For the first time in modern Croatian history, Parliament is about to dismiss a prime minister and his government.
Parliament has opened a debate on HDZ’s proposal for the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. At the start of the debate, Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner said that he would allow Orešković to participate in the debate, although he normally would not have such right, since the government had not submitted its official response to the motion, reports Index.hr on June 16, 2016.
The first speaker was Ivan Šuker, chairman of the HDZ Parliamentary Group, which submitted the proposal for the motion of no confidence. He said that the key reason for the Prime Minister’s dismissal was the fact that he cancelled a cabinet meeting two weeks ago, after Finance Minister Zdravko Marić had returned from London with a message that investors wanted higher interest rates to buy Croatia’s government bonds due to the political situation.
“The Finance Minister reported to the Prime Minister what happened in London and, in my opinion, the Prime Minister had to start the cabinet meeting with this issue. Instead, the meeting was cancelled and the Prime Minister left the government building without any explanation”, said Šuker.
He also said that the government was not functioning in the way it should. Šuker noted that certain democratic norms had not been respected in Croatia. “The parliamentary majority which proposed the Prime Minister for the post at one point said that he no longer had their confidence and asked him to step down. Everywhere else, the Prime Minister would immediately resign, but that did not happen in Croatia”, said Šuker.
The Prime Minister spoke next. He rejected HDZ’s allegations listed in the motion of no confidence that he had abused intelligence services, and claimed that the real reason for the dismissal was the fact that he refused to appoint as leaders of the Security Intelligence Agency (SOA) people whom he believed did not meet legal requirements for the post.
“All the allegations against me are false and baseless. Never in the history of Croatian democracy has a ruling majority launched an initiative to dismiss the Prime Minister that it appointed, especially with such serious charges”, said Orešković.
“The accusation that I have tried to introduce a dictatorship is so absurd that I will not waste my words. I also resolutely reject the idea that I have abused or politicized the security services”, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister also said that one of the reasons for his dismissal was the fact that he began working on resolving the INA-MOL dispute through the continuation of the arbitration proceedings and new negotiations, which some people did not support.
“It is no secret that my positions about INA, the LNG terminal and energy sector significantly differ from those of some members of the government, and I have strongly defended my positions since I am deeply aware of the importance which INA and the energy sector have for our economy”, said Orešković.
He also dismissed allegations that he was not willing to cooperate with representatives of parties which are part of the parliamentary majority. “I have tried to actively communicate with Mr. Karamarko but, unfortunately, during the last two months he has ignored my calls and did not show any interest in economic issues and reforms”, he said.
The Prime Minister’s speech has been followed by statements by representatives of parliamentary groups and individual MPs. The vote is expected later today.