Government on the brink.
During a session of government held on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković made a decision to dismiss three ministers from MOST who moments earlier voted against Finance Minister Zdravko Marić. Plenković dismissed Minister of Interior Vlaho Orepić, Minister of Justice Anto Šprlje and Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy Slaven Dobrović.
The government had voted on a motion for a vote of no confidence in Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, and Prime Minister Plenković called on all the ministers to vote against the motion and in favour of the Finance Minister. However, the three ministers from MOST Dobrović, Orepić and Šprlje voted against Marić.
“I would like to ask the cabinet secretary to prepare a decision on the dismissal of the three MOST’s ministers,” said the Prime Minister after the vote.
MOST’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Administration Ivan Kovačić was not present at the session of the government and did not vote.
It remains to be seen what MOST’s reaction will be, but it seems impossible that the current government could survive this. The only realistic options are coalition reshuffle, which would mean that MOST would be substituted in the ruling coalition with another party, or new early parliamentary elections.
Shortly before 1 pm, MOST leader and Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov commented on Plenković’s decision.
“Plenković is trying to dismiss three successful ministers who have brought three billion from EU funds, who have implemented reform of justice system and are fighting corruption. He has done that to save a minister who can no longer be a minister because he has to exclude himself from all decisions regarding Agrokor, the largest company in Croatia.
MOST is responsible for our four ministers. Finance Minister Marić is HDZ’s responsibility. We have informed the Prime Minister one week ago that we would vote against Marić, expecting that they will solve the problem in their own courtyard. We cannot and will not bring down the government, but we will not support this minister. Plenković has to answer whether he will bring down the government. One year ago, he called on then HDZ president and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko to stand down so that the stability of the country would not be compromised. HDZ is now for the second time in a year bringing down the government. MOST just wants the truth. Plenković has to say whether he wants the truth or whether he will continue with old politics.
Pleković will decide whether there will be a government coalition reshuffle or early parliamentary elections. We did not vote against the government, but only against one minister. MOST’s ministers have not been dismissed. For formal dismissal, it is necessary for Speaker of Parliament to co-sign it or for the Parliament to debate the issue. Prime Minister has not dismissed the ministers. At the moment, government is not stable. But, the stability is responsibility of the prime minister. He is the one who decided to try to dismiss the ministers,” said Petrov.