Croatia: Snappish Coalitions For Snap Elections

Croatian Elections 2016

Early general elections in Croatia coming up second weekend of September 2016 have not only got behind them the brutally rushed toppling of a short-lived minority HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union–led government amidst founded and unfounded scandals, but are seeing the formation of snappish coalitions and an emergence of miniature political parties and individuals with irritating and irritable chips on their shoulders. All this spells out a possibility that the election results could well come back and bite the Croatian citizens in the back. With some unnatural coalitions between political parties that primarily point to individual candidate desperation to win seats at all costs and the stepping up the rhetoric on the stale dog’s breakfast of a guaranteed fantastic and prosperous future where there’ll be jobs for all, no thieves or corrupt in the public administration and public companies, debilitating foreign debt beat to a pulp and such, one really has difficulties is seeing much change on the political leadership scene from the previous elections of last decade or so. The only change that perhaps one might see is in seemingly more aggressive competition to secure local votes for individuals or smaller parties acting locally rather than nationally. It appears that most of the political coalitions in the elections race are counting on the draining of individual votes from bigger rival political parties to individual candidates running against those rival parties and who perhaps have local prestige or respect regardless of the fact they and their programs are hopeless for the nation as a whole. HDZ and its partners continue to emit the most sober campaign in comparison to the other parties.

 

For the parliament of 151 seats there are, according to the Croatian Electoral Commission) 2, 456 candidates (40% women; age range between 18 and 90 years) registered and are vying for a seat, including 29 candidates for ethnic minorities. 2016 polls will dish out to the voters 20 various coalitions of 60 political parties, 29 political parties going independently, 3 lists of independent candidates and 6 lists of candidates for ethnic minorities. The sheer numbers of candidates is enough to give any person desirous of a stable government and stable political climate a migraine. It’s very clear that these elections are much about securing a seat for an individual candidate and then pinning it to the victory of their coalition’s leading party. Croatia is bound to be the big loser if the coalitions formed to muster up individual local candidate wins into a win of government or significant number of seats actually win government. The disarray will no longer be in the uncompromising differences between political parties’ platforms but within the actual coalition trying to govern the country as if it’s one party.

In this turbulent sea of thousands of candidates and dozens of political parties running for government the Croatian media has so far given the impression that there are, after all, some leading political camps that have good chances of winning either majority or minority government or the chance to contribute to the forming of a future government.

Andrej Plenkovic, HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

Andrej Plenkovic,
HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union
Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

The centre-right party Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, was the relative winner in November 2015 elections when it won 59 seats. With Tihomir Oreskovic as its technocratic Prime Minister HDZ held minority government with Most/Bridge group of independents only to be toppled amidst scandals in June of this year. HDZ was at the helm of Croatia leading it into secession from communist Yugoslavia and holding government between 1990 and 2000, during the war years, as well as between 2003 and 2011. The new HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic, a experienced diplomat and EU parliamentarian, was elected as party president in July of this year, seemingly turning the party more to the centre. HDZ decided to compete in the elections alone this time, only considering coalition with individual candidates/partners from smaller parties in certain local areas. Its election campaign trail appears to be spotted with significant victory projections across traditionally conservative electorates but not seemingly enough to project at this stage an outright majority government win on September 11. One thing that’s standing out in HDZ election campaign is its rather successful thrust to present Plenkovic to the Croatian public as a desirable leader for the country, however, the campaign appears in my view to lack adequate presentation of the other ingredient usually associated with election victory: presentation of a strong team rather than individual that will lead Croatia into a better future.

Bozo Petrov Most/Bridge of independent parties Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

Bozo Petrov
Most/Bridge of independent lists
Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

The Most/Bridge of Independent Lists is a relatively new political party functioning as a group of individual politicians, small-town and municipal mayors formed in 2012 in the small town of Metkovic that claimed and claims to be a ‘third way’ party – the solution to get Croatia out of the rut of a two-party system or two big political parties dominating the political scene in Croatia. It secured 19 seats in November 2015 elections and, hence, became the element that shook and rattled Croatia for a few weeks to finally decide to side with HDZ rather than centre-left Social Democrats/SDP in forming Croatia’s short-lived government in January 2016. It’s president Bozo Petrov, a 37-year-old psychiatrist from Metkovic, where he has been mayor since 2013 has lost a number of his coalition members due to disputes but regardless of that Most/Bridge is still expected to come in as a “third force” and perhaps once again be the one to call the shots which of the major parties (HDZ or SDP) will form the future government even if Petrov says that Most will never go into a coalition again.

