Prime Minister Announces New Ministers

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The vote on the new ministers should take place later today.

After a meeting of the HDZ Presidency late on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković addressed reporters and announced the names of new ministers, after he successfully performed a ruling coalition reshuffle and entered into an alliance with HNS, reports N1 on June 9, 2017.

“The process of consultations with partners has now been completed. We have agreed to fill the government with new ministers. They will be presented to relevant parliamentary committees in the morning, and when this process is finished, there will be a vote, and the government will be complete again,” said Prime Minister Plenković.

He announced that HNS acting party president Predrag Štromar would become Minister of Construction and Deputy Prime Minister; Blaženka Divjak (HNS) will be the Minister of Education; Dražen Bošnjaković will take over the judiciary portfolio; Lovro Kušević, currently the Minister of Construction, will be the Minister of Administration; Davor Božinović, the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, will be the new Interior Minister; current Labour Minister Tomislav Ćorić will take over energy and environmental protection portfolio; while Marko Pavić will be the new Labour Minister. Currently, vacant ministerial positions were previously held by ministers from MOST.

Asked whether he had the support of a majority in the Parliament, the Prime Minister said briefly. “You will see tomorrow what kind of support I have. You know how many votes we need. I would not be proposing ministers if I did not have enough support. It is not important who will raise their hands for the ministers, but it is important that we have the majority to confirm them. We should all turn to economic growth. HDZ’s responsibility is to protect political stability and the prosperity of all of our people. It is time to focus on our jobs,” Plenković said.

Asked about the curricular reform, given that there are rumors that the new Education Minister will demand new public competition for members of the expert group, the Prime Minister briefly replied that rumours were not the subject of conversations.

Journalists also asked how the Prime Minister can guarantee that this government would last longer than his coalition with MOST, which broke up after just seven months. “I guarantee it with serious work, positive trends, our approach to problem-solving, responsibility,” said Plenković.

The vote on the new ministers will take place later in the day. It is expected that between 79 and 81 MPs will support the government (76 votes are needed for the majority).

Just a few days ago, Štromar lost his re-election bid unexpectedly as Prefect of Varaždin County, where he served from 2009 to 2017. He has been a member of HNS since 1990 and became acting party President on Wednesday after the party split over a coalition with HDZ. He will take the Ministry of Construction from HDZ’s Lovro Kuščević, who will become the Administration Minister.

Blaženka Divjak is a professor at the Faculty of Organisation and Informatics in Varaždin, and she was also Vice Rector of the University of Zagreb (2010-2014). She will replace controversial minister Pavo Barišić, whose brief mandate was marked by accusations of plagiarism and by his selection of conservative experts to implement the curricular reform.

Dražen Bošnjaković was the Justice Minister several years ago in HDZ’s government led by Jadranka Kosor. He is currently a member of Parliament.

Davor Božinović has been until now the Prime Minister’s chief of staff. In Jadranka Kosor’s government, he was the Defence Minister and is now one of Plenković’s closest associates.

Tomislav Ćorić is one of the younger ministers in the government. Before becoming the Labour Minister in 2016, he worked at the Faculty of Economics.

In the Ministry of Labour, Ćorić will be replaced by Marko Pavić. He is currently the state secretary at the Ministry and before he worked at the Institute for Professional Development of Youth.

Lovro Kuščević will leave his current construction portfolio and become the Administration Minister.


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