Croatia: Staged Political Crisis Undercutting Needed Rhythm For Reforms

Left: Tomislav Karamarko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia Centre: Tihomir Oreskovic, Croatia's Prime Minister Right: Bozo Petrov, Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister

Left: Tomislav Karamarko, First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia
Centre: Tihomir Oreskovic, Croatia’s Prime Minister
Right: Bozo Petrov, Croatia’s Deputy Prime Minister

Instead of seeing a gradual settling of politically antagonistic spirits, left over from public spaces of pre-election and elections moods, which usually makes the job of new government’s ushering in the desperately needed reforms that would bolster and aid positive economic change and reduction of the crippling foreign debt easier, the end of May 2016 marks a full four months of a staged seemingly crippling political crisis that makes the work of the government extremely difficult and often impossible. The staged political crisis aided by a great deal of bias and fueling of scandals in the media is visibly keeping the coalition government on its toes and vigilant; ready to pounce back with replies to malicious accusations and innuendoes that cannot and should not wait a reply. It seems like every day is a new scandal directed at the government and the media readily picks up on these regardless of where facts or truth stand.


For three weeks in May the Parliament sittings had been unable to vote on new legislation due to lack of quorum. From day one of this new coalition government (conservative centre right HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union and independent political force MOST) Croatia has constantly been bombarded with ever new scandals originating from the centre left that was previously in government, former communists but today’s Zoran Milanovic led Social Democrats, who hold that they should be the ones heading the government even if they won less seats than HDZ in the last elections.

The first staged scandals had to do with the proliferation of lies and half-truths regarding minister of culture Zlatko Hasanbegovic who was labeled a fascist and a Nazi, and Croatia under the new government labeled as a country that is seeing a renewal of (WWII) fascism.  Vicious pressure for the government to rid itself of Hasanbegovic never ceases to this day even if the man himself has done nothing wrong, but – hey – he is strong on wielding justice for victims of communist crimes and that is – evidently – a “No, No” for ex-communists and their contemporary “compadres”. Then soon came the resignation of the new veterans’ affairs minister under the pressure of having registered a shed, in which he does not live, as his residence.
Then came an attack against education minister Predrag Suster regarding his expressed stands on evolution Vs creation.

Then came the viciously recriminating divisions and scandals regarding the Holocaust victims’ memorials at Jasenovac and the memorials for the victims of communist crimes at Bleiburg.


Then came the inability of the Parliament to vote on legislation due to lack of quorum that lingered on for three weeks or longer. Then the latest is Social Democrat opposition pressure to slot in a vote of no confidence in the parliament against First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko (HDZ) – citing conflict of interest because reportedly his wife’s private business previously had dealings with PR consultant for Hungary’s oil company MOL that holds control over Croatia’s INA company and over which control Croatia’s former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader is currently in court answering to corruption charges and bribery. Even though Karamarko has instigated that a formal investigation be held into whether he acted with conflict of interests, and this is said to happen inside coming two or three weeks, the Social Democrat opposition still wants the parliament to vote on no-confidence motions on the basis of conflict of interests (which has not been proven so far and which Karamarko denies); well, communists never bothered with due process such as court hearings or other official testing of evidence, so why would they (Social Democrats) start now! Innuendos and bullying an intimidation served well their political agenda under communist Yugoslavia!


Tension in the government coalition is portrayed in the media as growing every day despite the admirable calm and composure with which members of the government try to address the scandals. But, the detailed announcements of expected reforms did take a seemingly long time to surface. There is talk of changes in government and the majority in Parliament – even early elections. Conflicts are on several levels and the needed reforms remain the same. Ironically – ONE MAY BE TEMPTED TO SAY – this coalition came to power with strong promise of reforms, but, instead what we are seeing now is that the coalition led by HDZ is demonstrating exactly what, during election campaign, the Social Democrats said HDZ was: that HDZ was a corrupt political party and that (given SDP started labeling HDZ as fascist prior to election campaigns) under Social Democrats there would be no going back to the old ways – meaning WWII Ustashi ways/fascist ways.


HDZ is neither corrupt nor fascist but SDP is certainly working overtime domestically and internationally to make it appear so. Well, if SDP is counting to turn the voter tides towards it as it prepares to wave the “I told you so” finger at the public, hoping to achieve a mass amnesia in the public regarding its own destructive and corrupt government, and win a comfortable majority at next elections, it has not got much prospect.



Make no mistake – former communists, Social Democrats, have gone out of their way to create images of the HDZ led government to fit exactly the picture it painted of it during election campaign. No naturally occurring irony, therefore – it’s all a thoroughly planned stage with view to disabling the government in efforts to prove it incompetent! Furthermore, it’s all making Croatia appear as an intolerant society under the conservative government, when in fact the intolerant ones are the left-siders especially when it comes to not tolerating any attempt to bring about justice for victims of communist crimes.


The government is offering some 60 reforms, which encompass a wide spectrum of areas and matters – all are most relevant to the betterment of Croatia’s future: public administration, job growth, privatization of state owned companies, reduction of foreign debt… The main measures are aimed at macroeconomic stability and fiscal sustainability. Lowering of public debt is the main priority announced by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric. A reform in public procurement, higher visibility of public sector with government offices restructuring, Internet-based business dealings and technological upgrade are due. With the European Commission’s most recent lowering of Croatia’s 2016 GDP growth forecast to 1.8% and announced Croatian government’s reforms last week, Croatia has a good chance of coming out of this slippery slide served  upon its government by the nasty “Reds”.



