Croatian Democratic Union takes over parliament speaker post

By bne IntelliNews May 7, 2017

The Croatian parliament elected Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) member Gordan Jandrokovic as its new speaker on late May 5, with the support of 76 MPs in the 151-seat parliament.

HDZ officials claim that the support of 76 MPs for Jandrokovic is a clear sign that HDZ still has a majority, albeit a wafer thin one of just one vote. However, the opposition does not agree and is looking to dismiss the government and hold a snap election. 

Jandrokovic won the vote on May 5 after the HDZ managed to win over independent MP Zeljko Glasnovic, who changed his mind in favour of Jandrokovic at the last minute. On May 5, Glasnovic published an agreement signed with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on his Facebook page. According to the agreement, Plenkovic has agreed to deliver higher public payments to the Croatian Defense Council (HVO) members, former war veterans.

The vote took place after Bridge of Independent Lists (Most) leader Bozo Petrov resigned on May 4 from his post as Croatia’s parliament speaker, saying he wanted to protect the parliament’s dignity. 

Following the speaker vote, the HDZ is expected to attempt to appoint a new government. Currently, the government lacks three ministers – interior, justice and energy – after Most ministers resigned on April 28 when its coalition with the HDZ split.

However, this will only happen once the parliament reconvenes after local elections to be held on May 21 and June 4. At the first parliament session after the local elections, the HDZ will have to prove its majority to appoint new ministers.

Previously, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric narrowly survived a no confidence vote on May 4. MPs were evenly split in the confidence vote, with 75 voting in favour of Maric while another 75 voted against him. This allowed him to keep his post since the SDP did not attract the 76 votes needed to oust him. 

The results of the votes on Maric and Jandrokovic were seen encouraging for the HDZ. “The vote of no confidence was the first and key point for the survival of the government, because if it had been passed, the dissolution of the parliament would have been the most likely option,” Raiffeisen analysts wrote on May 5. 

“Now, the possibility of early elections declined slightly (to 40% from 50%) but still it is unclear whether the prime minister will manage to form a new cabinet.”

Meanwhile, the HDZ faces attempts from several opposition parties to remove it from office. Most submitted a motion to dissolve the parliament on May 3. The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) also supports the idea of snap elections. SDP leader Davor Bernardic said on May 5 that Croatia does not have a stable parliamentary majority, Hina reported. The government, after four cabinet ministers were fired, has become non-functional, according to Bernardic.

Ivan Vrdoljak, the president of the small but influential liberal-left Croatian People’s Party (HNS), said on May 4 that his party would call for a no-confidence vote against Plenkovic cabinet.

The SDP has also filed no-confidence motions against three HDZ deputy speakers and Economy Minister Martina Dalic, the latter over conflict of interest in the Agrokor case.

However, after holding talks with representatives of parliamentary parties and independent lawmakers on May 5, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, a former HDZ member, said that majority of lawmakers were against snap polls. She called on Plenkovic to appoint new ministers as soon as possible.

 

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