Željko Kerum

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Željko Kerum
Member of Parliament
In office
22 December 2011 – 28 September 2015
Prime MinisterZoran Milanović
ConstituencyX electoral district
70th Mayor of Split
In office
1 June 2009 – 7 June 2013
DeputyŽeljko Šundov
Preceded byIvan Kuret
Succeeded byIvo Baldasar
Personal details
Born (1960-09-25) 25 September 1960 (age 58)
Ogorje near Muć, PR Croatia, FPR Yugoslavia (now Croatia)
Political partyCroatian Civic Party (HGS)
Spouse(s)Ankica Ana Kerum (divorced)
Domestic partnerFani Horvat (since 2010)
Children5
RelativesNevenka Bečić (sister)
OccupationPolitician, entrepreneur
ProfessionMechanical technician

Željko Kerum (born 25 September 1960) is a Croatian entrepreneur and a politician.[1] He was mayor of Split, between 2009 and 2013, after which he failed to qualify for the second round of elections. He also owned the supermarket chain Kerum until it folded in 2012.

Early life[edit]

Željko Kerum was born in the village of Ogorje (part of Muć) in the Dalmatian hinterland. He graduated from the Technical High School in Split, Croatia in 1978. In 1981 he got his first job in the Split construction company Melioracija spending a year in Iraq working on military bases.

Business career[edit]

He founded the company Kerum in 1989, opening his first convenience store in 1990. Six years later he opened his first supermarket in the Lora neighborhood of Split. In 2003 he bought the Diokom industrial facilities (ex-Jugoplastika) and in 2007 he opened the Joker Shopping Mall, the largest in Dalmatia at the time.[2]

Politics[edit]

In the first round of the 2009 elections for mayor of Split, Kerum (independent) won 40.21% of the popular vote, while his closest rival Ranko Ostojić (SDP) won 34.72%.[3] On May 31, he won 58.42% of the vote, making him the incumbent mayor of Split.[4]

In September 2009 during a live television interview on the Nedjeljom u 2 talk show that airs on the Croatian state broadcaster HRT 1, in response to host Aleksandar Stanković's question if Serb businessmen are welcome in Croatia, Kerum answered: "If it was up to me I wouldn't let them because Serbs never brought us anything good in the past and they won't do it now. Not only Serbs, but also Montenegrins. And whoever is doing business with them will not make out OK". Asked further by Stanković if he would accept a man of Serb ethnicity as a son-in-law, Kerum answered emphatically: "No, never".

On January 16, 2011 the citizens of Split, on the initiative of an informal group of citizens gathered on Facebook, protested at the Prva voda beach on the park mountain Marjan in Split against a change of city urban planning regulation that allowed construction of restaurants and bars in the beach area. According to plans, on the proposed beach site a company owned by his mistress Fani Horvat planned to build such an object, with the destruction of protected wood area. The idea was perceived as a nepotistic venture and favouring of Kerum's own interests instead of the city's.[5] Kerum also caused a stir in Split when he proposed to build a 40 meter tall statue of Christ the Redeemer to rival that of Brazil.

In 2011, he became a candidate in the Croatian parliamentary election, 2011 on the electoral list of the Croatian Democratic Union.[6]

In the Croatian local elections, 2013 Kerum won only 18.57% of the popular vote while re-running for mayor, which did not qualify him to the second round of the elections. Also, Kerum's Croatian Civic Party won only 12.41% of the popular votes for the city council of Split.[7]

In the Croatian parliamentary election, 2015, his Croatian civic party won only 2234 votes in the two Dalmatian constituencies and became a non-parliamentary party.

Personal life[edit]

In 1989 Kerum married Anka Lalin, with whom he has a daughter and son. In 2009, he surprised the public by publicly announcing he was divorcing his wife to be with his pregnant mistress Fani Horvat, who was nearly 25 years his junior. The news caused many in the media to point out the hypocrisy in his political image, where he has consistently presented himself as a supporter of traditional values and a conservative world view, but had been participating in an extramarital affair.[8]

Kerum has been known to own expensive cars including a Hummer, a Mercedes S500, a BMW 7, a Maybach 62, a Ferrari F430, and a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano.[9][10][11] His Cessna Citation X, a business jet worth approximately US$17 million, is the most expensive privately owned aircraft in Croatia.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kovačić, Leo (2009-03-09). "Kerum voli Kuma, Kuret Bonda, a Ostojić Forrest Gumpa". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  2. ^ "Biografija Željka Keruma". Zeljkokerumsplit.com (in Croatian). Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  3. ^ "Rezultati lokalnih izbora 2009" (in Croatian). 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2009-05-18.
  4. ^ "Kerum: Zaposlit ću sve i riješiti stambene probleme". Jutarnji.hr (in Croatian). Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  5. ^ http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/Split/tabid/72/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/126890/Default.aspx
  6. ^ "HDZ predao izborne liste, Kosor prva u petoj jedinici". Poslovni dnevnik (in Croatian). 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  7. ^ "Bandić pobjednik, Kerum poražen, Milanović ponižen" (in Croatian). 20 May 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
  8. ^ http://www.net.hr/vijesti/hrvatska/page/2009/10/19/0640006.html
  9. ^ "Prijatelju, posudiš ti meni malo taj svoj novi Ferrari?". 24 sata (in Croatian). January 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  10. ^ "Maybach u Splitu!". Slobodna Dalmacija (in Croatian). August 26, 2003. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  11. ^ "Kerum vozi Ferrari kupljen na braniteljsku povlasticu?". Index.hr (in Croatian). March 25, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  12. ^ "Kerumova Cessna najskuplji hrvatski privatni zrakoplov". Jutarnji list (in Croatian). June 24, 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-24.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ivan Kuret
Mayor of Split
2009–2013
Succeeded by
Ivo Baldasar