Tough Love in HDZ: Plenković to Deal With MP Rebels

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After the incident in Parliament, a source from HDZ states party discipline will be tightened and voting will have to go as agreed

HDZ leadership has decided to strengthen party discipline in the MP Club so MPs would in the future vote according to decisions made in the Club, Večernji List reported on November 29, 2016.

Representatives that deviate from such decisions and form their own agenda in the Parliament, the HDZ leadership will not consider part of the Club. This means the HDZ will secure the minimum 76 votes without the “problematic” reps.

This is the direction of thought of a close associate of Andrej Plenković after a dozen HDZ MPs went rogue on Friday and failed to vote for the immunity removal for HDZ MP Stevo Culej. The same source said the situation on Friday is a combination of shiftlessness of some and malice of others.

“We are aware a part of the MPs are not satisfied with the new party president and are not happy with changes, but it is detrimental how many of them were drawn into the game played by Stevo Culej as well,” said the source from HDZ leadership. According to some renegade MPs, Branko Bačić, chief of the HDZ parliamentary club, made an error in not recognising the immunity removal demanded by a court due to the demolishing of Cyrillic panels in Vukovar as a potentially problematic situation.

“I am not worried about the Friday situation, we will work more in the Club and secure a parliamentary majority even without those who may obstruct voting. I will not name those considered malicious,” the source claimed.

Among the MPs regarded as unsatisfied by the HDZ leadership is certainly Zlatko Hasanbegović, who does nothing to hide his resentment, as well as Miro Kovač, Anton Kliman, Stevo Culej… The first three were ministers in the last government, and now as MPs under Plenković they feel they have nothing to lose.

Hasanbegović has from the start, along with Kovač recently, clearly positioned themselves as an internal opposition, while Kliman objected in the HDZ Presidency on the tax reform, specifically the raising of VAT on catering services. On Friday in the Parliament he abstained on voting on Culej.

Kovač was not part of the group that went rogue on Friday. Part of the rebels now comment he probably regrets it, while sources close to the former Foreign Minister say his goal is not to be an all-out opposition, but to stick to principles and warn of bad moves.

A combination of Hasanbegović, Kovač and Kliman is certainly not pleasant for HDZ leadership as all three achieved a high percentage of preferential votes in parliamentary elections, with Kliman entering Parliament from the 14th position.


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