ZAGREB, June 5, 2018 – The Presidency and the National Council of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) on Monday evening with a majority vote relieved of duty Davor Ivo Stier and Miro Kovač, HDZ political and international secretaries, and appointed Lovro Kuščević and Davor Božinović to those posts.
The replacements were confirmed to reporters by HDZ president and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who said after the session and Stier and Kovac were replaced at his proposal.
Asked about the reasons for Stier’s and Kovac’s removal, Plenković said that trust was the most important principle in politics. He reiterated that, against his wishes, Stier left the government a year ago and that cooperation was no longer as intensive and constructive as it had been a year and a half ago.
As for Kovač, Plenković said the level of trust between them was not sufficient which was why he decided to appoint Božinović to Kovač’s former position.
Plenković also said that three members of the HDZ Presidency and the HDZ National Council were against the removals.
After the meeting, Miro Kovač said that he would continue to work for Croatia, its citizens and the HDZ, underlining that his conscience was clear. He said he was happy and proud that he was at this senior post for more than four years and that he had a privilege to be part of HDZ’s victories since 2014. Asked about his future ambitions, Kovač said: “You will hear everything in time.”
Davor Ivo Stier said that his way of working was always constructive and once again pointed to the need of resolving the problem of clientelism and crony capitalism. “One phase has ended and a new one has started in which I will invest even more effort in order to achieve what I have written in the book ‘New Croatian Paradigm’ and what I have mentioned at the HDZ general convention,” Stier told reporters.
Asked if now he was ready to destabilise Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković in the party or the parliament, Stier said his way of working was always constructive and that this should not be brought down to a personal level. He, however, warned about a serious problem of clientelism and crony capitalism in Croatia, adding that key economists had also pointed that out. “We need to deal with this. I am glad to see that the HDZ has the strength for that. Most definitely there will be obstacles, but trust me, we will succeed,” Stier said.
Asked if he had ambitions to take over the party leadership, Stier said now was not the time for elections in the party or the state. “I am not ruling out any possibility, but we will decide on that when the time comes,” he said.