ZAGREB, April 11, 2018 – Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday one could conclude that a part of his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party wanted to destabilise him by using the dissatisfaction with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
Responding to questions from the press after Question Time in parliament, he said there would be no sanctions in the HDZ for those who might vote against the ratification. “The HDZ is a democratic party. However, some members evidently have stronger views. Some are under pressure, some have ethical doubts.”
Asked if Davor Ivo Stier, who said he would vote against the ratification, could remain the HDZ’s political secretary, Plenković said, “We’ll see.”
As for the possibility that HDZ MPs could vote on the ratification of the Convention according to their conscience, he said this was not in question and that there were no contentious details. “As a responsible government, in consultation with the best legal experts, we have addressed all that was problematic to any colleague in the parliamentary majority, whom I listened to and talked to.”
As for the compatibility of the Convention with the constitution, its essence and the fear of a possible introduction of gender ideology, Plenković said there should be no fear in terms of legal obligations, changes to the education system or the constitutional definition of marriage.
“Everything that plays on people’s fears, we have addressed in a very precise and good way. There have been several relevant comments on the nature of the Interpretive Statement, the legal impact and content. From my point of view, we have done all we should have to tell those who are afraid that they shouldn’t be.” Asked why they were afraid, he said “people are under pressure because of the general atmosphere, including of you, the media.”
Plenković said he was not worried that MP Hrvoje Zekanović of the HRAST party walked out of the ruling coalition over the Istanbul Convention or about the increasingly tight parliamentary majority.
“There were 78 of us, now there’s 77,” he said, adding that Zekanović became an MP on an HDZ slate. “I’m sure he and his party generally made a certain contribution, but over the past eight weeks, instead of talking and trying to exchange views with the HDZ, they went too far. None of this surprised me. That’s the political choice of a small party which uses one to two topics it deals with to be a little more visible.”