Jadranka Kosor: All is Not as it Seems, Not Even in the Moonlight

Total Croatia News

What will remain of the MOST guarantees that were a prerequisite for cooperation with HDZ? Well, in fact, very little.

The Parliament voted on the new Croatian government in a way the MPs supported a programme in which an agreement between HDZ and MOST was not signed, nor were precise deadlines of goals set to be completed in a given period. It was mutual support based on discussions and verbal agreements, rarely seen on the Croatian political scene (and beyond). For the public and partners to monitor what is being done and completed, any plan and programme must have deadlines for measures to be undertaken. In such a way (without demagogy and crossed fingers) the work of any government can be deemed successful or not, but also precisely track the completion or ignorance of electoral promises.

The new Croatian government were also supported by minority MPs thrilled with the “dry gold” of Andrej Plenković, as Milorad Pupovac complimented him. Is the very sight of the new HDZ boss enough guarantee for Pupovac that all demands of the Serbian minority will be brought to life, over which some heavy words and division were seen in the Croatian public space? Was there an agreement signed between SDSS and the PM Designate or has the entire package been agreed on virtually, scout’s honour over mutual excitement? Will SDSS insist on the enforcement of the Constitutional law on minority rights like they insisted during Milanović’s government or will understanding and prediction be enough? Will they insist on minority representatives in public companies (as the most prominent Serbian minority representative announced), or is Pupovac pleased just with Hasanbegović out of the new government?

To be honest, Pupovac did not object to positioning Hasanbegović high on the HDZ list (as he, naturally, couldn’t interfere with intra-party relations when the new boss commended the former minister as an expert and pleasant communicator), so now with the former minister an MP, they will both be a part of parliamentary majority which will support all measures, laws and actions of the government.

As 2012 is in the distant past, when Tomislav Karamarko, after taking over HDZ, said there will never be a shameful coalition with the Serbs and when none of the people leading the party today did not publicly comment this strong and important political message. Which would mean they agreed.

But, let us go back to the spine of the government which is not based on a signed agreement and deadlines which the Parliament Speaker Božo Petrov now describes as “a framework programme of future guidelines of the government.” It is pretty tough and ungrateful to translate what that really means, so let it just stay noted.

Government measures are directed at timeless deadlines, reduction of taxes and VAT and increases of citizen’s rights were promised (mothers nurturers, parents nurturers, delimited parental benefits for the second six months of parental leave, national pension, five percent rise of pensions, benefits for newborns), without clear explanations how and when this will come true. As these are new expenses from the state budget, among others. The agenda will soon have the union demands for the increase of salaries according to the 2009 agreement, of which no one of authority has actually said anything specific to be commented on.

As with the previous, dismissed government of HDZ and MOST, right after the swear-in, questions were asked in the public about staffing. This happened as some names were drawn from the party hat at the last moment before the discussion on the vote of confidence and because many ministers were not on election lists at the parliamentary elections.

On the nature of the current cooperation (not coalition!) between the new HDZ and old MOST speaks the answer by Petrov to a question on certain disputable facts from the political history of Pavo Barišić, the new Education Minister: “Personally, unlike last time, I have no opinion. I ponder only my four candidates. Others are the concern of the media and those who suggested them.” This comes from the Parliament Speaker so the quote should be viewed in the spirit of Article 71 of the Croatian Constitution which says: “The Croatian Sabor is a representative body of citizens and the bearer of legislative power in the Republic of Croatia.” Which means the Parliament Speaker and president of a party participating in government must have an “opinion” on the ability and decency of all government members (as the government is confirmed in the Sabor).

Also, the new Croatian government has four women, ministers of which one is Deputy PM. Great. Only, those four women, ministers, joined the government when the public, after initial information of potential government members was released, protested due to the lack of women in executive authority. There is the fact that these women were not on election lists (and they should have been), did not participate in the electoral process and this will be, when the times get rough, rubbed in their faces by party or other friends. As such are politics.

Finally, “thanks” to the fact there is no cooperation and principle agreement, the PM Designate could have announced 19 ministers, with the 20th jumping on the last train to Banski Dvori. And when the government is already confirmed, a dramatic search to ensue for a ministry that would satisfy the minister without a ministry, Goran Marić. This way the flanks were unnecessarily left open for political discussions and critiques even before the first government session. As that same government will soon send to Sabor changes to the law of its structure, although such a discussion was already complete (even though no one imagined a Property Ministry). So this clumsiness will be finely combed in the parliament and criticised. Then the statement by Goran Marić will be repeated, when he pledged never to have state property discussed an sold at “telephone sessions.” Despite the fact that some of those sitting next to him, including the Finance Minister (the other Marić), voted at such telephone session in the previous government.

Something new, something old, something compromised, something under pressure, something questionable and unlikely; so was formed the new government in which 4 ministers and one Deputy PM were immediately a given which the PM Designate could not choose. As Petrov chose them. If the information of interventions from the Office of the President are true, then that gives a more complete picture of the government and true bosses of it. Although, of course, in the government there are people with whom it is possible to have a pleasant conversation on the future of Croatia.

What will remain of the MOST guarantees that were a prerequisite for cooperation with HDZ? Well, in fact, very little. One could sense from the explanation which Petrov gave recently: “These law proposals are very specific compared to what they will change. Some things will require a wider discussion.”

This discussion, it’s possible, will last two years. Which is how long Petrov is due to be Parliament Speaker. Since there is no written agreement on the cooperation that would outline what comes next, there is no guarantee that they won’t visit a public notary with new guarantees for a new time.

For the original and more from Jadranka Kosor’s blog, click here.


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