Prime Minister Orešković and His Croatian Government Take Power

Total Croatia News

Finally! Croatia has a new government.

Several minutes before midnight, new Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković arrived to the Banski Dvori palace, the seat of the Croatian government, together with deputy prime ministers Tomislav Karamarko and Božo Petrov, to officially take power from former Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, reports Novilist on January 23, 2016.

“I wish you all the best”, said Milanović when Orešković arrived. The former Prime Minister had to wait for ten minutes for the new PM to come. When he finally arrived, they exchanged a few words in English. Orešković asked: “Do you have any advice?” and Milanović replied: “None whatsoever”, and added: “Since we do not have nuclear weapons, I cannot give you any secret codes. I wish you all the best, it will be easier than it was for us four years ago, but it will still not be easy”, said Milanović.

The new Prime Minister had this to say: “The challenges are ahead of us, my team is ready, we take our responsibility to strengthen the economy, improve the standard of living for our citizens.” Asked if he was discouraged by an endless debate in Parliament, he said that it is a democracy, but that it would be better for citizens it MPs did not talk so much about the Second World War and ideology, because there are better topics than that.

After a short handover ceremony, Milanović immediately left the Banski Dvori palace, while Orešković, Karamarko and Petrov and their associates remained there and agreed they would meet later today to get on with the business of governing.

The government was confirmed in Parliament a few minutes after 11 pm, after long debate which lasted from the early morning. The government received 83 votes “for” and 61 “against”. There were 5 abstentions, while two MPs did not vote. The government needed 76 votes to be confirmed. Prime Minister Orešković and his team received support from MPs coming from the Patriotic Coalition, MOST, HDSSB party led by Branimir Glavaš, Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić’s party, Radimir Čačić from Reformists, and four representatives of national minorities (Vladimir Bilek, Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, Šandor Juhas and Mirko Rašković). The only major surprise was the decision by Ivan Lovrinović, one of the main members of MOST and the author of their pre-election economic manifesto, to vote against the government. He criticized the government for removing implementation deadlines from the coalition agreement and added that he felt cheated.

Before the vote, Orešković made another short speech mainly about the economy. His only reference to ideological questions was when he said that his company would have gone bankrupt if they spent so much time discussing history. “I came here as a Croat from Canada to help my country.” He quoted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who said he wanted his country to “become a gentle and friendly nation”, and stressed that he would like Croatia to also become such a country.

“It is clear that it is not easy for everybody in Croatia, and a lot of people barely manage to survive. My goal is to raise everyone’s living standards. I have worked with colleagues from SDP and HNS while I was the managing director of Pliva, which was the largest investor in Croatia with 250 million dollars. The former government has introduced some good reforms and they should be retained”, said Orešković.

The long parliamentary debate was mostly devoted to ideological arguments between opposition and government MPs. The opposition was particularly loud in their criticism of two proposed ministers, Culture Minister Zlatan Hasanbegović due to his statements about antifascism and the Second World War, and Veterans Affairs Minister Mijo Crnoja, who has announced that he would like to compile a register of Croatian traitors.


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