Meet the Proposed Members of Tim Orešković’s Future Government

Total Croatia News

Brief biographies of proposed Croatian Ministers

As previously reported by Total Croatia News, Prime Minister –designate Tihomir Orešković unveiled the names of his future cabinet members on January 21, 2016. Since even the Croatian public is not familiar with some of the proposed Ministers, and given that they had to go through three filters to get the green light (approval from HDZ. MOST and PM designate), here is a brief overview of all proposed members of Tim’s team.

Prime Minister – designate: Tihomir Tim Oreškovic was born in Zagreb, raised and educated in Canada. He has previously served as a chief financial officer at an Israeli pharmaceutical company TEVA, and even though he has no political experience, he was appointed in order to focus on the country’s growing financial and economic problems.

First Vice president – Tomislav Karamarko, president of HDZ was born on May 25, 1959, in Zadar. He was the former director of the Counterintelligence Agency (POA) and director of the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA). In 2008, Prime Minister Ivo Sanader named him Minister of the Interior and he remained in that post until December 2011. After re-joining the party in 2011, he became the fourth president of HDZ in May 2012, succeeding former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.

Vice president – Božo Petrov, Leader of MOST (Bridge of independent lists) was born in Metković on October 19, 1979. Prior to the 2015 elections, Božo Petrov served as the mayor of Metković after a surprising win over Stipe Gabrić Jambo, incumbent mayor since 1997. He is best known for cutting down the wages in Metković city administration and as a strong advocate of reforms and change.

The new minister of economyTomislav Panenić. Suggested by MOST, Panenić is currently serving as the mayor of Municipality Tompojevci in Vukovar-Srijem County. He is also the president of the Croatian Network for Rural Development and board member of the international Danube Competence Centre.

He was born March 12th, 1973 in Nurtingen, Germany, and he caught the media’s attention when he overthrew the long-standing HDZ local government in 2013 to become the new mayor. He graduated from Faculty of Economics in Osijek in 2000, majoring in Marketing. Nine years later he completed a postgraduate entrepreneurship course.  According to his CV, he is fluent in English and German.

He has prepared over 50 projects worth over 100 million kunas, all financed from EU funds, World Bank and other international organizations.

From 2005 to 2013 he was head of the Office for International Cooperation-TINTL dealing with EU funded project preparation and implementation. From 2007 to 2010, he was county’s project coordinator for social and economic recovery within the Ministry of Regional Development.


Ministry of FinanceZdravko Marić – director at Agrokor company for last four years, former state secretary in Ministry of Finance

He was born in Slavonski Brod on February 3, 1977, and was one of the front runners for this position since MOST announced that they will continue their negotiations with HDZ. He has a Ph.D., studied at University of Zagreb and Harvard and worked in Ministry of Finance for years alongside former Minister Ivan Šuker as the state secretary. Before that, he was the Minister’s aid for macroeconomic analyses and planning. After the last elections, he declined the offer from then incoming Minister Linić to remain at his State Secretary post and decided to go to Agrokor, one of Croatia’s largest privately owned companies where he became the Executive Director for Strategy and Capital Markets. MOST first vetoed HDS’s decision to suggest Marić as the future minister of such an important ministry, probably because of his close ties with Agrokor but ended up accepting him.


Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Miro Kovač

Miro Kovač, HDZ’s International secretary and one of Tomislav Karamarko’s closest associates is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was one of the instrumental people during Kolinda Grabar Kitarović’s presidential campaign. Born in Split in 1968, he earned his Master’s degree at Sorbonne, his main thesis being national and European politics of EU member states. He started working for the Office of the President in 1995 during Dayton negotiations. His first appointment was in the Information office, he also worked as the aid of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, served as the head of Diplomatic protocol and in 2008 he was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to Germany. Miro Kovač is an experienced diplomat speaks several languages.  

Ministry of Interior affairsVlaho Orepic,  also suggested by MOST. Vlaho Orepić was born on November 16, 1968 (his official CV doesn’t state where but that’s where Google comes in handy) in Ploče and he is best known for his relentless fight against the construction of a coal power plant in his hometown. He graduated from Blago Zadro Military School in Zagreb, earned his university degree in naval engineering from the University of Dubrovnik – Faculty of Maritime Studies and is a certified sports coach. He is a decorated war veteran, first commander of the military port in Ploče and after the Homeland war, he stayed in the naval force as a Naval Base Commander. He left the army after it became clear that he was facing a transfer because of his active protests against the construction of a thermal power plant.

