“The Prime Minister is a Pawn, and Croatia Is Held Hostage”

Total Croatia News

A commentary on the latest political events.

Jasmin Klarić comments on the latest political events, reports Novi List on April 29, 2017.

“They have lied for months. Stories of great co-operation, deep confidence and political stability were spread by MOST and HDZ ever since they formed their second government. What is worse, from the very outset it was clear that their marriage was not right, that MOST, even before the coalition agreement was signed, was held hostage by the threat of a coalition reshuffle, since Plenković claimed that he had a majority in Parliament even without MOST.

It could not end up differently than in chaos, particularly when the show around Agrokor and the Finance Minister started, and when it became obvious that the coalition might not last even until ‘the season of short sleeves’.

So, the dissolution of the latest marriage between MOST and HDZ is not something that should cause scandal. It was simply not meant to be from the very beginning, and in democracies, collapse of governments, early parliamentary elections and the drama are something natural.

However, the reason for real alarm is the answer to the question that should have been asked even since Finance Minister Zdravko Marić tried to disband the so-called ‘tax prosecution office’. Who is the one being protected? For who’s interests is the government is being brought down and for whom is Prime Minister Plenković willing to put his own political future in danger?

We should not spend a second on spins about lack of ‘collegiality’ of MOST’s Ministers in the case of Marić. After all the stories, Plenković is probably avoiding looking at himself too much in the mirror.

The defence of Zdravko Marić is both essentially and politically meaningless. The lies of political and their media accomplices about the Minister who has allegedly stopped the increase in state spending (although, in 2016, it actually grew) and about his brilliancy are interesting only for their shamelessness. A man who claimed just two months ago that everything was fine with Agrokor can no longer be a Finance Minister, even if he had not been a director at Agrokor before his political career was launched.

If it is true, and it is, then Plenković is bringing down his own government, threatening his political future and the future of his party, just to protect a minister who has been contaminated by his relationship with the largest Croatian company. In other words, knowing that the Interior Minister whom Plenković has now dismissed had launched a serious investigation of potential crimes in Agrokor, the Prime Minister is putting the government, HDZ and himself in the service of Agrokor owner Ivica Todorić and all those who stand next to him and behind him.

On the day when Plenković evicted MOST from the coalition and set off on a path that seems to be leading the path to new elections, since even a new parliamentary majority would not be strong enough to guarantee any long-term survival, the Agrokor Group dropped a bomb – it admitted that ‘errors’ had been found in its financial reports.

‘Consequently, the Group asks all the stakeholders not to rely on its financial statements from the past until verifications are completed and the situation is properly clarified,’ said a statement which de facto confirmed the recent (at the time duly denied) statement of the deputy director of the Russian VTB Bank – that the financial statements had been falsified.

So, let us look at recent events again – it has been confirmed that Agrokor’s financial statements were wrong, the Prime Minister brings down the ruling coalition due to a minister who used to be one of Agrokor’s directors, and he dismisses the Interior Minister who promoted an investigation of Agrokor.

Therefore, the key question for this country is not whether we will go to the polls soon, what will happen with Plenković, MOST and HDZ, or whether SDP president Bernardić is ready to take over. The only key issue is whether or not Croatia will continue to be a hostage of a powerful clique that is obviously, at best, dancing on the very edge of crime.

And the Prime Minister, once so promising, after 27 April 2017 could hardly be considered to be anything more than an obedient pawn on some else’s chessboard ever again.”


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