“They” – opposition politicians of the communist breed largely embedded in the Social Democrat parliamentary opposition in Croatia, self-professed antifascists who know bugger all about being or practicing true antifascism as well as much of the twisted left oriented media in Croatia – are still intent on destroying the coalition government mainly by staging scandals and false crises. The political arena where political combatants get at each other armed with a vicious killer instinct is, of course, nothing new for a parliamentary system of governments where the number of votes gets to be “King”. However, when the path of destruction against a political party targets its leader using blatant denial of due process then any democratic society must take a pause and take a hard look at itself. Be concerned. Very concerned.
Latest ammunition used in Croatia to try and destroy HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union that holds majority seats in the coalition government) 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 opposition pressures for HDZ and its coalition partner MOST to issue statements regarding the matter, ahead of findings by the appropriate independent official body dealing with the matter.
All in all: pressure that translates into denial of due process. Ruling on the matter must occur first and then comments and statements follow naturally and as a matter of due process also.
I was most disappointed in an article by a well-known, often respected, Croatian journalist for Vecernji List, Davor Ivankovic, a couple of days ago in which he appears as if he has joined the liberal/communist/social democrat opposition in mounting no holds barred attacks against Karamarko as the person who must go from his position of party leadership and government leadership team!
Suddenly Tomislav Karamarko, leader of HDZ, the First Deputy Prime Minister, is to blamed for everything, even for an alleged dysfunctional government over which he does not even preside!
Ivankovic, in his article, talks of the planned vote of no confidence being tabled at the Parliament by the Social Democrats against Tomislav Karamarko on basis of alleged conflicts of interests to do with his wife’s private business. “…If MOST (HDZ’s coalition partner in government) holds the numbers for a quorum when the voting is on regarding Karamarko, it’s enough for them to abstain from voting, and, therefore, SDP (Social Democrats) would not collect enough votes. That would give the new HDZ leadership (HDZ general assembly coming up this coming week/before Parliament votes on no confidence) enough time to search for a new leader. Karamarko is, so to say, already in ‘free-fall’, and it’s clear that every new quake around him will start the motion of replacing him within the party. It’s thought that no one would even let a tear drop for him after 3 or 4 months…” writes Ivankovic.
There is not a mention, not a single mention of any unfairness against Karamarko in Ivankovic’s article; there’s no criticism of the Social Democrats for causing what he calls a “quake” around Karamarko when the official independent body has not even delivered its findings against allegations of conflict of interests! I have, therefore, started to wonder if Davor Ivankovic has crossed the lines of journalistic balance and joined the real destroyers: those who are purposefully and neglectfully straying away from foundations of democracy – entitlement to a due process. This surely cannot be a healthy occurrence for a society hungry for justice for victims of the Homeland War and of communist crimes to endure.
Regardless of how one feels about Tomislav Karamarko, his absence from the leadership of HDZ would signal major changes within the party that most likely would not spell political survival as Ivankovic suggests it would. It needs to be remembered that the public faith in HDZ has since May 2012 been praise-worthily and significantly restored under Karamarko’s leadership. Karamarko’s leadership gave a new lease of life to conservative or centre-right politics in Croatia; the politics that were responsible for the Homeland War victory and Croatian independence but also the politics suffering almost insurmountable unproven allegations of theft, fraud, corruption…
There is a number of people in HDZ who have arrayed themselves in opposition to Karamarko, even if they may or do not show it. A keen eye could see for a while now that appetites have been running whet for the leadership chair as well as on skinning HDZ of its popularity among the people. There has been little if any efforts from those currently eyeing a chair at the HDZ leadership table in asserting to the public that HDZ is not as “sick” as the opposition and media are making it look. The limp, lukewarm comments on major scandals by those running close to Karamarko in HDZ may not in fact be what Ivankovic calls “mentality in HDZ where no one dares to go against the chief for if you do, you lose your head,” but in fact responses that go with ambitions to be that leader once the latter falls; to be a new Karamarko to HDZ (?). In any case, there’s much to be said for loyalty to the leader in a political party – it is the superglue of political survival and unity and is a desirable quality everywhere.
Davor Ivankovic’s article suggests that HDZ is dying, but Karamarko doesn’t know it (and he should! He should step away! – he suggests). That HDZ is sick. And then Ivankovic would like us to think anything that speeds up Karamarko’s demise is to the good, because then it (HDZ) can reinvent itself and return as something healthy. No way Karamarko has caused all that alleged sickness in HDZ – the political party that only a few months ago won 59 seats in Parliament under his leadership, enough to form a coalition government!
I have problems with the approach of attacking HDZ’s leader, Karamarko, which in turn dictate the results of opinion polls and nation’s mood for dealing with real issues such as economic reform. Real issues and electoral promises always get left behind when the society is bombarded daily with scandals around personal issues of politicians or unproven allegations. This approach presumes the events of the coming years can be perfectly predicted because one can mount scandals that shape a government or party leadership and it undermines the legitimacy of the Parliament and executive.
The approach suggests opinion polls are more important than the Parliament, than the actual good Karamarko (or any member of parliament) does as a parliamentary representative.
Some principles are more important than the contest for who gets to ride in the shiniest car with the flag on the bonnet. Croatian society (any democratic society) can only properly function while its members accept the laws enacted by the parliament bind them. If Karamarko has a case to answer in the conflict of interest allegations then the ruling will be brought under the relevant law enacted by the parliament. A due process that also means innocent until proven guilty is a mandatory moral fiber all politicians and media must uphold; otherwise we’re all “going to pot”. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)