BIOGRAPHIES/CVs of Croatia’s new Government officials can be found HERE
It took 14 hours of presentation of Tihomir Oreskovic’s new centre-right cabinet for the new government and its program and discussions in the Croatian Parliament on Friday 22 January 2016 for the same government to earn a majority vote of confidence. The “deed” was done close to Midnight – at just after 11 pm the vote was cast: out of 149 members present 83 voted for, 61 against and 5 abstained while 2 members were absent. Tihomir “Tim” Oreskovic is Croatia’s new Prime Minister while the leader of HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union Tomislav Karamarko is the First Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy being Bozo Petrov, leader of the Most/Bridge coalition of independents. Immediately after the vote in the parliament, Oreskovic and 22 members of his cabinet were sworn in inside the parliament.
Oreskovic inherits an economy recovering from a six-year recession and grappling with one of the highest public-debt burdens in the European Union, the results of years of political resistance to overhauling the economy and installing democratic practices in public administration as opposed to those inherited from five decades of communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia. The main tasks for the new government will be to repair the country’s public finances, usher in and install economic growth, attract new investors into Croatia, secure an upgrade of credit rating from junk status, reduce high unemployment, grapple with the suffocating influx of refugees/migrants and, hopefully, tackle the unfinished business of eradicating the matters that negatively impact on Croatian unity and prosperity and which are associated with the communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia and its remnants that continue poisoning democratic advances in the society and its structures.
“I am ready to take over the challenges… We should be ready to make difficult decisions,” Oreskovic told the parliament in Zagreb ahead of the vote.
His “pledge to cut the budget deficit and secure better credit ratings has won investors’ blessing,” Bloomberg reports.
Much of the operational task of repairing the state finance and restoring the economy will fall to the new finance minister, Zdravko Maric (a state secretary in the finance ministry during a previous HDZ government and in the past four years worked as a senior executive in Croatia’s largest company by earnings, food concern Agrokor, and was in charge of capital markets) and the new economy minister, Tomislav Panenic (the head of the eastern municipality of Tompojevci and a Most/Bridge coalition representative). They will have to cope with public debt near 90% of GDP and a 2015 budget deficit expected to come to around 4.5 % of GDP.
With more than 600,000 refugees/migrants passing through Croatia since mid-September 2015 and influx continuing despite the freezing winter weather the task of saving Croatia from being incapacitated and clogged up from the sheer numbers of people moving through, remaining a while…will indeed remain on the agenda for the foreseeable future.
The appointments of Zlatko Hasanbegovic, a notable historian at the Institute for Social Research “Ivo Pilar”, as the minister of culture and Mijo Crnoja, a retired colonel of the Croatian army, as minister for veterans’ affairs have given rise to unsavoury protests by civic groups and the Social Democrats opposition in particular.
As expected, given that the Social Democrats or former Yugoslav Communists have lost government they and their ideological partners from the media have mounted an ideological lynch against the new government, branding it fascist, Ustashe – attempting to place the new government into what’s often referred to as the darkness of the WWII era. All this in concentrated efforts to try and save the communist totalitarian regime of Yugoslavia from its deserved condemnation and banishment from today’s democracy. These protesters call themselves antifascists but if anything they were and are far from the true and noble antifascism. It’s Hasanbegovic’s 2015 televised opinion in which he said that the only time, the only war in which Croatians were true victors was the 1990’s Homeland War and that Yugoslav antifascism was/is nothing more than a platitude that has caused the protests against him. In the parliament on Friday 22 January 2016 the Social Democrat opposition branded him a pro-Ustashi and a denier of antifascism and, furthermore, sparked protests against him in a street or two. Reacting, the leader of Hasanbegovic’s HDZ party, now First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia, Tomislav Karamarko, said that it was high time Croatia differentiates between the totalitarian communist regime of former Yugoslavia and antifascism, that communists of Croatia (Yugoslavia) were not antifascists.
Bravo, Karamarko – the truth gets heard from high places.
