Still Unclear How Croatian Government to Choose Officials in Ministries and Public Companies

Total Croatia News

Plenty of decision-making ahead for the new coalition government.

How exactly will the Cooperation Council between the Patriotic Coalition and MOST going to function is not clear even to members of that body which should make decisions about appointments in the state administration. Ministers in the new government are waiting for their deputies and assistants to be appointed, and many of them believe they should themselves have a right to choose at least three of their closest associates, instead of some inter-party body imposing its own decisions upon them, reports Jutarnji List and Vecernji List on February 2, 2016.

MOST’s members of the Cooperation Council gave very different statements yesterday. On the one hand, Ines Strenja-Linić said that assistant ministers will be chosen by public competition, while Ivan Kovačić said that deputy ministers will be selected the same way ministers had been, with three candidates being offered to the Prime Minister. The Cooperation Agreement which has been signed by the Patriotic Coalition, MOST and Milan Bandić Party clearly states that ministers themselves will propose their deputies, and that the final decision on the appointment will be made by Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković.

According to the Agreement, the Council should have no role in appointing deputy ministers. As far as assistant ministers are concerned, they should be appointed on the basis of the proposals determined by the Cooperation Council, according to pre-established rules and in accordance with legal provisions.

There are more than a hundred deputy and assistant ministers who will have to be appointed. If the ruling coalition will have to find three candidates for each position, that would mean there would be a list of more than 300 people who would need to be considered and interviewed. Therefore, some HDZ members speculate that it could be two weeks or longer before newly-appointed ministers get their deputies and assistants.

First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko said yesterday that the Cooperation Council will not be a new Central Committee which would make decisions about everything and to which the government would be subordinated. “It is a body that will, through discussion and cooperation, try to find the best people that we need in administration and in the government. During the last four years, we had a government and state administration which were divided in party fiefdoms. We want to find for each position the best people who can be proposed by the Patriotic Coalition and MOST”, said Karamarko.

“The Cooperation Council will not make any decisions which would be imposed upon the government. The executive branch will make decisions, and we will open topics for discussion”, said Ivan Kovačić, president of the MOST Parliamentary Caucus, adding that the Council will not have a president, but there will be coordinators from both the Patriotic Coalition and MOST. Cooperation Council has not yet met and, according to its members from HDZ, probably will not meet before Wednesday at the earliest. And when they first meet they will have to agree on how they will operate and make decisions.

Additional problems between coalition partners occurred regarding the appointment of new management teams in state-owned companies. Ivan Šuker, president of the HDZ Parliamentary Caucus and a member of the Cooperation Council, said yesterday that new managers of public companies will be appointed by political decision and not through public competition.

However, Deputy Prime Minister and MOST leader Božo Petrov said that management teams will be chosen through public competition. “We advocate professionalization of management teams in public companies and that is something which we have always advocated”, said Petrov. “I absolutely do not see any problems here and I think we will proceed with public competitions for those positions.”


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