Three and a Half Weeks Until the Circus Arrives to the Croatian Parliament

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Constitutional crisis coming to Croatia. June 7? Mark the Date just in case.

We have already written about the current issues in the Croatian Parliament and the inability to vote on anything because there’s no quorum and columnist Renato Baretić reminds us of yet another problem we are facing if the MPs don’t get their act together and start showing up for work. Here is Renato Baretić’s new column for T-portal.

Three and a half more weeks and then…..

In a situation when, let’s be serious, the only thing that can raise 101 hands in unison in the Croatian Parliament is if they’re voting on an increase of their own salary, the mission of Robert Podolnjak and his Constitutional Committee seems more futile and hopeless than climbing the Biokovo mountain in flip flops with an air mattress on your back.

Let’s try and imagine what would have happened in the last 100 days in Croatia if there were no civil, centrist, social-democratic (and please don’t confuse this with SDP), left and minority media representatives, if there were no NGOs, some self-proclaimed culture buffs, activists and some other low lives connected to Zuroff , Soros, State Departments and srbo-chetnicks. Imagine there was no efficient parliament opposition (nothing really to imagine there anyway) and that no one from the “outside” showed any resistance to what the 8-legged coalition, joined by Most and supported by some other parliamentary marginal parties were doing. If they were not distracted by anyone outside their ranks – what would have happened?

Would, I don’t know I’m just randomly putting things out there, Siniša Kovačić’s application for the position of the director of Croatian National Television have been accepted even though it was not properly submitted? Yes. Would the other candidates file an appeal, even if just for the sake of it in order to show that they do follow set regulations? Of course, they would. Would I now have to list all the things and examples of what would be exactly the same, from the three-week impotence of our Parliament to, since there is nothing more crucial to vote on, at least decide on abolishing the office of the former president Mesić to the bowing down of our government to the interests of Zdravko Mamić and the football elite with new changes to the Sport Act? Of course I wouldn’t because there are so many examples of the total inefficiency of the new ruling structures that it would take me three and a half weeks to list all the symptoms of entropy, and there so many of them it makes you wonder: “Come on, can you honestly tell me this is just happening on its own, without a plan and that there is no system to this madness? Are they for real?!”.   

This whole accidental government keeps slipping and falling over boards and ropes from which it was built, on foundations more fragile than Crnoja’s shack or Glogoški’s tent, which was imposed on the people of Vukovar without anyone ever asking them for their opinion. And nothing, nothing would be different even if no one meddled into their everyday business and even if they never received a visit from Washington or Brussels and received a slap on the wrist. Ok, the right wingers would have probably professed their love for the Ustashi a little louder, Tepeš and Čorić would not so suddenly stop being prima-ballerinas (which is a pity because the costumes looked so pretty on them), but it is certain we would not be getting anything more from the Parliament or President’s office than what we are getting now in regular daily doses, before, after and during our meals:  mutual accusations, framing, ignoring, blackmailing, cursing, making up and then all over again in circles with no regard to citizens and the utter hopelessness of their daily existence. Citizens will remain nothing more to them than just ears to which they can pour their calls for unity, reconciliation and togetherness because we cannot prosper without them….

Empiric proof and strong arguments for this assumption are everywhere you turn. There are so many of them that I would not be able to count them all in three and a half weeks even with your help. So many that a huge neon sign could have been lit over the entire country during the last 100 days saying “Proctology office Croatia”. Besides, there’s no point in listing all of those examples when they were all summarized in the recent “reform action plan” which was put together in a haste by copy pasting all the recommendations and demands (not from the now infamous Bavarian institute whose name is not to be mentioned anymore) from Brussels and last year’s documents from the Ibler square (SDP headquarters) that were never implemented. We wouldn’t even have that reform plan if it weren’t for the blasted deadline imposed by the European Commission.

The circus is leaving the town…

What does this Government want apart from a cultural revolution (which, so far, they are successfully implementing), black Friday sale of everything they can get their hands on and the control over the repressive system? I don’t know if there’s anyone out there with a correct answer to this question, but I am sure we will all be a lot smarter in three and a half weeks. Why do I keep mentioning these three and a half weeks?  