Ministry of Public AdministrationDubravka Jurlina Alibegovic – another candidate proposed by MOST.

Current Director of the Institute of Economics and former Deputy Minister of Science during the Račan administration. She graduated from the University of Economics in Zagreb in 1986 where she subsequently earned her Master’s degree 1992 and a Ph.D. in 2002. She has years of experience in the Ministry of Science and Technology  Institute of Economics, she is the former director of the Department of economics for public sector and the head of the Regional economics department. Even the outgoing Minister Arsen Bauk commented that he is positively surprised once he heard she was suggested as his replacement. One of her main objectives is to remove all administrative barriers for small businesses and to lower all parafiscal charges in order to increase the competitiveness of our business sector.

Ministry of AgricultureDavor Romic, former Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture in Zagreb (MOST)

Yet another future cabinet member born in Metković. He graduated from the Faculty f Agriculture in Zagreb in 192 and immediately started working for the Faculty’s Melioration institute. He earned his Master’s degree in 1991 and Ph.D. in 1994. He has presented his works on many international scientific congresses and to this date, he has penned more than 120 articles in peer review publications. His main expertise is in water and soil management. He is the head of our national irrigation and soil and water management program, the largest infrastructural project in Croatian agriculture. Recipient of numerous awards including the award given out by the National Academy of Arts and Sciences for biotechnical achievements in melioration and water management.  


Ministry of Environment and Nature ProtectionSlaven Dobrović, prof. at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering (Candidate proposed by MOST)

Dobrović was born on August 29, 1967, in Zadar. He graduated from Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, the University of Zagreb in 1993, earned his Master’s degree in 1998 and his Ph.D. in 2002. He has been the head of the Department for water engineering and environment since 2010. His main areas of expertise are the preparation of service and drinking water, processing and recycling of waste waters and communal waste management.


Ministry of JusticeAnte Šprlje

Ante Šprlje was born on August 20, 1979, in Metković. He graduated from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb in 2002 and passed his bar five years later. After several posts as a junior clerk in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and State Attorney’s Office in Meković, he became a Judicial advisor for the Metković court. From 2012 until now he has been working as a judge at the Municipal court in Metković. Only Minister whose CV states that he has an excellent command of the Serbian language.






Ministry of VeteransMijo Crnoja


Now we come to one of the two controversial names in the future cabinet. Mijo Crnoja was born on September 24, 1968, in Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina and grew up in Đakovo. He is a retired army lieutenant, decorated officer, war veteran, holds a Master’s degree in international relations and national security. He was the member of Special Police Forces – Lučko Counterterrorism Unit, former president of the War Veteran’s Association Gojko Šušak, former head of security for Croatian Embassies in Mostar and Albania. According to his CV, he speaks English and Albanian. It became apparent he was one of the candidates for the position when he presented his program to the war veterans that have been protesting in Zagreb since October 2014. He caused quite a media stir over the last few days with his initiative to publish a registry of aggressors and a registry which would list all persons who betrayed Croatia’s national interests.  

Ministry of CultureZlatko Hasanbegovic

Second controversial candidate, and probably the only Minister candidate in Croatia to cause public protests before he was confirmed is Zlatko Hasanbegović, future Minister of Culture. He is currently working at the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar as a research associate. He was born in Zagreb in 1973. He earned his Master’s degree and Ph.D. at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. He is the Editor in Chief or Pilar publication, President of the Supervisory Board of the Honorary Bleiburg Platoon, associate of many initiatives determining the number of victims of the communist regime, especially among Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hasanbegović is also an executive board member of the Međilsa Islamic Community in Zagreb and a highly ranked member of „In the name of the family“  conservative citizens’ initiative best known for their referendum against same-sex marriage being included in the constitutional definition of marriage (some media go so far as to say he was Željka Marki’s right-hand man. He grabbed the public’s attention in May 2015 during a current affairs show „Otvoreno“ on Croatian National Television when he stated that anti-fascism is not in the foundations of the Croatian Constitution, and the fact that he was the president of the youth of HČSP (ultra right wing party) and former member of HOS (notorious organisation founded by Ante Pavelić), was also not approved by the general public.



