Plenković Wins First Battle in War for Istanbul Convention

Total Croatia News

However, the war is not over.

In the war for the Istanbul Convention ratification, Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković has convincingly won the first battle. On Thursday, during a vote on the ratification, all ministers were present at the cabinet meeting, and all supported the convention, including some who had previously expressed doubts about it, reports Večernji List on March 24, 2018.

The fact that no minister raised their hand against the Convention is not particularly surprising, given that a different vote would undoubtedly bring an early end to a ministerial career. We all remember what happened to MOST’s ministers when they refused to support Finance Minister Zdravko Marić last year.

Plenković’s success is even more significant because the convention has also provoked disturbance among the ranks of the largest opposition party, SDP. Rather than to take advantage of a topic which they have been talking about for more than a year, SDP has scored an own-goal with the initial announcement that they would not support the ratification if it contained any interpretative statements. SDP was then forced to change its mind and announce they would support the ratification after all, although the law proposed by the government contains the statement. At the same time, it has become apparent that many of SDP’s MPs are not ready to follow the instructions of the party leadership, which is an additional blow for the already weakened party.

Such SDP moves are another indication to HDZ’s current coalition partners that, at this moment, there is no alternative to the coalition with HDZ, which further strengthens their support for the government at a time when the opposition is demanding a dismissal of Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Martina Dalić.

For Plenković, the most important thing now is how will HDZ’s MPs vote when the ratification is debated in parliament, although there is no doubt that the vast majority of them will raise their hands for the convention, even if they privately disagree with it. Still, a substantial number of HDZ MPs is against the convention. That was also seen at this week’s session of the HDZ presidency, where Plenković’s position was supported by the majority, but six influential members voted against, including Plenković’s deputy Milijan Brkić, party international secretary Miro Kovač, political secretary Davor Ivo Stier, and party vice-president Ivana Maletić. They have now received instructions to stop commenting publicly on events surrounding the convention.

However, this cannot be said for some of HDZ MPs, such as Stevo Culej, who said in the parliament that the convention was being advocated for by “lesbian-communists,” which actually helped the proponents of the ratification.

All this shows that HDZ is still extremely divided. For Plenković, it is essential to reduce the number of those who will vote against the convention to the minimum (he reportedly hopes to keep it under ten). That is why he does not want to agree with the idea that HDZ should allow its MPs to vote according to their conscience.

Another major challenge for Plenković is the protest against the ratification which is currently underway in Zagreb, organised by veterans and conservative associations, assisted by the Catholic Church. Their short-term goal is to prevent the ratification, which similar groups have successfully done in Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. In the long term, they want to maintain and possibly strengthen their influence in the society, but also within HDZ itself, which is precisely the opposite of Plenković’s efforts to transform HDZ into a modern Christian-democratic party, modelled on the German CDU.

Translated from Večernji List (reported by Iva Boban Valečić).



Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment