Following Croatia’s political developments that saw the mounting of scandal after scandal in efforts to destabilise the government since January 2016 these days is like being catapulted back to the Middle Ages when witch-hunts thrived, fever of confusion and moral panic ruled the day and truth and justice took a far back seat. This time, though, in Croatia the moral panic appears to seep in all shapes and forms from ex-communist and communist-minded echelons, threatened with full exposure and reckoning of the communist crimes their political forbearers committed against the Croatian nation. It’s also like riding on a beastly rollercoaster that cruelly gives no clues as to how turbulent, even how fatal, its next turn may be.
The most deeply disappointing element in this state of political confusion is that even the appointed (non-elected) Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and minority BRIDGE/MOST coalition partner Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov have both since Friday 3 June 2016 caught an insufferable dose of the terrible illness previously manifested mainly by the leftist opposition of Social Democrats and their political allies in the parliament. This terrible illness can be labeled: witch-hunt fever against Tomislav Karamarko, First Deputy Prime Minister and leader of Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ majority partner in the coalition government. This witch-hunt fever currently centres around the motion to the parliament by Social Democrat opposition seeking a vote of no-confidence on basis of Karamarko’s wife’s previous business consultancy as well as on basis of things Croatia media has reported Karamarko had at various times said!
To use this motion, prior to the appropriate authorities delivering a finding as to whether Karamarko has a conflict of interest case to answer, as a foundation in seeking his resignation in a country where democracy and due process are said to be the guiding principles and practices is tantamount to lunacy; to witch-hunt fever no citizen should be subjected to in the 21st century. The motion for no-confidence vote tabled by the Social Democrats is discussed in some political circles as a credible process even though facts of the matter have not been established nor truth certified by way of tested evidence! How someone can say they’ll vote for the motion of no confidence when it has not been established that Karamarko’s professional decision making capabilities for the government have been adversely affected by his wife’s business dealings prior to elections and his becoming the First Deputy Prime Minister, as Social Democrats seem to claim, can only be answered with repugnance.
Croatia’s prime minister Tihomir Oreskovic on Friday 3 June 2016 in a surprise and seemingly sudden move urged his two deputies (Tomislav Karamarko and Bozo Petrov) to step down to end a political deadlock; he said he himself would not resign and that he did everything in his power to try and fix the broken relationship between the two deputies. The latest crisis erupted when Bozo Petrov from BRIDGE/MOST said during the past week it would support the Social Democrat motion to replace its partner’s First Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko.
“I am not resigning and I didn’t plan to,” Oreskovic said Friday, insisting new elections are not necessary and would only slow down and burden Croatia’s economic recovery.
“I hope they (deputies) will make a decision in the interest of the Croatian citizens,” he said.
The leader of the Croatian Democratic Union, Tomislav Karamarko, who said he was surprised by the prime minister’s decision, promptly rejected Oreskovic’s call.
Deputy premier Tomislav Karamarko, head of the HDZ party which dominates the government, refused to quit and said either fresh elections or a “reconfiguring” in parliament were now the only solutions adding that Prime Minister Oreskovic no longer enjoys HDZ’s trust.
MOST leader Bozo Petrov said he was ready to resign but insisted Karamarko should too.
The fact that witch-hunt against HDZ leader Karamarko is at the forefront of Bozo Petrov’s mind is evidenced by his statement for HRT news Saturday 4 June 2016 when he said: “…I am now truly interested, after the ‘consulant’ affair (read Karamarko’s wife’s business consultancy) that arose and everything else that he is the one who presents himself as the one who is protecting (Croatian) national interests … if he really cared about the homeland, as he often said he does, then he would know that the term ‘political rsponsibility’ exists and if though nothing else then he would protect national interests by submitting his resignation …”
Petrov stated further on HRT news Saturday 4 June that if HDZ achieve a governing majority through reconfiguring then “that will resemble some hybrid monster, but that is their problem…”! Can you imagine a member of parliament saying this! Absolutely shocking – nothing that people elect into the parliament can be viewed as a monster of any sort! This Bozo Petrov needs to be ousted from the government – not Karamarko.
HDZ Presidency met on Saturday 4 June 2016 and confirmed its support for Tomislav Karamarko as its leader in both the Party and its parliamentary majority, despite a reported suggestion by HDZ vice-president Milijan Brkic that Karamarko could consider removing himself/resigning from First Depty Prime Minister position. Reportedly all options were at the table and the concluding agreements were that HDZ will work on finding a way as to how Prime Minister Oreskovic needs to be removed from the top job and how HDZ can push ahead by reconfiguring the parliamentary partners it may still govern with as majority coalition partner. Reports in the media that HDZ itself is split on the issue of Karamarko’s leadership do not seem to be supported by any visible threat to his leadership although, as any other party anywhere, HDZ is not immune from factions and fractions.
In the event of re-stacking or re-configuring parliamentary majority in order to save this HDZ led government possibilities do exist that some MOST/BRIDGE coalition members may abandon that coalition and cross to direct coalition with HDZ as “single seat” to help HDZ make-up the required 76 seats as Petrov loses his grip on MOST’s political coagulation of independents. Furthermore, the next week or so is set to show as to whether HDZ can assemble new alliances within the parliament in order to come up with majority seats and, hence, enter a new era of its coalition government. The alternative solution to solving the political crisis that has been created via false allegations and sheer political stupidity and sensationalism is said to lie in new general elections, which HDZ says is the last resort they would condone as elections take time and cost money Croatia cannot afford. Of course, there is always the possibility that Social Democrats’ motion for a vote of no confidence against Karamarko will be blown out of the water even before voting gets a place on the agenda of parliamentary day business. And then again, one could expect new scandals seizing the public space unless HDZ leader Karamarko sits firmly on government’s reform agenda, clears unstable HDZ elements/members and officers in its ranks to outer margins or insignificance, so to drown political scandals and affairs that prevent the government from doing its job properly. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)