History repeats itself saying has never to my knowledge come with good or a positive thing.

 

Zoran Milanovic SDP/Social DEmocratic Party Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

Zoran Milanovic
SDP/Social Democratic Party
Photo: Screenshot hrt.hr 3 September 2016

In its new coalition the centre-left SDP/Social Democratic Party (the former League of Communists) led by Zoran Milanovic has changed its name from Croatia Grows to the People’s Coalition and added or changed the parties in its coalition to the point that spells out desperation to win even if judging by its performance in the 2011-2015 government – it should be placed on a political scrap heap for quite a number of years. This time around SDP continues to work with the centre-left Croatian People’s Party/HNS and has pulled in new coalition partners in the Croatian Party of Pensioners, HSU, and the centre-right Croatian Peasants’ Party, HSS, which was a part of the HDZ-led Patriotic Coalition last November. It seems that HSS’s leader’s Kreso Beljak’s history of vandalism and theft convictions under the crimes law makes no difference in SDP’s selection of its coalition partner’s. While the notions of rehabilitation and second chances may be an acceptable way to lead life they certainly don’t factor as acceptable for members of a government in my book, especially when there’s much noise about corruption and theft in government bodies. Social Democrats are leading a campaign of dirt slinging against HDZ especially, and yet they themselves seem to have gathered quite a bit of dirt under their wings, showing it off, even, without blinking an eye. Not a good look for a party desirous of winning government but – there it is.

Ivan Lovrinovic (L) and Ivan Vilibor Sincic (R) Only Option Coalition Photo: makarsko-primorje.com

Ivan Lovrinovic (L) and
Ivan Vilibor Sincic (R)
Only Option Coalition
Photo: makarsko-primorje.com

The so-called Only Option Coalition was formed in July and is led by the anti-establishment Living Wall. Living Wall was created in 2011 from a civic movement fighting foreclosures and evictions by occupying buildings and is led by Ivan Vilibor Sincic. Three former Most/Bridge MPs, as well as the Association Franak (an NGO set up to lobby for people with loans in Swiss francs, whose debts rose due to a steep rise in the value of the franc) join living Wall in the coalition. The Only Option Coalition is said to be gaining momentum that may, as far as seats won is concerned,  place it on equal footing to the Most/Bridge wins and, therefore, make it an another camp with which a future minority government would negotiate terms to form government especially since Most/Bridge says it will not enter into any coalition with anybody.

Milan Bandic Coalition for Prime Minister Photo: hrt.hr

Milan Bandic
Coalition for Prime Minister
Photo: hrt.hr

The veteran Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic and his party Bandic Milan 365 – Party of Labour and Solidarity, leads the current Coalition for Prime Minister. Bandic, an ex-SDP member, has joined forces with two other ex-major party members who are factoring noticeably on the Croatian political scene: Ivo Baldasar from city of Split, an ex-SDP and Radimir Cacic of Reformists, an ex- HNS member. Bandic’s coalition also claims to be Croatia’s answer for a “third way”, however current polls predictions are quite slim for this camp – up to 2 or 3 seats in total.
There are two regional parties that won seats at the November elections and are likely to win some at the upcoming polls: the Istrian Democratic Assembly, IDS, and the Croatian Democratic Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja, HDSSB. While IDS is likely to continue favouring SDP as they themselves are riddled with former communists, HDSSB if it wins seats although ideologically close to the more right than centre-right is likely to keep its final preferences in the pocket to the last minute.

