MOST to Try to Freeze Politicians Salaries Without HDZ’s Support?

Total Croatia News

While HDZ is against the proposal, MOST could join forces with opposition parties and adopt the law in Parliament without coalition partner’s support.

According to unofficial information, MOST will today in Parliament officially propose amendments to the Law on the Rights of State Officials, which would include the reduction of coefficients used for the calculation of their salaries. The goal is to lower their gross salaries, so that their net salaries would not increase on 1 January, when the tax reform and lower income tax rates will come into effect, reports Novi List on December 6, 2016.

MOST wanted for the government to do the same which the SDP-led government did in 2014, when it lowered politicians’ base salaries and in that way prevented their increase. However, HDZ, MOST’s senior coalition partner, declined to support it. Therefore, MOST decided to try to alone prevent the increase in net salaries, which would in some cases amount to 1,500 kuna.

MOST representatives say that, with their proposal, net salaries would remain at about the current level. Given the short time, since the Parliament will be in session just until 15 December and the new income tax rates will come into effect on 1 January, MOST will seek an urgent legislative procedure for its proposal. Since HDZ has sent a clear message that it considers such proposal as unacceptable populism, it is expected that their MPs will object to the urgent procedure. That would mean that MOST would need the support from opposition parties to include the proposal in parliamentary agenda.

Since it is one of the laws which need the majority of all MPs to be adopted, that means that MOST would have to get support from virtually the entire opposition. Although MOST is convinced that their political opponents will not give them their support, a lot depends on the position of SDP, the largest opposition party.

SDP has still not announced its position. Some party members believe that the initiative is none of their business, and that it should it just “a matter between MOST and HDZ”. However, others acknowledge that SDP will have to state its position in Parliament. “If the proposal is a coherent one, I will lobby for SDP to support it”, said one high-ranking SDP member. If SDP were to join MOST, they would have 52 votes. It is virtually certain that they could also count on the support of IDS, HSS and two parliamentary groups made of MPs from Živi Zid. That would bring the total to 67 MPs, so they would have to find 9 MPs more.

HNS, which has 10 MPs, is in constant conflict with MOST, and its president Ivan Vrdoljak recently spoke critically about the MOST’s proposal. However, the key question is whether HNS could politically allow to be on the same side as HDZ and stand against opposition parties in their attempt to prevent an increase in politicians’ salaries.


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