Several HDZ MPs Rebel Against Party Leadership

Total Croatia News

Prime Minister and party president Plenković warned the rebels that their behaviour would not be tolerated in the future.

During a voting session in Parliament on Friday, several HDZ’s MPs decided to rebel against the party leadership and vote against instructions they were given. At issue was the proposal to suspend parliamentary immunity for MP Stevo Culej (HDZ), who has been suspected by the State Attorney’s Office of breaking bilingual Cyrillic signs on government buildings in Vukovar several years ago. According to tradition, parliamentary immunity in all such cases is always suspended and usually with a unanimous vote, reports Jutarnji List on November 28, 2016.

However, on Friday, several HDZ’s MPs decided to vote against the proposal, abstain during the vote, or leave parliamentary chamber altogether. There were mostly members of HDZ’s right-wing faction, who used the occasion to warn Prime Minister and HDZ president Plenković that they are dissatisfied with their status and some of the more moderate policies which he has advocated since coming into office.

The proposal was adopted at the end, but only because MPs from opposition parties joined the majority and supported the suspension of immunity.

After the vote, Plenković called an urgent meeting with the rebels, but not all those who were invited came to the meeting. Among those who did not show up was former Culture Minister and member of HDZ Presidency Zlatko Hasanbegović, one of the unofficial leaders of HDZ’s rightwing faction. He reportedly did not come because he had other commitments. “We were invited to see Plenković by his secretary, and it is possible that Hasanbegović did not even receive an invitation, since he often does not respond to phone calls”, said one of his party colleagues.

Some of those who did come were dissatisfied with how the meeting went. “I think that the emergency meeting with Plenković was unnecessary, and it caused more noise than the vote itself. The problem is that we want to discuss issues and to have a role in debates about them, and not only to receive instruction how to vote. We are not going to be puppets. They should have more respect for members of Parliament, and not threaten us as if we were children”, say some HDZ members.

The party leadership explained its demand by saying that Culej himself had asked for the immunity to be suspended. “What else could he had said? I know he was happy to have received the support of at least part of HDZ’s MPs”, said one MP, adding that it was possible that similar problems with voting could occur again.

According to the parliamentary agenda, there are several issues coming to a vote which could also be controversial, such as report on the activities of the Foundation for Development of Civil Society, report on the Croatian Radio Television and the Council for Electronic Media. These issues caused problem for the previous government as well, and it is not sure what former Culture Minister Hasanbegović will do. Those who know him say that he will probably act according to “his conscience” and not listen to anybody’s instructions.


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