Archbishop Zelimir Puljic

Archbishop Zelimir Puljic

While polls suggest that a week before elections every fifth voter is undecided (HRT news 3 September 2016) and, therefore, surprises are possible including a majority government elected, the fact remains that neither of the two major parties seem to have done much work in wooing new voters into their camps and the election results will demonstrate that a large number of Croatian voters leaning towards the centre-left parties have made little if any progress in leaving the lingering pro-communist Yugoslavia mentality behind. Perhaps that is why the Croatian Bishops have Thursday 25 August sent via Archbishop of Zadar Zelimir Puljic their own message to Croatian voters to “familiarise themselves with candidates’ programs, especially the ones to do with the economy and to focus their attention on how individual political parties intend to continue with the process of education reform and the democratisation of the society as well as the confrontation with the communist past.” Could not have said it better myself. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Croatia: Election Debate Fizzer Spurs New Splinter Of Hope

Zoran Milanovic (L), Social Democrats/SDP Andrej Plenkovic (R), Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ

Zoran Milanovic (L), Social Democrats/SDP
Andrej Plenkovic (R), Croatian Democratic Union/HDZ

 

It was going to be the debate of a decade – Croatian media promised, building up high expectations and nail-biting anticipation for the televised debate held Friday 12 August 2016 between the leaders of the Croatian two biggest parties: Andrej Plenkovic/ HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union and Zoran Milanovic/SDP/Social Democratic Party. It was going to be the debate that would shift voters from either camp into the other and end the misery of the two parties seemingly being neck to neck for the upcoming election. It was going to be a hard debate on the issues of economic growth, employment and debts; highlighting the answers. Alas – a debate it was but one conducted between two seemingly personal friends who do not want to step on each other’s toes. No room for that in politics of a country riddled with all sorts of crises – political, economic, and ideological, if you ask me.

Walking away from this debate one could not shake off the nasty feeling that the coming ballot might not end the political deadlock, which usually ends in a minority government. A large number of undecided voters will be the key but if Croatia gets another hung parliament the likely kingmaker would once again be the reformist Most party, or Bridge, which despite numerous new independent smaller coalitions appearing like mushrooms after the rain, now has the support of about 10% of voters. Most/Bridge has proven to be a destructive force rather than the one capable of building and fortifying bridges into stable government.

Croatia needs decisive reforms to fix its fragile public finances, significantly improve the investment climate, spur bold growth and reduce public debt now standing at 86% of GDP. While we know from his last performance as Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic has no chance whatsoever in achieving these priority goals for Croatia, even with the political bubble-and-squeak coalitions he has concocted, it is at the same time difficult to ascertain from his seemingly measured, polite and controlled appearance last Friday whether Andrej Plenkovic of HDZ has got the skills and the oomph to make the outcomes for those goals happen for Croatia.

Milanovic, former prime minister of a government that almost ruined completely the economy, said Croatia needed a stable government and a safe direction for economic development. Milanovic has gathered around his SDP a coalition of all-shades-of-red and many a ranting political lunatics (including himself and the former president Stjepan Mesic who is re-entering politics out of furious revenge against conservative HDZ, who had in recent months cut his cushy benefits as former President) that can only announce to Croatia not stability but a meal of political bubble-and-squeak bound to turn Croatia into a state of fatal indigestion that blocks any progress of anything and in particular democratic ideology. He promised if in power his party would impose no new taxes and would strive to create more jobs for youth and invest more in education that would amount to 2% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Plenkovic refuted Milanovic’s idea of no new taxes, saying it was Milanovic who increased the value-added tax rate (Good and services tax) to 25% when he was the Prime Minister. He added HDZ would reduce the rate to 24% in second year of next government and by the end of the term to 23%. Meanwhile, the party would undertake the reform of the corporate and income taxes, he said.
So, both promised to lower the tax burden for citizens and businesses. But, 2017 is looking like a particularly challenging year financially; Croatia will need almost 30 billion Kuna (US$4.5 billion/4 billion Euro) just for refinancing bonds and interest payments.

