Croatia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against deputy PM over Agrokor crisis

Croatia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against deputy PM over Agrokor crisis
Bozo Petrov, leader of opposition Most, which filed the no-confidence motion.
By bne IntelliNews March 20, 2018

Croatia's opposition party Most, the third strongest party in parliament, filed a no-confidence motion against Deputy Prime Minister Martina Dalic on March 20. The minister was accused of failing to exercise sufficient control over the emergency management appointed to stave off bankruptcy at indebted food concern Agrokor.

It is not clear whether the motion will be backed by enough MPs to remove Dalic, although Most expects that it will be supported by majority of those from the opposition.

In addition, there is speculation the government may no longer be able to count on the support of MPs representing the ethnic Serb minority. In February, Milorad Pupovac, a leading Croatian Serb politician and an MP, said that his party had conditioned continuing support for the centre-right government on the departure of Dalic. Without the support of the three MPs from Pupovac’s party, the opposition can win the vote.

Agrokor, Croatia’s largest company and one of the largest employers in the SEE region, is undergoing restructuring after a debt crisis pushed it to the brink of collapse in early 2017. The Croatian government has since stepped in to appoint emergency management at the group.

However, in February crisis manager Ante Ramljak stepped down after the government voiced discontent that his former employer had been hired as a consultant on the restructuring programme.

According to Most, Dalic, who is also the economy minister, should have known who was chosen as consultants for Agrokor and what fees were paid to them, Total Croatia reported.

"Someone has to bear a political responsibility, and Dalic chose Ramljak," Most parliamentary deputy Nikola Grmoja was quoted as saying after filing the no-confidence motion.

In November last year, another opposition party, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), filed a no-confidence motion against the whole government over the way it handled the crisis in Agrokor. The government as expected survived the motion.

The vote must take place within 30 days.

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