Hasanbegovic defended his opinion and said that all his critics should read his works in full and not take words out of context. “They all abuse the concept of antifascism, and every serious historian knows that the concept can be fluid because various meanings can be ascribed to it. Stalin, Tito and Pol Pot were antifascists and so was the American General Patten, mentioned by the parliamentarians who do not want to teach history. We are not talking about an abstract antifascism but about the Yugoslav totalitarian inheritance. The modern Croatian stated has emerged as contrast to Yugoslav communism. And the fundamental Croatian constitutional values – democracy, parliamentarianism, independence, freedom and human rights – are in perfect opposition to the Yugoslav totalitarian heritage. I have been expressing my views and opinions about Titoism publicly, with scientific and professional responsibility and I do not see one reason why I should change one single comma to my statements.”
Well said Hasanbegovic and Karamarko – it is high time that the communist scum from WWII and after it be placed where they belong: away from antifacism and into the dungeons of contempt and condemnation.
The new veterans affairs minister Mijo Crnoja (I’m so pleased to know the man I wrote about in my previous post has made it to Minister!) attracted hateful comments and protests from the same camp: Social Democrats and Yugoslav communism nostalgics. His reported plan to compile a register of traitors of Croatian national interests and aggressors against Croatia is the thorn in their eyes – of course it would be – they see themselves on that register. Hence, they brand Crnoja a dictator, oppressor and that his plans for these lists spell terror. Communist League (today’s Social Democrats) walked out of Croatian parliament in 1991 in protest against the proposed vote to secede from communist Yugoslavia and make Croatia an independent democratic state and they have been undermining that Croatian freedom for a quarter of a century – of course they will fight with all their might to avoid communism being shown up for what it truly was and is: a political force that is evil and that should be buried for once and for all.(NOTE: Crnoja resigned as minister on 28 January 2016 amidst unproven allegations from the communist inclined opposition of improper conduct regarding his registered abode where he was supposed to but had not yet built his house and registered a shed as his residence!)
The new government is made up of a number of political novices including the Prime Minister Tihomir “Tim” Oreskovic, but together with the politically experienced colleagues they are all, as Oreskovic describes, “high-quality people from the business sector, the academic community and the public sector. They are ‘Tim’s Team’”.
Despite some minor naturally occurring “teething problems” the new government composed of different political groups has or may encounter as it gets down to work it is difficult to predict how successful this new government will be but if its focus on professionalism and intended reforms rather than political maneuvering are anything to go by then it’s future looks solid and promising. As to the protests and hateful outbursts coming out of the opposition parties and former communists and their sympathisers one could say it’s a given that any parliamentary or government opposition anywhere in the world in any democracy has the job of opposing anything and almost everything the government or its officials say and of making a great deal of noise, throwing negative lights at the government but what occurred in Croatia on Friday 22 January and days preceding it, and after, has nothing to do with healthy democratic discourse to benefit a betterment of citizens’ lives and everything to do with continued desperate efforts to cover up communist crimes of the former Yugoslav lot. Croatia’s parliamentary opposition, of centre-left persuasion, isn’t showing signs of intending to act as a shadow government that works for the betterment of citizens’ lives and their standard of living. As they assess the reasons why they lost the elections they are becoming noticeably bitter, twisted, unhappy killjoys of democracy because they are doing everything they can to disrupt enjoyment of democracy and the business of a democratic government, which of course, in this case would include the clearing up of past communist ways that stifle progress. As an example, Prime Minister’s Powerpoint presentation in parliament of his new government’s plan to transform Croatia for the better included a pyramid of priorities and the Social Democrat Ingrid Anticevic-Marinovic held it up in an envious rage saying that all it needed was the eye at the top to tell people what it really was: a Masonic pyramid; insinuating evilly that “Masons” have taken over in Croatia. Oh, I do often admire the stamina of the majority of Croatian people for tolerating political idiots such as Anticevic-Marinovic without contracting stomach ulcers. Undoubtedly, because of the former communists within the left and centre-left political persuasion democracy in Croatia has since Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia had a fragile existence and poor development and proliferation into every aspect of daily life and it’s time that the former Yugoslav communism is called a criminal regime, not just totalitarian and definitely not referred to as an antifascist movement a moment longer. It’s a good sign the latter is being reverberated from the mouths of members of the new government in Croatia. Croatia does not only need an economic transformation it also needs a transformation of daily living into democratic rights and responsibilities and that can only be achieved through decisive rejection of any aspects of former Yugoslav communism as partners in strengthening democracy. Lustration is a must for Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)