After a delay and a replacement of one city councillor, the new ruling majority has been formed.
The Zagreb City Assembly was constituted on Monday afternoon, after the first unsuccessful attempt several weeks ago and an additional delay this morning. The new Assembly Speaker is Andrija Mikulić (HDZ). He was supported by 26 councillors, with 20 voting against and five abstaining, reports tportal.hr on 10 July 2017.
Before the session, representatives of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić’s party, HDZ and Bruna Esih’s candidate list have signed a coalition agreement. They together have 26 out of 51 councillors, which is precisely the number needed for the majority.
The ruling majority was finally formed after this morning’s drama, which started when one councillor elected of Mayor Bandić’s list, Hollywood film producer Branko Lustig, refused to sign an agreement guaranteeing that the Marshal Tito Square would be renamed. The renaming of the square was the main condition of Bruna Esih and her councillors.
Since there was no quorum present in the chamber at the time, Minister of Administration Lovro Kuščević decided to postpone the Assembly for the afternoon. After a four-hour delay, a solution was found. Lustig filed an official statement that he would not take his seat in the Assembly and was replaced by Vjekoslav Jeleč, a neurosurgeon from the Dubrava General Hospital, who was one of replacement candidates on Bandić’s list.
Although Lustig claimed on Friday that he would most likely support the renaming of Marshal Tito’s Square, he changed his mind and caused the chaos this morning. He later said he would not take his seat because he was not the right person for the job.
Jelena Pavičić Vukičević, a close associate of Mayor Bandić, said Lustig had frozen his mandate in the Assembly for the next six months due to health problems. “He is at his home with a fever. Mayor Bandić visited him this morning. He has decided by himself that this was not for him. He is not a young man,” said Pavičić Vukičević about the 85-year-old Lustig.
Lustig’s replacement Jeleč confirmed that the decision what to do what taken in the very last moment “They have just called me to come to the Assembly to do everything that is needed.”
Drago Prgomet (HDZ) called on everybody to support Mikulić as speaker because he has already demonstrated that he can do the job. Mikulić was the speaker at the end of the last convocation of the Assembly before this May’s local elections.
Tomislav Tomašević (Zagreb Is Ours) reminded Esih that she said before the elections that she would not enter into a coalition with Bandić and then reminded Bandić that he promised that the issue of the renaming of Marshal Tito Square would be decided by a referendum.
“You have breached your pre-election promises at the very start before the Assembly has even been constituted. This kind of political trade is one of the reasons why fewer and fewer people go to the polls, why they are leaving Croatia,” said Tomašević.
Mayor Bandić also commented on the events. “I have proposed for the square to be renamed as Square of the Republic of Croatia. There was a proposal in the mid-1990s to change the name of the square. Then President Tuđman stopped it because the historical circumstances were such,” said Bandić.