Croatian PM-designate Oreskovic announces proposed cabinet

Croatian PM-designate Oreskovic announces proposed cabinet
By bne IntelliNews January 21, 2016

Tihomir Oreskovic, Croatia’s non-party prime minister-designate, has announced a government line-up consisting of members of the Patriotic Coalition,  led by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and Most, which emerged as the kingmaker from November's inconclusive general election. 

"It is a healthy mix of young and new people who will cooperate together," said the former pharmaceuticals exectuve. "It is important to me that we have a team spirit. We have gathered already this morning, the team is positive and full of energy”, he added, according to Total Croatia News.

The leader of HDZ, Tomislav Karamarko, will hold the position of first deputy prime minister, while the head of Most, Bozo Petrov, will be deputy prime minister in the new cabinet.

Oreskovic nominated Zdravko Maric to take over the finance ministry portfolio. Maric has been in the past four years an executive at Croatia’s biggest company Agrokor. However, he also has experience in the public sector, having worked as state secretary during a previous HDZ government.

Tomislav Panenic, mayor of Tompojevci municipality in Vukovar-Syrmia County, has been nominated economy minister.

Miro Kovac, a former diplomat and currently internal affairs secretary at HDZ, will become foreign minister. 

Negotiations over the forming of the new government lasted more than two months after the November elections ended inconclusively. Most, the party which emerged as kingmaker, and the Patriotic Coalition, which won the largest number of seats in the parliament, eventually agreed in late December to form the new government.  Together, the two political entities proposed non-partisan Oreskovic as prime minister designate.

The new government is expected to focus on reforms. Most’s reform agenda includes the reorganisation of local and public administration, reform of the judiciary, tax reform, enhancing the business environment and a more active monetary policy stance.

The government will benefit from the economic recovery after six consecutive years of recession, but will have the task of reducing the country’s deficit and public debt, which is nearing 90% of GDP. 

Foreign Minister Kovac will have another difficult task, to deal not only with the migrants issue – Croatia being one of the countries on the so-called Balkan route – but also with the tense relationship with the countries’ neighbours.

Croatia’s stance on the migrants might change dramatically once the new minister takes over his portfolio. The former SDP-led government tried to take a humane approach to the migrants issue with the government arranging transports and camps for the asylum seekers. By contrast, Kovac has recently said that the country should not become a collection centre for refugees and may have to close its borders if necessary, according to About Croatia.

The team proposed by Oreskovic also includes:

Vlaho Orepic, Minister of Interior Affairs
Dubravka Jurlina Alibegovic, Minister of Administration
Davor Romic, Minister of Agriculture
Slaven Dobrovic, Minister of Environmental Protection
Ante Sprlje, Minister of Justice
Mijo Crnoja, Minister of Veteran Affairs
Lovro Kuscevic, Minister of Construction
Zlatko Hasanbegovic, Minister of Culture
Josip Buljevic, Minister of Defence
Darko Horvat, Minister of Entrepreneurship
Oleg Butkovic, Minister of Transportation
Tomislav Tolusic, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds
Bernardica Juretic, Minister of Social Policy
Anton Kliman, Minister of Tourism
Nada Sikic, Minister of Labour and Pension System
Dario Nakic, Minister of Health
Predrag Sustar, Minister of Science and Education System