Regarding debts, Milanovic said the previous HDZ government has left the government a huge budget deficit. He said it was during his term that Croatia for the first time ever had a positive balance of payments in the amount of 2% of the budget.

Plenkovic argued during Milanovic’s term, public debt has drastically increased, saying HDZ would reduce the debts with economic growth and using state-owned assets.
When questioned on employment, both of them pledged to encourage job creation but gave no specific plans.

Regarding how to deal with a possible new migrant crisis, Plenkovic said he believed there would be no new migrant wave. He said the problem of protecting external borders has been solved at the European Union level.

While Milanovic said his government did quite well last year on the refugee issue, SDP would act same way if there would be a new wave of refugees.

 

All in all, it appeared to me like in that fable: the mountain was roaring in labour, it thundered but in the end a mouse was born. The debate provided the audience with few barely superficial answers to pressing thundering crucial questions relating to the economic growth, unemployment and national debt even if the prelude did promise earth-shattering outcome from the debate and point the voters to a saviour new government.

The debate appeared more about who had performed the worst as government of the past: SDP or HDZ! Little was said about real and realistic solutions for the future that would help undecided voters make up their minds or, indeed, supporters of either jump ship and decide to support the other party. The TV host did try to provoke gently or prod the speakers so as to make the debate spring to life, be more spirited and stronger, even called the debate a conflict at one stage, which was fiercely negated by the two speakers, the debate was a right old fizzer.

The speakers left the impression that as far as any disagreements they may have on the important issues these were neither fundamental nor substantial, if at all existing.

Pero Barbaric Pepi (L) General Zeljko Glasnovic (C) ILija Cvitanovic (R)

Pero Barbaric Pepi (L)
General Zeljko Glasnovic (C)
Ilija Cvitanovic (R)

No wonder that almost immediately after this fizzer of a debate, which left the voter no clearer as to the direction Croatia must take in bettering its living standards and democratic processes, a leading HDZ politician, member of Croatian Parliament representing the diaspora, General Zeljko Glasnovic, made his final decision to abandon HDZ and file Saturday 13 August with the electoral commission his own ticket of independent candidatures for the diaspora (Croats living abroad) electorate. His rather surprising move appears to have echoed positively particularly there where it counts for him: among Croats abroad. Indeed, it was the Croats abroad without whom the creation of the modern independent state of Croatia would not have been possible. So while Friday’s debate between SDP and HDZ suggested much of what Croatia fought for had recklessly been watered down General Glasnovic’s move injected new hope for a strong and focused future. His motives to go separate ways from HDZ are attached to his vision about what according to him is best for Croatia, for Croatian diaspora, for Croats living in Bosnia and Herzegovina and for the Croatian Homeland War veterans.

As member of parliament Glasnovic championed and persisted with the need for Croatia to impose lustration and rid its key public administration and corporations of former communists – rid itself of elements that work against investments, business developments and cause mass emigration of young people who have no or very little prospects for gainful employment in Croatia.

Primarily, it was my conscience that moved me to this. I cannot and I do not want to be a ‘fig leaf’ for interest groups nor just another mute on the parliamentary benches,” said General Glasnovic in his press release Saturday 13 August regarding his bold move to split from HDZ.
If we want to survive as a nation we must set priority political goals… A quarter of a century has passed since the Homeland War and Croatia has still not successfully integrated its human and other available resources.
Why is Croatia remaining to be a dysfunctional state?
Interest groups whose primary interest lies in self-interest and not in the building of a functional and modern Croatian state have led Croatia for too long…
It’s scandalous that a Croat born outside Croatia needs about 3 years to receive Croatian citizenship. It’s also scandalous that people who have been destroying the Croatian state for decades still sit on the benches of our parliament and are present in all bodies of the government. Retroactive laws, which were supposed to reckon with business crime, war profiteering and with betrayal of national interests had never made it to the parliamentary proceedings. Academic and human resources lustration remain taboo topics in our society.
Without the establishment of a new value system Croatia will never experience a catharsis…”

