Former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor recently started an insightful blog on Croatian politics called Dan Nakon Jucer (The Day After Yesterday). Here is her latest, translated by TCN on March 2, 2016.
A few days ago, Tihomir Orešković’s government celebrated one month of governing. Many comments have been said and written about that fact (Otvoreno TV show on our national television had many nice things to say to mark the occasion), so I decided not to write about the month in which the residents of Banski Dvori (Croatian Parliament building) changed along with many political views. However, just a few days after the first month, as I am writing I am being haunted by the news that seems almost made up. It’s as if I’m dreaming and all this is not happening as if I am in a comedy of errors from which there is a threat of an uprising.
Reporters are tuning in from my hometown of Pakrac yesterday afternoon with a very familiar image in front of them: minister Hasanbegović is running from the reporters, they’re following him, microphones are banging against each other, but luckily not a single cameraman hit the asphalt this time (as opposed to a scene a few weeks ago when the minister didn’t even blink when a cameraman fell right in front of him). The image is the same, but the reason is different. But the same. A new “blooper” is circling online, one that both the deputy prime ministers or the prime minister don’t want to comment on, although all three of them for different reasons. The prime minister is convinced that his minister of culture is a devoted antifascist, first deputy prime minister supports everything the prime minister says and the second one doesn’t know what to think so he remains silent. And doesn’t verify anything with the notary public’s office (as you remember, he verified his political manifesto). .
In a recording from 2012 which was discovered yesterday, the newly appointed minister of culture is grieving and mentioning “the greatest national tragedy and defeat in 1945” (note: the defeat of a fascist regime and fall of Independent State of Croatia). His speech, a statement that annuls the Fundamental laws of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia: “(…) in the establishment of the foundations of State sovereignty in the period of WWII, expressed in opposition to the declaration of the Independent State of Croatia (1941) by the decree of the Earthly anti-fascist council of people’s liberation of Croatia (1943)….” I keep quoting the Fundamental laws because it is not well known that it was written personally by dr. Franjo Tuđman, the first Croatian president, whom many now choose to call upon and behind whom many are now hiding.
It is absurd, it really is. A Minister who called the ustashi martyrs and heroes, which was ascribed to his youth, in 2012 (when he was no longer that young) was still grieving over the “national tragedy” and in his speech took away the victory of the Croatian people in WWII. What right can any Minister have to take away our victories, even if he is the high representative of the office of the President in Pakrac when he answers the questions about the newly discovered tape with “No comment”?
Many citizens (or nationals, considering it is more politically correct since not all people live in cities as our president keeps reminding us) can’t even be bothered to comment on what’s going on any more. Tim Orešković has regenerated in the one month he’s been in power; he’s witty, he’s cracking jokes, asking who’s watching U zdrav mozak (a satirical show in which the host mimics Orešković’s voice and accent and phones prominent Croatia politicians live on air). We have a prime minister who is impersonating Jurkotić (show host) who’s impersonating the prime minister. Tim O laughs wholeheartedly when he yells “good, good, good” and when he’s announcing that he intends to bring in a person who will “connect the ministers” so they do their job. And what will the prime minister “who only had three hours to decide whether to accept the position because he just happened to be in Zagreb during Christmas holidays” do?
It’s not funny when he publicly boasts that he needs another person to coordinate the ministers instead of that person being him, the prime minister who is paid to do just that. That is his job, at least, that’s what the Constitution says. The prime minister must monitor and connect even if he gets to know the ministers along the way since he never heard anything about them before.
When, upon his return from London, he was notified that his real boss had selected the new Veterans’ minister, Tim said that he was introduced to Milijan Brkić “several times” and that they will “sit down” and “have a discussion”. He never said what they will discuss. So while he’s preparing to “sit down”, news broke from the Ministry of Interior that they will start new proceedings regarding a certain university diploma which was 70% plagiarized (Milijan Brkić, Veteran’s minister candidate was already charged with plagiarism). This ministry is, by the way, a part of the Government led by Tihomir Orešković, but as a prime minister he has no idea that a new minister was assigned to him, that this particular candidate has a problem with a copied thesis or that this matter had already reached Croatian courts, and of course, he has no idea what the Ministry of Interior has to do with it. Members of MOST (who, btw control the Ministry of Interior), are keeping quiet on the matter, they just keep sending messages through the media that they will do something if something happens and if something is proven even though the court has already confirmed it was plagiarism.
