Parliament Confirms New Ministers

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The ministers were approved with 78 votes in favor, two more than the minimum.

The Parliament has just approved new ministers proposed by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. The ministers have been confirmed with 78 votes in favor (the minimum number for the majority is 76).

The new ministers are: Predrag Štromar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Construction; Tomislav Ćorić, Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy; Lovro Kuščević, Minister of Administration; Davor Božinović, Minister of the Interior; Marko Pavić, Minister of Labour and Pension System; Blaženka Divjak, Minister of Education and Science; and Dražen Bošnjaković, Minister of Justice.

Štromar and Divjak are representatives of HNS, HDZ’s new coalition partner. Five of HNS’s MPs voted for the government, while another four, who are against the cooperation with HDZ, voted against, as expected. They will be expelled from the party.

After the vote, Prime Minister Plenković gave a statement to reporters. “I think we have ended this political episode in the best interest of stability and the citizens. That motivated me to come to an agreement with HNS,” said Plenković. “We have shown that we are ready for dialogue. The transformative process which I pursue will be continued in the period ahead of us, in order to reduce divisions in our society. The decision of HNS to enter into a coalition with HDZ was correct, politically wise and helpful. Time will demonstrate the correctness of that decision,” said Plenković.

When referring to Divjak’s statement that she would not be ”blackmailed” by other parties’ demands regarding the curriculum reform, Plenković said that he expected the whole government to pursue common policies. He said that HDZ and HNS have their separate electorates, but also have elements of compatibility and that they can find a common denominator. Asked whether having the majority of just 78 MPs would be enough for stability, Plenković said there were many governments which were able to function with such a majority and that he was sure it would be stable.

This marks the end of the latest government crisis, which began in late April when MOST ministers supported the opposition’s motion of no confidence against Finance Minister Zdravko Marić. Plenković immediately dismissed them and began a search for a new parliamentary majority. He finally came to an agreement with HNS, which was ironically one of the opposition parties demanding Marić’s dismissal. HNS has split over the decision on whether or not to enter into a coalition with HDZ, with five MPs supporting the decision and four voting against, the nay-sayers have effectively left the party.


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