Prime Minister Not Controlling His Own Party

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There are signs that Andrej Plenković does not have full control over HDZ.

In a recent poll on the popularity of members of the government, seven ministers have received better marks than Prime Minister Andrej Plenković himself. And, if we were to judge by statements from sources within HDZ, it seems that Plenković is not very popular within his own party as well, reports Jutarnji List on December 12, 2017.

There several recent signs of this: the election of the new head of the HDZ branch in Osijek Ivan Radić, who was not Plenković’s favourite for the post; the fact that Požega-Slavonija County Prefect Alojz Tomašević remained in his job despite accusations of domestic violence and Plenković’s initial statements that he would have to resign; the situation in the Croatian Football Association, which is full of HDZ officials who ignored Plenković’s call for democratic changes in its leadership.

For these reasons, some already anticipate that he will follow the fate of his predecessor, Tomislav Karamarko, who was forced out of the party leadership almost overnight. The question is how much Plenković controls his party, whether he is trusted by party members and whether he can launch any significant reforms in this position, with the government depending on just a three-vote majority in the Parliament.

Political scientist Anđelko Milardović, head of the Institute for European and Globalization Studies in Zagreb, has already said many times that the lack of reform is the most significant problem of the Croatian society, which functions on the status quo model, generated by the political oligarchy uninterested or incapable of leading the country.

“If problems are not solved, we will fail as a society. The foundation of this failure is the pure egotism of political elites, Plenković’s abandonment of reforms and the lack of will within HDZ to reform and initiate changes,” said Milardović.

He also pointed out that it was evident that Plenković did not have enough influence in the party he is leading. “It is obvious that he does not control HDZ. Even his adviser and HDZ elder statesman Vladimir Šeks publicly said he was the one managing him? If that is the case, it is incomprehensible that someone could be at the top position in the state, but be managed by somebody else. Plenković has a low level of autonomy and a low reform potential, and as the time passes, he will begin to collapse as a ruler. It is not important that he will collapse, because he will eventually return to Brussels anyway, but we will all fail together as well,” said Milardović.

According to him, Plenković’s government is very fragile. The situation within HDZ can also be best seen in the fact that the new HDZ party statutes are being drafted by Šeks’s young stepson Karlo Ressler.

“This is Plenković’s second year. The time is passing, and the society is collapsing. How can anything be achieved with a ruler who does not dare to do anything,” Milardović said, commenting on the low ratings of Plenković as the head of the government.

Translated from Jutarnji List.


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