Parliament Rejects Motion of No Confidence against Education Minister

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However, the minister did not receive a majority of votes of all MPs.

With 72 votes against, Parliament rejected the proposal by 45 opposition MPs to adopt a no confidence motion against Minister of Science and Education Pavo Barišić. The motion was supported by 42 opposition MPs, while MPs from MOST, a member of the ruling coalition, abstained, reports Večernji List on February 11, 2017.

Since parliamentary rules of procedure provide that the same MPs in the next six months cannot initiate a no confidence procedure against the same minister, it is certain that in the next half a year there will no official motion again Barišić. However, that does not mean that Barišić and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković can be completely confident that Barišić will be able to keep his position during that period.

In addition to accusations of plagiarism in his scientific works, Barišić is also involved in several other affairs, the latest of which is related to his alleged self-plagiarizing of the doctoral thesis at the University of Augsburg. He was reported by two Croatian scientists, Ivan Đikić and Jure Zovko, who claim that Barišić copied 80 percent of his 1989 thesis, which was supposed to be a completely new scientific thesis, from his own previously published papers in scientific journals. Barišić immediately rejected the allegations as unfounded. He explained that the publication of parts of his dissertation in advance did not violate procedures. However, if it turns out that Đikić and Zovko are right, Barišić could lose his Ph.D., and Plenković would probably not be able to continue to defend him.

MOST, HDZ’s coalition partner, has already announced that such a scenario would mean that Barišić would have to leave the government. “If the allegations regarding his doctoral thesis are proved correct, there is simply no chance that Barišić could remain a minister,” said Nikola Grmoja, one of leaders of MOST.

His party colleague Maro Kristić confirmed that MOST would demand the resignation of the minister, “If the latest case of plagiarizing is confirmed, we would definitely insist on his departure, although we believe that the Prime Minister and he himself would know what to do”, said Kristić.

The vote in Parliament showed another inconvenient fact for Plenković’s government. The minister was supported by only 72 MPs, four fewer than the absolute majority. It turned out that HDZ cannot count on the unconditional support of its junior coalition partner. Although it was not surprised by MOST’s vote, HDZ did not hide the fact that it found MOST’s behaviour irritating.

Branko Bačić, president of the HDZ Parliamentary Group, said that it was not right that the ruling coalition was not united. “I hope that will not be repeated. I think both parties, primarily MOST, have learnt a lesson”, said Bačić. Although this time it was the opposition which needed to find a majority to bring down a minister, HDZ is aware that similar situations could be repeated in the period prior to local elections in May. “On the big issues, it is important to demonstrate the strength of the ruling coalition. Without it, the government cannot operate”, said one member of HDZ presidency.


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