Ministry of ConstructionLovro Kuščević

Born in Supetar on island Brač in 1975, Lovro Kuščević is the president of the HDZs Committee for Physical Planning and Construction and he is currently the mayor of the Nerežišća Municipality (third mandate) and a member of the Split- Dalmatia County Council.  He has worked in the private sector before becoming a mayor and was one of the directors in Brač prijevoz, bus company on the island Brač.

Ministry of defenceJosip Buljević


Born in Split in 1971 where he finished primary and secondary school. He graduated from the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Zagreb in 1995 and he earned a degree in journalism. His professional career path started in the Service for the Protection of the Constitutional Order, in 2004, he became the deputy director for operations of the counterintelligence agency (POA), deputy director of operations in the Security and Intelligence Agency and became the director of the same agency in 2008. He became a member of the National Security Council  in 2012 and was appointed Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in the US in 2013. He is currently an Advisor to the President for Defence and National Security. Buljević fought in the Homeland War and received several medals for his military achievements.  

Ministry of Business and Trade – Darko Horvat

Born on September 28, 1970, Darko Horvat, he earned a degree in electrical engineering. President of HDZ’s branch in Međimurje, a member of HDZs presidency and president of HDZ’s Environment Protection and Energy Committee. Former director of Elektra, Čakovec, he was also mentioned as possible new CEO of HEP (Croatian national power company) since he started his professional career in HEP and was the Director of its Supervisory Board.  He currently owns a private company.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and InfrastructureOleg Butković

Born on May 4, 1979, in Rijeka. Graduated from the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Rijeka. He was elected mayor of Novi Vinodolski in 2005 and started his second term in 2009. In 2012, he was elected President of HDZ’s Primorje Gorski Kotar County Committee. He is a member of the HDZ’s presidency, party’s Central Committee, a member of the National Council and president of HDZ’s Committee for Transport, Maritime affairs and Infrastructure. As mayor of Novi Vinodolski, he has invested greatly in the town’s infrastructure and developed entrepreneurial zones.



Ministry of Regional Development and EU FundsTomislav Tolušić

Tomislav Tolušić is the County prefect of Virovitica – Podravina County (now in his second term). Born and raised in Slatina and Virovitica he earned his degree from Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. In 2006, he completed the European Council’s Academy for Political Development.  

For two years in a row, he was elected President of the Croatian County Association and during his mandate Virovitica Podravina County and its development agency Vidra has become one of the most prominent users of EU funds in Croatia.

Ministry of Social Policy and YouthBernardica Juretić


Born on August 18, 1963, in Srinjine, Bernardica Juretić is the former director of the Government’s Committee for the Prevention of Drug Abuse.  She  earned a Master’s degree in psychology  in Rome and she is known to the Croatian public as a former nun. She is the founder of one of the most renowned therapeutic communities in Croatia „Susret“ for former drug addicts and opened a centre „Bernardica with you“, where she offers court translation services for the Italian language, day care for elderly and psychological advice.


Ministry of TourismAnton Kliman

New Minister of Tourism Anton Kliman is from Istria, born in 1967, an entrepreneur with own business in hospitality services and several private accommodation properties. Vice President of HDZ for Istria and highest  HDZ donor in Istria (private donation of 2000 kn and company donation of 10 000 kn).  War veteran and the president of Catholic choir MI. He has no political experience and he will be the 5th Minister of Tourism from Istria.

Ministry of Labour and Pension SystemNada Šikić

New Minister of Labour and Pension System is Nada Šikić, head of medical forensic within the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute. She is the president of HDZ’s Committee for Pensioners, retirement system and social policies.

Ministry of HealthcareDario Nakić

Dario Nakić was born in 1969 in Šibenik. He graduated from Faculty of Medicine, University of Zagreb in 1994, specialised in internal medicine and lead the Nephrology and dialysis department. He was also the former manager of the Zadar County Hospital until he was relieved of his duties by former Minister of Health Rajko Ostojić.

Ministry of Science and EducationPredrag Šustar

Predrag Šustar was born in 1970 in Rijeka. He earned a degree in molecular biology from the University of Zagreb and has a Ph.D. from the University of Padova. During his doctoral studies, he spent two years at Columbia University in New York as a Fulbright scholar. He is a former Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka (two terms from 2009 until 2015). Recipient of the Primorje Gorski Kotar County award for his work on creating the new Department for Italian studies on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka. He started his political career as a member of the Labour Party, he was even the party’s candidate for mayor of Rijeka in May 2013, but one year later he left the party and joined HDZ in November 2014.  



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