A day two before Christmas 2015 Croatia just may be put out of misery and torture if the president announces new elections!
Ever since the 8 November 2015 general election results which gave no political coalition the majority needed to form a government Croatia’s political battlefield has taken on the dynamics of nothing less than the engrossingly dramatic and twisted TV series “Game of Thrones” (many episodes of which were actually filmed in Croatia). The Most or Bridge coalition, that holds the decisive number of seats with which a government could be formed with either the centre-right HDZ or the centre-left SDP, has through its leader Bozo Petrov been insisting on forming a tripartite government, combining both HDZ and SDP and having a non-party member – a professional – Prime Minister! I personally am not aware that being a Prime Minister was a profession one trained for and stayed in as a matter of career choice, but Petrov most likely means a person who is a proven professional in a recgonised and, hopefully, relevant field such as economy, business development, justice, law etc.
Whatever Petrov and the Bridge coalition mean it does not matter for it simply cannot work simply because democracy is much about different political persuasions competing for votes through offering better or competitive deals and better life to the citizens.
More important, Croatian hard-won democracy cannot and must not compromise itself by permitting such experiments as those insisted upon by the Bridge coalition.
Bozo Petrov and the Bridge coalition called second meeting on Saturday 19 December where all three party presidents (SDP’s Zoran Milanovic, The Bridge’s Bozo Petrov and HDZ’s Tomislav Karamarko) were supposed to iron out the details and announce the name of the new Prime Minister designate. Furthermore, ahead of the meeting Petrov announced that by Tuesday 22 December Croatia would either have a new government or an announcement for new elections. HDZ president, Tomislav Karamarko left the meeting just 10 minutes in.
Karamarko said he could not sign the document the Bridge coalition was asking both parties to sign and hence decided to leave and let Bridge and SDP continue with negotiations if they want to: “We believe this document is a messy and confusing coalition contract in which no mechanisms are set and there are too many unknowns. It all comes down to how to split the loot, distribute seats in public companies etc” he stated.
Judging from media reports SDP and the Bridge continued talks after HDZ president left the meeting, Bridge, by this act, seems to have ditched the idea of forming a tripartite government it tortured the Croatian public with during the past month. At the end of the meeting Petrov announced that HDZ was out of the race for the government now, since Karamarko refused to sign the document Bridge coalition prepared and considered essential for the formation of government.
“I hope we will have a designate Prime Minister by Tuesday” said Bozo Petrov stressing that HDZ is definitely out of the race now and that Bridge is still insisting that the designate Prime Minister be someone from their party or a non-party person – but must be a professional Prime Minister! Zoran Milanovic stated that SDP would insist that Prime Minister Delegate should be Bozo Petrov from Bridge coalition. Bozo Petrov, on the other hand, while appearing coy and negating he wants to be the next PM does reiterate whenever he can “Never say never”!
While at the end of Saturday’s meeting Petrov stated that “Everything will be solved within 24 hours”, one can expect one of the two possibilities:
- Bridge will form a government with SDP/ Social democrats and eat its words in shame that they would only work with a tripartite government – the only condition under which their proposed sweeping reforms could be made;
- Croatia is set for new elections sometime in January/February 2016.
Certainly, HDZ, the relative winner of majority seats at 8 November elections (but not enough to form a government), has been reported to favour new elections. I personally would support that for it’s not just me that am skeptical and cautious about the likelihood of a tripartite government – an all-inclusive government – where there is no shadow government, no opposition, no prospect of critique and positive advancement that can result from it. It would be such a victory for Croatian democracy if the president of Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic put an end to this shameful political blackmail torturing the Croatian public and evidently emanating from the Bridge coalition and put Croatia on the road to new elections quick-smart. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)