pašalić, and is currently a member of the party's presidency.

After HDZ won the Croatian parliamentary elections of 2003, Kalmeta was appointed to the newly created post of Minister of the Sea, Tourism, Transport and Development (which was created by merging three separate ministries) under Prime Minister Ivo Sanader. One of the chief accomplishments credited to his ministry was the completion of the A1 Highway linking the country's two largest cities, Zagreb and Split. In the next elections of 2007 HDZ won again and Kalmeta kept his post under Ivo Sanader's second term in office.

In June 2007, Kalmeta's long time official driver, one Danijel Miočić from Zadar, was indicted for racketeering. He and three others were arrested when they took EUR 100,000 worth of bribe from a Cetingrad businessman, and the money was meant to secure work for the said person's company in public tenders run by Kalmeta's Ministry. Kalmeta stated that he had no knowledge of these acts, nor how his driver could have had any sway on the tenders. In November 2007, Miočić and six others were convicted in court. They appealed the conviction, but in October 2008/March 2009 the County court in Karlovac affirmed the conviction. Miočić was given 15 months of jail time; Elvis Lučić 24 months; Marko Grzunov 16 months; Genc Daka, Nikola Valentić, Damir Zelić and Marko Pavić were to serve 12 months in prison.[3]

In 2009, various newspapers ran several reports regarding corruption in the Croatian Railways, the national railway operator overseen by Kalmeta's Ministry. General manager Davorin Kobak was fired by Kalmeta in February allegedly after a police wiretap operation uncovered a conspiracy to embezzle three million euros.[4] In June, USKOK arrested Kobak and two others and charged them with embezzlement.[5] In July and August, after the 2009 Rudine train derailment, Kalmeta intervened to replace several managers, and soon after, HŽ managers Ivan Medak, Drago Rogulj, Drago Ivanković were arrested for their role in causing the fatal Rudine accident, with several others.[6]

In November 2009, Kalmeta's long-time associate the State Secretary Zdravko Livaković unexpectedly resigned[7] and after that the Government fired much of the management of the public company Hrvatske autoceste[8], the largest recipient of Kalmeta's Ministry budget money. Soon afterwards, three former managers of Hrvatske autoceste, Jurica Prskalo, Mario Lovrinčević and Goran Legac, were arrested for embezzling over 21 million kuna on a public tender, together with a chief engineer Željko Kandžija and owner of a private construction company Slaven Žužul.[9]

Kalmeta has consistently claimed he never knew about those affairs and refuses to take any kind of responsibility. Majority of Croatian public and media do not agree with him. President Stjepan Mesić was one of many who suggested Kalmeta needs to resign.[10] After another railway accident on November 21 near Rijeka, the railway workers union sent an open letter of complaint to the minister.[11] On December 11, 2009, Kalmeta underwent an interpellation and survived a vote of no confidence.[12]

Personal life

Kalmeta is married with three children. He speaks English and Italian[2] and his hobbies include spearfishing, jogging and reading.

References

  1. ^ "Ministar" (in Croatian). Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure. http://www.mmpi.hr/default.aspx?id=404. Retrieved 2009-03-30.  
  2. ^ a b c "Božidar Kalmeta Biography". Government of Croatia. http://www.vlada.hr/en/naslovnica/o_vladi_rh/clanovi_vlade/bozidar_kalmeta. Retrieved 2009-03-30.  
  3. ^ "Pravomoćna presuda: bivši Kalmetin vozač Danijel Miočić zbog pokušaja iznude ide u zatvor". Slobodna Dalmacija. http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/Crna-kronika/tabid/70/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/46563/Default.aspx. Retrieved 2009-08-23.  
  4. ^ "Kobak htio prisvojiti 3 milijuna eura?", Croatian Radiotelevision, February 19, 2009
  5. ^ [1], T-portal, July 15, 2009
  6. ^ "Kriminal u HŽ-u - Kalmeta: Nitko u HŽ-u neće biti zaštićen; privedenima određen pritvor", Večernji list, July 28, 2009
  7. ^ "Kalmetin najbliži suradnik Zdravko Livaković dao ostavku - Livaković: Glavna je zvijezda lupeški sindikalac koji ne dolazi na posao", Večernji list, November 4, 2009
  8. ^ "Vlada konačno smijenila Upravu HAC-a, novi šef Stjepko Boban!", Index.hr, November 21, 2009
  9. ^ "Obračun s korupcijom - Pohapšen dio bivše Uprave HAC-a i jedan od vlasnika Skladgradnje", Jutarnji list, November 26, 2009
  10. ^ "Da sam Kalmeta, ponudio bih ostavku!", Croatian Radiotelevision, November 30, 2009
  11. ^ [http://www.tportal.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/44789/Ministre-Kalmeta-zeljeznicki-sustav-se-raspada.html Apel nakon nesreće 'Ministre Kalmeta, željeznički sustav se raspada!'], T-portal, November 24, 2009
  12. ^ "Ministar preživio glasovanje u Saboru - Nisu ga dali: Kalmeta će i dalje graditi autoceste", Jutarnji list, December 11, 2009

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