If the government stays firm on its path of reform and positive results start showing, then all the political scandals of the world cannot shake its foundations or threaten its endurance. The way things may appear now, though, is that the government will not survive because of the constant barrage of political scandals that create an impression of a political crisis looming due to some incapacity (and moral fallacy) of the government. Whether new elections or re-stacking of the parliamentary majority/coalition actually occur in the relatively new future continues to depend on the government’s resolve not to be distracted from the job it said it would do if elected. That is easier said than done, but be that as it may – staying focused on reform results is most important. Everything else, even the hardest or the most painful of attacks, fall by the wayside when good reform results end up in citizens’ pockets. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. Syd)


  1. This only shows that NEITHER or ANY party is interested in the benefit of Croatia, it shows that whatever party comes to power, it is self serving and not working for the Croatian people. I have long said, it’s time for a revolution, if the Latino’s who are much poorer than us can uprise and demand changes, then we can too. Change does not come by waiting for something to happen, it must be obvious to all that no party is FOR Croatia , it is for big business and who will pay more.

    • So agree with you, Ines – change come about through decisive, guiding actions and all I see are political plays keeping people’s minds distracted from daily poverty as long as possible.

  2. I’m thinking of going to Croatia in September Ina. Thanks to your guidance, I already know how to ask for more beer in Croatian. If the weather is bad during my proposed stay, I shall return to your blog and remove all my likes. I shall also demand that you refund my flight and hotel expenses and offer me a generous compensation payment. 😀

    • Well now, in case of inclement weather there is always the good old home-brew Rakija (60+ proof should do it) – grape or plum brandy variety so I bet you will keep on Liking my blog :)))) as to refunds, Whitechapel Whelk, depends on the date of month, fluidity tends to dry quite quickly 😀

      • After a few shots of Rakija I don’t suppose I’ll be worrying too much about the weather anyway haha.
        Thinking of staying on the Dalmation Coast. Is that a good or a bad thing? 🙂

      • My thought exactly on Rakija 🙂 Oh yes Dalmatia – anywhere along the coast – would be the best place to be at this time of year when swimming season sets in

      • Thank you Ina. A lovely friend sent me some links to your beautiful country and it’s just that…beautiful!
        The swimming season you say? Tell me, would it be cheaper if I went in the drowning season? 😀

      • Heck no, Whelk – it costs a bit more to cart away a stiff bod 😀

  3. Unity of the right is what is at issue here. Simply these manufactured crisis would not exist if the right was united, or at least united in public. The accusations are distractions that the right has allowed itself to be enveloped in…for their own political gain. Rising above the fray and being focused on what is important is beyond our politicians. It takes strength and courage, and rationality to counter the politics of the left which are simply emotional arguments with little or no substance. But what can we expect from our leaders and politicians who haven failed so miserably through all these years to protect Croatian interests against Serb aggression and anti Croatian myths. Truly spineless and pathetic bunch we have.

    • Telling it like it is, is the best policy, Sunman and hopefully that may spill into some awakenings, but I doubt it also. Politicians need to be ready to lose their positions for their beliefs and that won’t happen in Croatia yet – the political elite is still “untouchable” it seems

    • It seems only Hasanbegovic has a spine. Now if we could just get a few more of him in positions of power, things might start looking up.

  4. Interesting that there’s suddenly a HUGE political crisis here, there and everywhere as soon as anyone but SDP holds power, but apparently the mass exodus of Slavonians that took off full force during SDP years (and is still ongoing) isn’t a crisis at all. Oh wait, that’s right, keeping Slavonia strong and prosperous and Croats united is “fascist” and evil, can’t have that. Same old, same old greater Serbia/pro-Yugo motivations – divide and conquer.

    Too bad about the right in Croatia being so divided and lacking individuals of strong moral character and conviction that shows through ALL the time, no matter what obstacles arise. It seems they have some good ideas, but it looks to me like they do not yet inspire strength, unity & positive attitude in people. Results will get people on their side, but I think we need to see leaders with more conviction and strength right now. Leaders who seem to be constantly on the defensive do not seem to inspire hope & change in others. It’s not enough to talk of reform and unity if the leaders won’t be on the offensive against the same old anti-Croat propaganda & bias, and not have the balls to stand up for Croatian interests in every aspect, politically and culturally.

    That’s just my take on it and I would rather hope to be wrong.

    • Hence, my thoughts, Kat – the gov should press on with reforms and governing and keep brushing off the scandals served against individuals…it’s a circus and a sad show at the same time – certainly no confidence can come out without positive results in the economy/reforms.

  5. Division is the agenda to bring about confusion and insecurity while feeding media lies to people who know nothing different.

  6. You write so well, my dear friend. xxx

  7. Sending you warm regards, dear Ina. Summer here means long work days and I fall behind in visiting all the blogs. Take care and be well. <3


  1. […] is that of denial of due process to its president, Tomislav Karamarko. That is, the matter of possible Karamarko’s conflict of interests in relation to his wife’s previous dealings with Hungarian MOL company I referred to in my last article, has escalated to ugly media and by the […]

  2. […] is that of denial of due process to its president, Tomislav Karamarko. That is, the matter of possible Karamarko’s conflict of interests in relation to his wife’s previous dealings with Hungarian MOL company I referred to in my last article, has escalated to ugly media and by the […]

  3. […] is that of denial of due process to its president, Tomislav Karamarko. That is, the matter of possible Karamarko’s conflict of interests in relation to his wife’s previous dealings with Hungarian MOL company I referred to in my last article, has escalated to ugly media and by the […]

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