Well, in three and a half weeks, or on April 7to be more exact the Parliament will have to vote on 10 new judges of the Croatian Constitutional Court. How? Well, with 2/3 of all parliamentary votes so at least 101 MPs will have to vote in favour. Hey, in a situation when Karamarko, Milanović nor Petrov can cross their heart and say they have the support of 2/3 of their own party members, how can we expect their entire following to suddenly wake up and rally around the same flag and vote in unison for the same 10 candidates, the ones that will be proposed by a very colorful Constitutional committee.  That very same Committee has received 46 applications, meaning that 36 of them will have to be eliminated after extensive (and public) hearings in order to shorten the list to the final 10 candidates . In a situation when, let’s be serious, the only thing that can raise 101 hands in unison in the Croatian Parliament is if they’re voting on an increase of their own salary, the mission of Robert Podolnjak and his Constitutional Committee seems more futile and hopeless than climbing the Biokovo mountain in flip flops with an air mattress on your back.

So what, you might say, let them work for their pay, who cares anymore about our MPs and committees and what did you call it – Constitutional Court? And sadly you will be mistaken. Because one of the most important roles of the Constitutional Court is to monitor the legality and constitutionality of the elections, both parliamentary and local ones, they are the ones that give the State electoral commission the green light to proclaim the election results as official and final. And such a decision can only be made during a plenary assembly with at least a majority quorum. No matter how formal and irrelevant it may seem at first glance, this procedure is clearly defined in the Constitution in Article 129. So the State electoral commission can declare whatever they want but their decision cannot be valid without the prior authorization of the Constitutional Court. And they will not be able to get it if the Court doesn’t have any judges. They can only be appointed by the Parliament with the consensus of the two largest political parties, with an absolute majority of votes. How will HDZ and SDP with their satellites and associates reach this consensus when they cannot get a quorum in over three weeks to mock former president Mesić?   

In other words, if the Parliament does not vote and name the new judges of the Constitutional Court by June 7, then not only is there no point in new elections (a subject being voiced more and more often these days), there’s also no legal method in which they can be declared. The President cannot just dismiss the Parliament and declare new elections because a dismissed parliament cannot elect new Constitutional judges, and the Court, without enough judges cannot authorize election results. I mean, they can do whatever they want but even if all their councils stand on their eyelashes it will not be in accordance with the Constitution.  

I repeat, three and a half weeks. That’s how long this amateur group we call the Parliament (and yes this goes out to all the parties) has to comply with the fundamental act of this tired and worn out country that’s been abused way too long. Should they fail to comply, dry political and legal terminology will say nothing more than that we are in a “constitutional crisis”. But it won’t just be a constitutional crisis, in that case June 8 will be the grand opening of an all out amusement park from Prevlaka to Tovarnik, a circus that will be, at first, ruled by out-of-control adolescents after which there will be a need for a strong, firm hand, for someone with determination and guts to put an end to this agony and to set new, strict rules, because you can all see where this mess has lead us to….

It is very hard to determine whether our MPs are aware of this possibility or if they are only too aware of it. The only thing that is as clear as day is the fact that both options are equally worrying and that the shit is yet to hit the fan.

Three and a half more weeks… It’s not hard for me to imagine our most liked minister (the one with spontaneous support rallies) impatiently looking at the walls in his office, first at the one with the clock, then at the one with the calendar, tapping his foot nervously under the table. Three and a half more weeks, just 3 ½ weeks and then he will be free to sing from the top of his lungs “You can leave your hat on”…   

PS: Since I’m already here, during the  “Quizimodo” pop-quiz, largest and oldest pub quiz in Split, the following trick question was asked,  ”Mrs. Ana Karamarko’s maiden name is Šarić, can you tell us the maiden name of Ivo Sanader’s wife?”. Only a few of the participants knew the answer. Do you? It doesn’t mean anything but it’s kind of symbolic. (BTW, it’s also Šarić).


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