General Zeljko Glasnovic’s Vote Averts Dissolution Of Croatian Parliament

 

Gordan Jandrokovic (L)
Andrej Plenkovic (R)
Photo: Nah

In developed democracies it’s normal, in fact it’s expected for any government that does not command a majority in the parliament to do deals and make concessions. There’s nothing “dodgy” about it – it is a reality of the political system that has in its nucleus benefits for the people who vote politicians into the parliament. But as politics of deception would have it, Croatia’s Social Democrat led opposition and the now defunct MOST wing of independents that were coalition partners in government attempted Friday 5th May to convince the Croatian public that making deals for the betterment of people’s lives was unacceptable, even fraught with unparliamentary shoddiness, illegalities and personal gains!

It is a blessing that many people in Croatia recognise the fact that lobbying on behalf of the constituency is in fact the desirable product of a democratic system and order and see the Social Democrats’ and MOST’s cries in parliament last Friday as nothing more than a losers’ cry. Indeed, the oppositions’ cries in parliament Friday 5th May were nothing more than peddling of populist rhetoric all day long in order to confuse the people and fuel outrage that has no truth-based standing.

Thankfully, clear policies for the betterment of people’s lives did shine through in the parliament in Zagreb, Friday 5th May. The focus of those policies has everything to do with mitigating or avoiding damaging economic consequences that would arise in the event of a collapse of government at the time when political stability is needed.

Mid last week Croatia’s HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union led government was on the verge of a second collapse with a mere six months’ period and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic found himself in the grips of last ditch efforts to avert the collapse and dissolution of the current Parliament. A political crisis intensified Thursday 4 May and the likelihood of of parliament dissolution followed bysnap general elections hovered dangerously close as HDZ appeared to struggle in finding enough fresh parliamentary partners who would support the election of a new Speaker after Bozo Petrov, of HDZ’s junior partner in coalition government -MOST, resigned and MOST was out of the picture. Friday 5 May arrived and HDZ had the parliamentary majority that would ensure the election of the new Speaker, Gordan Jandrokovic and a collapse averted. HDZ

General Zeljko Glasnovic,
Member of Croatian Parliament
for Croats Living Abroad/ Diaspora
Photo: Goran Mehkek/Cropix

The independent MP General Zeljko Glasnovic provided Friday 5 May the crucial vote that has enabled the election of HDZ’s Gordan Jandrokovic as new Speaker. On the same day Glasnovic had published on his Facebook page the demands he had put forward to the government as a deal for his supporting vote. The demands are in line with Glasnovic’s program as MP and included the payment of debts owed to former HVO (Croatian Defence Council) veterans of 1990’s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, speeding up the parliamentary process the law on Croatian Homeland War veterans, that a plenary meeting be held as soon as possible on issues pertaining to the Croatian diaspora (including Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina) encompassing the scrapping of unnecessary bureaucracy, the speeding up of collating a list of all Croats living in the diaspora, the speeding up/shortening of citizenship process for Croats living abroad, the solving of double-taxation problem on foreign pensions and the development of an action plan to include business people from the diaspora along with legislating for it. His demands met with agreement and the document of demands was signed by the Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, the minister for veterans affairs Tomo Medved and the state secretary of ministry of foreign affairs Zdravka Busic.

As indicated above Glasnovic’s demands or bases for negotiating his support in order to avert parliament’s dissolution were met with opposition’s labelling in terms of “influence trading” and Glasnovic was faced with vicious, populist and unfounded attacks hours upon hours in the parliament. But, the day was won and new Speaker elected.

The significance of these events that ensued in the Croatian parliament goes beyond the mere saving of the parliament from dissolution at times when the economy needs stability and many livelihoods are in jeopardy due to failing companies and employment. The significance of the events lies also in that it demonstrated, for all that would look and see, a clear sign that authoritarian rule is in fact, albeit slow, in clear decay, nevertheless, and democratic transition is kicking in all the more. The lobby for constituency benefits is in fact what parliament and democracy are about. Strategic, positive, interactions between the constituency needs, the parliamentary representative and the parliament are abundantly clear in the case of General Glasnovic’s support vote last Friday.

Minority governments are becoming frequent in Croatia as they are elsewhere in the world. Because a minority removes temporal certainty from the picture, all of the essential political roles of government and opposition are speeded up, and the need for electoral readiness replaces certainty and predictability. All parties are in play all the time, and politics and short-term positioning are in the ascendant, because no one knows how long the parliament will last. And virtually every issue ” from the substantive to the minuscule ” becomes an opportunity for short-term partisan advantage.

 

What also results is a confrontation within the basic principles of a democratic system: the government’s “right to govern” and the official opposition’s ”duty to oppose.” No one would deny the right of a minority government to govern; reality demands it. Similarly, no one would gainsay the need for the official opposition to develop its plan for an alternate government. But all three groups ” the government, the official opposition and the other parties and independents ” are subject to another key consideration. That consideration is how to read the public’s take on when the next election ceases to be excessive and unnecessary and becomes an acceptable and logical outcome of a minority having run its course.

Hence we come to the need to ”make Parliament work,” which is a constant of minorities and also an essential. If the various parties never find ways to put some water in their wine, every minority would fall on the presentation of its first Throne Speech or first budget, and we would literally have an election every year until someone scored a majority.

What is different about the current round in Croatia’s parliament is that the opposition in effect ceded their “duty to oppose” aspect by feeding unfounded, populist and deceiving attacks upon a member of the parliament (Glasnovic) and the government for doing their job and duty. Ina Vukic

Comments

  1. You have to respect The General…he’s the best. I met him on several occasions and was thoroughly impressed with him. Svaka Cast, General.

    Like

  2. Veronika says:

    The only respectable politicians in Croatia, who actually have integrity and true love for Croatia and her people are: Glasnovic, Esih, Hasanbegovic, Culej. The majority of the rest are self-serving opportunists!

    Like

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  1. […] the wake of last week’s political crisis, while it achieved the success of electing a new parliament Speaker – Gordan Jandrokovic – […]

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