And I couldn’t agree more – without a new value system that rejects and destroys every single and all spores of the former communist regime (or at least moves into a true return to the one announced in the speeches dr Franjo Tudjman delivered in 1990/1991), Croatia will forever struggle to complete the goals of full freedom and democracy it set out to achieve in 1990/1991 – democracy and prosperity. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

New Croatian Government Exposes Opposition’s Communist Killjoys of Democracy And Progress

 

 

Government of Croatia 2016 Photo: www.vlada.hr Prime Minister: Tihomir Oreskovic First Deputy Prime Minister: Tomislav Karamarko Deputy Prime Minister: Bozo Petrov Minister Internal Affairs: Vlaho Orepic Minister Foreign and European Affairs: Miro Kovac Minister of Finances: Zdravko Maric Minister of Defense: Josip Buljevic Minister of Justice: Ante Sprlje Minister of Administration: Dubravka Jurlina-Alibegovic Minister of Agriculture: Davor Romic Minister of Environment Protection: Slaven Dobrovic Minister of Economy: Tomislav Panenic Minister Veterans' Affairs: Mijo Crnoja Minister of Construction/Building: Lovro Kuscevic Minister of Business: Darko Horvat Minister of Maritime, Traffic and Infrastructure: Oleg Butkovic Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds: Tomislav Tolusic Minister for Social Politics and Youth: Bernardica Juretic Minister for Tourism: Anton Kliman Minister for Employment and Retirement Funds: Nada Sikic Minister for Health: Dario Nakic Minister for Science, Education and Sport: Predrag Sustar Minister for Culture: Zlatko Hasanbegovic

Government of Croatia 2016
Photo: http://www.vlada.hr
Prime Minister: Tihomir Oreskovic
First Deputy Prime Minister: Tomislav Karamarko
Deputy Prime Minister: Bozo Petrov
Minister Internal Affairs: Vlaho Orepic
Minister Foreign and European Affairs: Miro Kovac
Minister of Finances: Zdravko Maric
Minister of Defense: Josip Buljevic
Minister of Justice: Ante Sprlje
Minister of Administration: Dubravka Jurlina-Alibegovic
Minister of Agriculture: Davor Romic
Minister of Environment Protection: Slaven Dobrovic
Minister of Economy: Tomislav Panenic
Minister Veterans’ Affairs: Mijo Crnoja (Resigned 28/01/2016)
Minister of Construction/Building: Lovro Kuscevic
Minister of Business: Darko Horvat
Minister of Maritime, Traffic and Infrastructure: Oleg Butkovic
Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds: Tomislav Tolusic
Minister for Social Politics and Youth: Bernardica Juretic
Minister for Tourism: Anton Kliman
Minister for Employment and Retirement Funds: Nada Sikic
Minister for Health: Dario Nakic
Minister for Science, Education and Sport: Predrag Sustar
Minister for Culture: Zlatko Hasanbegovic

 

BIOGRAPHIES/CVs of Croatia’s new Government officials can be found HERE

 

 

It took 14 hours of presentation of Tihomir Oreskovic’s new centre-right cabinet for the new government and its program and discussions in the Croatian Parliament on Friday 22 January 2016 for the same government to earn a majority vote of confidence. The “deed” was done close to Midnight – at just after 11 pm the vote was cast: out of 149 members present 83 voted for, 61 against and 5 abstained while 2 members were absent. Tihomir “Tim” Oreskovic is Croatia’s new Prime Minister while the leader of HDZ/Croatian Democratic Union Tomislav Karamarko is the First Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy being Bozo Petrov, leader of the Most/Bridge coalition of independents. Immediately after the vote in the parliament, Oreskovic and 22 members of his cabinet were sworn in inside the parliament.

Oreskovic inherits an economy recovering from a six-year recession and grappling with one of the highest public-debt burdens in the European Union, the results of years of political resistance to overhauling the economy and installing democratic practices in public administration as opposed to those inherited from five decades of communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia. The main tasks for the new government will be to repair the country’s public finances, usher in and install economic growth, attract new investors into Croatia, secure an upgrade of credit rating from junk status, reduce high unemployment, grapple with the suffocating influx of refugees/migrants and, hopefully, tackle the unfinished business of eradicating the matters that negatively impact on Croatian unity and prosperity and which are associated with the communist totalitarian regime of former Yugoslavia and its remnants that continue poisoning democratic advances in the society and its structures.

