ZAGREB, November 7, 2019 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday he would not allow the de-Tuđmanisation of his HDZ party because Franjo Tudjman, the first president of the HDZ and Croatia, included June 22, Antifascist Struggle Day, among public holidays.
He was responding to the proposal by Josip Đakić, chairman of the parliamentary committee on war veterans, that Antifascist Struggle Day no longer be a national holiday.
“I don’t know if that’s his idea… It’s necessary to put an end to the policy of de-Tuđmanisation also within the HDZ. This means that I, as HDZ president and prime minister, say that June 22 is a holiday which was included in the law on public holidays by the first Croatian president Franjo Tuđman and so it will be,” Plenković told reporters.
He said everything that was said at Wednesday’s session of the veterans committee was not the policy of the either the HDZ National Council or Presidency or the government, and that party bodies had clearly supported and formulated amendments to the law on public holidays, memorial days and non-working days which the government sent to parliament and “which will be adopted as such.”
“I’m telling (Đakić) and everyone else who wants to de-Tuđmanise the HDZ: I won’t allow it.”
Asked if there would be sanctions, Plenković said the HDZ National Council or Presidency would meet on Friday and that it was necessary to clearly say, “enough with the policy which tears apart the foundations of what Tuđman created and what the HDZ should be.”
“Who doesn’t understand that, doesn’t understand either Croatia’s past or present, and sees Croatia’s proper future even less. They should clear their heads,” he said, adding that the possibility of sanctions would be discussed.
War Veterans’ Minister Tomo Medved told the press, while coming to a government meeting on Thursday, that the government-sponsored bill on public holidays was a well-prepared legislative solution, and that the cabinet would give its opinion to a suggestion that Antifascist Struggle Day, observed as a national holiday, should be a memorial day.
“In my opinion, the government has forwarded to the parliament a very good legislative proposal. During the preparation of the draft act, we have analysed all circumstances and I believe that the solution tabled to the national parliament provides best answers,” said Medved of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
On Wednesday morning, the parliamentary War Veterans Committee, chaired by HDZ MP and HVIDRA disabled war veterans association head Đakić, put forward an amendment to the government-sponsored bill on holidays proposing that October 8, Independence Day, should remain a national holiday while Antifascist Struggle Day, June 22, currently a national and non-working day, should become a memorial and working day. The government’s proposal of the new calendar of holidays will be discussed by the parliament on Friday.
The committee’s proposal was criticised as unacceptable by Social Democratic Party (SDP) parliamentarian Arsen Bauk on Wednesday afternoon.
On Thursday mornings, several ministers in the HDZ-led government, including Transport Minister Oleg Butković, Environment Protection and Energy Minister Tomislav Ćorić, said that they did not think that the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day should be relegated to a memorial day.
Butković said that the HDZ leadership had not at all considered a possibility that this national holiday should become a memorial day. Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman also said that such proposal had not at all be considered by the government.
In the meantime, the Croatian People’s Party (HNS) a junior partner in the ruling coalition also stated that it found it unacceptable that the Anti-Fascist Struggle Day be relegated to a memorial day.
More info about events related to the Second World War can be found in the Politics section.