A couple of days ago it was Tomislav Karamarko, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of Croatia’s conservative HDZ party, the biggest in the ruling centre-right coalition, that took shots from all sides – the Social Democrat motion to Parliament for vote of no confidence, the push from minor coalition partner MOST leader Bozo Petrov to resign and the push from Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic to resign, to step down. Political crisis built up to breaking point. Karamarko though had not been proven to have done anything wrong – he just seems to be not liked for some obscure and repulsive reasons I have unsuccessfully tried to understand during the past weeks.
On Tuesday 7 June 2016 HDZ and Karamarko took on the fight with admirable resolve: they filed a no-confidence motion against technocrat Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic. So the way things look now that Croatia’s parliament could be looking at dealing with both motions for vote of no confidence on the same day! Likely in about 10 days time! If that occurs then the no confidence motion against the Prime Minister would take priority and if that goes through then there will be no need to vote on no confidence motion against Karamarko! HDZ assures the public that the reason for its motion against the Prime Minister was not and is not to avoid the vote against Karamarko.
They have legitimate concerns about Prime Minister Oreskovic and have every right to have those addressed in the parliament. Certainly, I consider their concerns legitimate and am yet to be convinced that choosing a technocrat, an unelected person for the role of Prime Minister was the right decision to have made in the first place. It looked good at first as serious intentions and plans for “big” reforms were announced but at this stage that good is fast turning to bad as it appears that while he did not get to sit in the highest chair via political merits Oreskovic is certainly acting these days as becoming too big for his boots – politically. He should stick to the profession he was appointed for – to save the economy. But perhaps he is no “Super Mario” – Italy’s technocrat former Prime Minister Mario Monti considered as having saved Italy from collapse during Eurozone debt crisis 2011-2013.
At a press conference held in Zagreb on Tuesday 7 June Tomislav Karamarko announced that his party/HDZ was commencing the process of no confidence vote motion in the parliament and that there are plenty of reasons for this.
“This government is dysfunctional in many elements. We can pursue reforms only with new people. There is still time for new, homogenous and reshuffled government,” said Tomislav Karamarko. “ If the Prime Minister wants the leaders of the two parties in government to step down, then there is something very wrong in there. And before that he supported us. We are starting this motion because we consider that we need to be responsible for the voters, the public and the future…”
According to reports Zeljko Rajner, president of Croatian parliament had today, Wednesday 8 June 2016, included HDZ’s no confidence vote motion against Prime Minister Oreskovic and from that moment the official parliamentary process on the matter, i.e. the term of eight days within which the government needs to express its position on the motion, is considered to have commenced. From the moment when the government expresses its position on the matter of no confidence vote against Prime Minister motion the term of 30 days within which the parliament must express its position commences. As a matter of explanation there are no time limits/constraints within which the parliament must deliberate on the motion for no confidence vote for any other member of the government, such a Karamarko. 42 Members of Parliament have signed the proposal for the motion of no confidence vote against the Prime Minister and for the vote to be confirmed in favour of the motion there needs to be 76 votes.
The motion against the Prime Minister reportedly burdens Oreskovic on six points. That instead of dealing with and addressing the economy, social questions and creating new jobs he went about dealing with staffing in a repressive apparatus, that he “maintained political tension in the country in the interests of gaining personal political power”. HDZ reproaches Oreskovic for going to talks with the Security and Intelligence Services (SOA) on matters he kept secret from everyone at the exact time when he was to chair a meeting of the government. They say that by cancelling the government meeting and attending a secret meeting with SOA he “purposefully turned the Agency into a political factor” in the country, which, they add, could be seen as an attempt to introduce “bureaucratic dictatorship with the aid of a political apparatus”. HDZ members of parliament also criticize Oreskovic’s “completely absent will” to cooperate with representatives of political powers who gave him their trust to lead the government and say that his call for the two leaders/his deputies – on whose support his mandate depends – to step down, supports this claim.
“Because of such irresponsible political behavior, as well as the fact that Oreskovic, as a person without political legitimacy (was not elected into Parliament), is seeking resignations of people who chose him (for the role of Premier) the functioning of the country and its financial stability are jeopardised,” concluded the 42 parliamentarians who signed the motion for no confidence vote against Oreskovic.
The main opposition party, the Social Democrats (SDP), said they would support the motion against Oreskovic and wanted snap elections in mid-July, latest September!
“The election is a last solution as it would mean losing time, although I’m optimist even in the case of new election,” Karamarko said.
While HDZ headed by Karamarko believe they can muster up a new majority in parliament (without Most/Bridge coalition of independents, to form government, many analysts believe this attempt is likely to fail. The fever of this political crisis has pitched high now and most likely won’t be long for a resolution to surface. Some say that if Prime Minister Oreskovic falls then ministers resign and the government falls and snap elections are inevitable. But, in politics all is not always in accordance with known logic or predictable paths. It just could be that HDZ will masterfully shape a new majority in parliament and take lead in governing the country as its political legitimacy of being the largest recently elected block of seats in parliament deserves such a chance. This would certainly save the trouble and expense of new elections as well as prevent any further delay in dealing with needed reforms the HDZ part of coalition government had announced it would achieve. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)