Heads of New Croatian Government From left: Bozo Petrov, Deputy PM, Tomislav Karamarko, First Deputy PM and Tihomir Oreskovic, Prime Minister Photo; Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

Heads of New Croatian Government
From left: Bozo Petrov, Deputy PM, Tomislav Karamarko, First Deputy PM
and Tihomir Oreskovic, Prime Minister
Photo; Sanjin Strukic/Pixsell

I am ready to take over the challenges… We should be ready to make difficult decisions,” Oreskovic told the parliament in Zagreb ahead of the vote.

His “pledge to cut the budget deficit and secure better credit ratings has won investors’ blessing,” Bloomberg reports.

Much of the operational task of repairing the state finance and restoring the economy will fall to the new finance minister, Zdravko Maric (a state secretary in the finance ministry during a previous HDZ government and in the past four years worked as a senior executive in Croatia’s largest company by earnings, food concern Agrokor, and was in charge of capital markets) and the new economy minister, Tomislav Panenic (the head of the eastern municipality of Tompojevci and a Most/Bridge coalition representative). They will have to cope with public debt near 90% of GDP and a 2015 budget deficit expected to come to around 4.5 % of GDP.

With more than 600,000 refugees/migrants passing through Croatia since mid-September 2015 and influx continuing despite the freezing winter weather the task of saving Croatia from being incapacitated and clogged up from the sheer numbers of people moving through, remaining a while…will indeed remain on the agenda for the foreseeable future.

Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic (left) Minister Mijo Crnoja (right)

Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic (left)
Minister Mijo Crnoja (right) (resigned/28 Jan)

The appointments of Zlatko Hasanbegovic, a notable historian at the Institute for Social Research “Ivo Pilar”, as the minister of culture and Mijo Crnoja, a retired colonel of the Croatian army, as minister for veterans’ affairs have given rise to unsavoury protests by civic groups and the Social Democrats opposition in particular.

As expected, given that the Social Democrats or former Yugoslav Communists have lost government they and their ideological partners from the media have mounted an ideological lynch against the new government, branding it fascist, Ustashe  – attempting to place the new government into what’s often referred to as the darkness of the WWII era. All this in concentrated efforts to try and save the communist totalitarian regime of Yugoslavia from its deserved condemnation and banishment from today’s democracy. These protesters call themselves antifascists but if anything they were and are far from the true and noble antifascism. It’s Hasanbegovic’s 2015 televised opinion in which he said that the only time, the only war in which Croatians were true victors was the 1990’s Homeland War and that Yugoslav antifascism was/is nothing more than a platitude that has caused the protests against him. In the parliament on Friday 22 January 2016 the Social Democrat opposition branded him a pro-Ustashi and a denier of antifascism and, furthermore, sparked protests against him in a street or two. Reacting, the leader of Hasanbegovic’s HDZ party, now First Deputy Prime Minister of Croatia, Tomislav Karamarko, said that it was high time Croatia differentiates between the totalitarian communist regime of former Yugoslavia and antifascism, that communists of Croatia (Yugoslavia) were not antifascists.

Bravo, Karamarko – the truth gets heard from high places.

Hasanbegovic defended his opinion and said that all his critics should read his works in full and not take words out of context. “They all abuse the concept of antifascism, and every serious historian knows that the concept can be fluid because various meanings can be ascribed to it. Stalin, Tito and Pol Pot were antifascists and so was the American General Patten, mentioned by the parliamentarians who do not want to teach history. We are not talking about an abstract antifascism but about the Yugoslav totalitarian inheritance. The modern Croatian stated has emerged as contrast to Yugoslav communism. And the fundamental Croatian constitutional values – democracy, parliamentarianism, independence, freedom and human rights – are in perfect opposition to the Yugoslav totalitarian heritage. I have been expressing my views and opinions about Titoism publicly, with scientific and professional responsibility and I do not see one reason why I should change one single comma to my statements.”

