The largest party in the ruling coalition does not seem to support one of the government’s major proposed reforms.
The announced pension system reform, according to which the retirement age would be increased to 67 staring from 2028, which would be ten years earlier than currently planned, has caused dissatisfaction not only with the opposition but also in HDZ. The reform has already been opposed by another member of the Patriotic Coalition, the Pensioners Together Block party, but now even the largest party of the ruling coalition seems to criticize the government’s proposal. Some members of the party believe that this reform could significantly damage HDZ at the forthcoming local elections, reports Večernji List on May 4, 2016.
“Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković should form his own electoral list and go to the polls with this reform. He would certainly win not one, but two terms in office” – this was one of the more ironic comments given yesterday by prominent HDZ members. They added that such an idea cannot receive support and that no such reform had been mentioned in the HDZ election manifesto. Asked about the fact that HDZ’s Labour Minister Nada Šikić was working on the reform, one HDZ member said that there was a big difference between the position of the party and the position of individuals who were in the government.
“One other example is Podravka. The government is talking about the sale of the company, while the position adopted at the last meeting of the HDZ Economic Committee was that Podravka could not be sold because it was a strategically important company”, said one HDZ source. He added that it was unclear what was the position of the party since the HDZ Presidency has kept quiet about all these issues.
Boris Kunst, an HDZ expert on labour and social law, is also not satisfied with the proposed pension reform. “I agree that the pension system must be reformed. Raising the retirement age to 67 is nothing new, since it has been defined by the previous government as required by the European Commission. The only new provision is that it will happen ten years earlier. However, I do not think this decision will be beneficial for HDZ. If that is the whole pension system reform, then it does not make any sense”, said Kunst, adding that putting emphasis on such things usually means there is no vision for a real reform.
“We are in a difficult economic crisis, and the government is trying to come up with some experiments. We are in a situation that does not tolerate experiments, since we are losing money and time. I am sorry that HDZ has agreed to play such a game. This will certainly have implications for the party”, concluded Kunst.