The prime minister was not moved by any of the above, he was having a blast sitting next to a media owner explaining how he is changing the climate in Croatia, comparing the relations between social partners to marriage in which nothing is ever fifty-fifty. He gushed about the fact that he impressed everyone in London with his brilliant English (he’s a native speaker) so all TV editors rushed to praise him as charming and fun (even though the correspondent of Večernji list from Brussels stated that the Government spokesperson kept interrupting Tim O. during every answer because he was even talking about things no one even asked him).
I don’t find it funny that only one deputy minister was appointed, a deputy for the minister that is still pining over the losses in 1945, a deputy known for illegally paying herself extra wages on top of her regular salary. I don’t find it funny that both deputy prime ministers have no real work to do because they don’t really have a portfolio and the prime minister is announcing the appointment of yet another person who will be in charge of monitoring existing ministers. It’s not funny, far from it, that not a single relevant bill has been sent to the Parliament so members keep going over old reports instead of voting on laws which would reduce the number of ministries, agencies, lower the wages of our MPs, as was promised during the election campaigns and during the cooperation (not coalition, of course) agreement signing.
And yes, I don’t find it funny that we still don’t have a Veterans’ minister in the Government and that many candidates withdrew from the race without giving any sign of political life. It’s not funny, it really isn’t, that when a candidate who was finally picked out of a hat was not introduced to the public by the prime minister but by the person who took him by the hand and walked him into the President’s office on Pantovčak and arranged a Prime Minister Delegate status for him.
According to the Croatian Constitution, only the prime minister has the authority to suggest ministers to the Parliament and to dismiss them, without asking for anyone else’s opinion. So that is what our prime minister and a Canadian citizen should have done in the case of the minister with the shortest mandate in history (Crnoja), when the public blacked out from all the affairs while he, as the most important politician in the country, waited for laws to be translated and explained by the most famous lawyers in Croatia (who are both, btw, defending another former resident of the Parliament building Ivo Sanader). The whole Rashomon effect whether the Government paid for their services, as some claim, or didn’t because they never asked for it, as one of them said to the press, is also not funny.
In the meantime, while the prime minister is publicly asking who finds it funny that one TV host is impersonating him, the director of our security and intelligence system Damir Lozančić still has one foot out of the door. Tim O’s been trying to convince us for three weeks that he will make a decision, even though the decision was already made in the furious letter which humiliated him (sent by the President demanding the dismissal of Lozančić) so now the lone prime minister has to save Tim O. By stalling. To make us forget as much as we can and to wave our hand dismissively whenever we don’t feel like commenting anymore.
In that time we keep hearing messages for the Government to step away from “empty words and to turn to reforms”. And that would sound like a very wise political decision were it not sent by the person (the President) who did not move from words to action to fulfill at least one of her election promises. For instance, the move to a smaller residence.
Maybe the softening of lustration threats could draw out a smile or two if only those threats were not part of a Manifesto introduced several months ago and when everyday speeches about those who do not love Croatia were not some sort of lustration already in action. It is comforting, however, when the rising political star, Parliament vice-president Tepeš, says that lustration will not be a witch-hunt. Of course, it won’t because witches don’t exist. Lustration is a man-hunt.
While I am writing this, a new view has occurred among those who will decide on the fate of this country. A certain Ivan Kirin, a parliament member from the Homeland coalition, tried to complete a task in court by cutting the line, and asked a woman who opposed his behaviour whether she had any idea who he is. “Everybody knows my name and surname,” he said.
We didn’t know, but now we do, and it would be better if we didn’t. Because this respected MP will decide our budget, the fate of our country and all the people living in it waiting in line somewhere. He will decide whether the funds for youth employment will be taken in order to fulfill an election promise made by one politician (Karamarko and his 1000 euro for each newborn election promise) without any analysis, or whether they will decide not to give or take anything from anyone. He’s the Government and he made sure we’re all very aware of it.
During that time, the opposition was having fun and keeping busy on Facebook while their boss was travelling across Croatia leading his own political wars. Just like the first deputy Prime Minister (Karamarko), who no one dares to run against or dares to tell him in public that he didn’t become Prime minister.
Croatian representatives in the European Parliament are running their European rounds and they are not voicing their opinion on daily issues in the country. As Tim O, the Croatian Prime minister with a temp job in Croatia, says: Keep calm!
To follow Jadranka Kosor’s blog, Dan Nakon Jucer (The Day After Yesterday), click here.