Well said Hasanbegovic and Karamarko – it is high time that the communist scum from WWII and after it be placed where they belong: away from antifacism and into the dungeons of contempt and condemnation.

The new veterans affairs minister Mijo Crnoja (I’m so pleased to know the man I wrote about in my previous post has made it to Minister!) attracted hateful comments and protests from the same camp: Social Democrats and Yugoslav communism nostalgics. His reported plan to compile a register of traitors of Croatian national interests and aggressors against Croatia is the thorn in their eyes – of course it would be – they see themselves on that register. Hence, they brand Crnoja a dictator, oppressor and that his plans for these lists spell terror. Communist League (today’s Social Democrats) walked out of Croatian parliament in 1991 in protest against the proposed vote to secede from communist Yugoslavia and make Croatia an independent democratic state and they have been undermining that Croatian freedom for a quarter of a century – of course they will fight with all their might to avoid communism being shown up for what it truly was and is: a political force that is evil and that should be buried for once and for all.(NOTE: Crnoja resigned as minister on 28 January 2016 amidst unproven allegations from the communist inclined opposition of improper conduct regarding his registered abode where he was supposed to but had not yet built his house and registered a shed as his residence!)

The new government is made up of a number of political novices including the Prime Minister Tihomir “Tim” Oreskovic, but together with the politically experienced colleagues they are all, as Oreskovic describes, “high-quality people from the business sector, the academic community and the public sector. They are ‘Tim’s Team’”.

Framework for Transforming Croatia January 2016

Framework for Transforming Croatia
January 2016

 

Despite some minor naturally occurring  “teething problems” the new government composed of different political groups has or may encounter as it gets down to work it is difficult to predict how successful this new government will be but if its focus on professionalism and intended reforms rather than political maneuvering are anything to go by then it’s future looks solid and promising. As to the protests and hateful outbursts coming out of the opposition parties and former communists and their sympathisers one could say it’s a given that any parliamentary or government opposition anywhere in the world in any democracy has the job of opposing anything and almost everything the government or its officials say and of making a great deal of noise, throwing negative lights at the government but what occurred in Croatia on Friday 22 January and days preceding it, and after, has nothing to do with healthy democratic discourse to benefit a betterment of citizens’ lives and everything to do with continued desperate efforts to cover up communist crimes of the former Yugoslav lot. Croatia’s parliamentary opposition, of centre-left persuasion, isn’t showing signs of intending to act as a shadow government that works for the betterment of citizens’ lives and their standard of living. As they assess the reasons why they lost the elections they are becoming noticeably bitter, twisted, unhappy killjoys of democracy because they are doing everything they can to disrupt enjoyment of democracy and the business of a democratic government, which of course, in this case would include the clearing up of past communist ways that stifle progress. As an example, Prime Minister’s Powerpoint presentation in parliament of his new government’s plan to transform Croatia for the better included a pyramid of priorities and the Social Democrat Ingrid Anticevic-Marinovic held it up in an envious rage saying that all it needed was the eye at the top to tell people what it really was: a Masonic pyramid; insinuating evilly that “Masons” have taken over in Croatia. Oh,  I do often admire the stamina of the majority of Croatian people for tolerating political idiots such as Anticevic-Marinovic without contracting stomach ulcers. Undoubtedly, because of the former communists within the left and centre-left political persuasion democracy in Croatia has since Croatia’s independence from communist Yugoslavia had a fragile existence and poor development and proliferation into every aspect of daily life and it’s time that the former Yugoslav communism is called a criminal regime, not just totalitarian and definitely not referred to as an antifascist movement a moment longer. It’s a good sign the latter is being reverberated from the mouths of members of the new government in Croatia. Croatia does not only need an economic transformation it also needs a transformation of daily living into democratic rights and responsibilities and that can only be achieved through decisive rejection of any aspects of former Yugoslav communism as partners in strengthening democracy. Lustration is a must for Croatia. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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