Game of Thrones 7: The Croatian Political Actors

Total Croatia News

Updated on:

Croatia has been through 6 weeks of intrigue in search of the prize of its political throne. There has been no lack of satire.

The announcement that Croatia finally had a Prime Minister designate on December 23, 2015 brought to an end weeks of speculation, intrigue and shifting positions among the main political parties. With hit HBO show Game of Thrones relocating their filming elsewhere in Europe, Croatia’s politicians stepped into the breach admirably by putting on a show of such intrigue and intricate plot twists that if they ever fail at politics (and some of them are close…), I am sure the talent scouts and script writers at HBO will be in contact.

The political impasse was manna from heaven for the national media of course, and while the politicians seemingly made serious attempts at negotiations (although one begins to wonder as the tale unravels), the press and social media were having a field day with satire and their own caustic comments. Special mentions for two essential Croatian Facebook pages, Caca se Vraca and Di su Pare? for some of the very finest examples.  

Of course as a foreigner, I will never understand all the nuances, but after 13 years here, here is my understanding of what has been going on.

The two diametrically opposed main parties, HDZ on the right and led by Tomislav Karamarko (ironically on the left, above), and SDP, led by current Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (on the right in this picture), each did not get enough seats to command a 76-seat majority to form the next government. Both sides were reliant on the 19 votes of new party MOST (meaning ‘bridge’) to get into power, and MOST was insisting on some uncomfortable things for their support. Something called reform for one. 

Led by Bozo Petrov, MOST wanted to form a grand coalition of all three parties, an idea which was dismissed by both parties. Stating that MOST would not enter into coalition with just one of the parties, MOST also said that neither Milanovic or Karamarko would be prime minister. Which did not stop the Christmas wishes for a little coalition love – picture above.

In a soap opera with switching love affairs that would have made a harlot blush, it was easy to see how someone might get confused… 

And while global sympathy went out to Miss Colombia who was Miss World for a second, spare a thought for Zoran Milanovic, who Petrov crowned as his coalition partner, after Karamarko walked away from the tripartite discussions.

Miss Colombia was, it seemed, on top of the world for a little longer than Milanovic.  

For Bozo Petrov was a HDZ child, it seemed, as evidenced in this nativity scene, with parents Karamarko and President Kolinda. 

 There were plenty of calls of foul play and dishonesty from MOST. A surprise package on the political scene, they were declared both the moral winners of the election, and the kingmakers. Talks of reform and ending the corrupt practices of both main parties brought an air of hope to the Croatian political scene, but as the weeks and the meetings passed, so too did the skepticism increase. Bozo Petrov, Snow White with his 4 million Croatian dwarves.

And then one day, when everyone wanted to go home for Christmas, an announcement! A Prime Minister and enough MPs to form a government. The Prime Minister’s name was Tim from Canada, who lived in Holland but had an address in Yorkshire. He was Croatian of course, but he made a less than auspicious start in his first public address, displaying poor linguistic knowledge of Croatian by addressing his ‘citizens’ as ‘buildings’ (the words are similar in Croatian).

More disturbing for some were his patriotic credentials. A common question when checking out someone for the first time is to find out where they were in 1991 (when the war started). Nisi Bija ’91! means ‘You were not in 1991’. And therefore you have no right to a voice.  The question is Disi Bija ’91? Where were you in 1991, the insinuation being what did you do to defend your country. ‘Disi’ is the question, ‘Nisi’ the statement. You were not here.

None of that mattered to Karamarko and Petrov, according to the satirists.  ‘We screwed you.’

Overlooking the build up to the election campaign from the comfort of his prison cell in Zagreb was former HDZ Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, who was imprisoned for corruption. A cult hero in some quarters ‘Caca’ assumed a satirical role as something akin to a godfatherly advisor. With such a mess all around, perhaps he had to return to steer the mother ship himself. 

Of course, as the godfather of Croatian politics, Caca was on hand for the satirists to advise the main players. Here Karamarko asks Caca about his choice of prime minister. Karamarko, whose linguistic ability is allegedly not top of his skills, appointed a Canadian Croat who referred to his fellow citizens as buildings remember. Caca replies that if Karamarko doesn’t know English, and the new PM can’t speak Croatian, how did they come to an agreement? 

Karamarko here excitedly tells Caca he has been successful with negotiations with the MOST leader, to which Caca replies that it is in fact the Church who has made the decision. The influence of the very influential Catholic church over Petrov has been seen as a key factor in some quarters. 

Back to those language challenges.

“Caca, how do you say ‘I don’t know.'”

“Ne znam (I don’t know).”

“If you don’t know, who does.”

“Once again you are stupid.”

Croatia’s Game of Thrones Series 7, a real battle of cunning and intrigue. Who will be the winner? After 6 weeks of twists and turns, are we set for a little more drama to entertain our satirists?


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment