PM’s decision to name Chief Integration Officer baffles some in HDZ.
The HDZ leadership thinks that Jakša Puljiz, Prime Minister Orešković’s (still unofficial) coordinator for strategic projects and special advisor, is a professional and knowledgeable person. Although he was a deputy to Branko Grčić, former Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds in the previous SDP-led government, they are not bothered by that fact, since Puljiz is not a member of SDP. However, sources in the HDZ leadership are concerned with what he will actually be doing, since they believe that the coordinator of major strategic projects in the government should be the prime minister himself, reports Večernji List on March 7, 2016.
According to media reports, Puljiz was one of MOST’s three candidates for a deputy to Tomislav Tolušić (HDZ), Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds. However, the post ultimately went to Sonja Bošnjak. HDZ sources say the MOST was the one who proposed Bošnjak and that they would not object if Puljiz remained the deputy minister, since they consider him to be an expert. However, others argue that Puljiz was actually MOST’s first choice, but that HDZ did not want a man from Milanović’s administration in that post. The story goes that Puljiz then lobbied with the prime minister to remain a deputy minister. It is unclear how the prime minister eventually decided to make him his personal coordinator and special advisor. MOST claim they had nothing to do with it, but that the prime minister made the decision by himself and that they only supported the PM’s decision once it was made.
People who were Puljiz’s associates in the Ministry for four years describe him as a very capable man. They say that Puljiz, because of his personal traits and because he is a non-party person, easily communicates with almost everybody. In this context, it is not surprising that he very soon became close with the new prime minister. His wife is a member of the management board of the Partner Banka. He was born in Split in 1977 and moved to Zagreb after he enrolled at the Faculty of Economics.