HDZ president and soon to be Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has to decide what to do with the controversial Culture Minister.
HDZ president Andrej Plenković and controversial Culture Minister and MP in next Parliament Zlatko Hasanbegović will soon have to discuss where to place Hasanbegović in the new government. The latest turmoil started when some of national minorities MPs said they would not support the government if Hasanbegović remained as a minister, reports Večernji List on September 21, 2016.
This has put Plenković in a somewhat awkward situation, since Hasanbegović is very popular with HDZ’s rightwing voters, but is completely unsuitable for a more centrist policies which Plenković is believed to advocate. The situation is becoming more difficult, since Hasanbegović does not seem willing to withdraw quietly and is making daily comments in the media explaining why he should remain as minister.
There are reportedly tensions within HDZ leadership since they did not expect that Hasanbegović would be so insistent in his efforts to confirm his position with rightwing voters. Some believe that he is intentionally trying to present himself as a victim, in order to improve his political position for the future.
There was reportedly an idea that Hasanbegović could be moved from the position of Culture Minister to Parliament as a Deputy Speaker, but people around Hasanbegović say that he would reject such offer. He can be either Culture Minister or just a regular MP. “If he is not worthy to be a minister, how could then he be a Deputy Speaker of Parliament”, ask those close to him. It is expected that he will soon meet with Plenković to discuss what to do.
“Hasanbegović will certainly not leave the party, but he is a man of principles and he does not intend to disappoint his supporters by ‘selling himself” just to be appointed to a prominent position”, said a person close to Hasanbegović, adding that he could demand from Plenković to publicly explain why he could not be a minister.
During his short term as Culture Minister, Hasanbegović has become an icon with the rightwing voters, but also caused tensions due to his ideological positions regarding the issues of World War Two, relations with neighbours, national minorities, non-governmental organizations and independent media. He was proposed for the position of Culture Minister at the beginning of the year by then HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko, who advocated for a far more rightwing policies than the current party leadership.