Tuesday

16th Aug 2022

Croatia PM toppled amid coalition infighting

  • Tomislav Oreskovic during a press conference with Council president Donald Tusk. (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Croatia is preparing for a government reshuffle or early elections after the parliament voted to remove prime minister Tihomir Oreskovic from office.

The ruling Patriotic Coalition, consisting of the conservative HDZ party and Most, a big-tent party led by former Catholic cleric Bozo Petrov, has been in dire straits for weeks.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Relations deteriorated further when HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko came under fire for alleged conflicts of interest. His wife was shown to have received over €60,000 from a firm lobbying for Hungarian oil company Mol, which is in dispute with the Croatian government.

On Wednesday (15 June), a parliamentary committee found Karamarko guilty of breaching two articles of the law on preventing conflicts of interest. Karamarko resigned from his post as deputy PM the same day.

He said his resignation was not linked to the committee vote and that he would seek redress in court.

”Tomorrow [Thursday] we will hold a no-confidence vote against PM Oreskovic as this government is dysfunctional," he added.

Oreskovic, a political novice who spent most of his life in Canada, was made prime minister in a compromise that ended record-long coalition talks last autumn.

The largest opposition party, social-democratic SDP, supported the HDZ motion to oust him, hoping this would trigger early elections. 


During its half year in power, the Patriotic Coalition has led Croatia down the path of illiberal democracy in developments comparable to those in Hungary and Poland. It fired critical journalists from public service channels and cut off funds for independent cultural bodies.

It also alienated teachers by installing a minister of education who doubted Darwin’s theory of evolution and who tried to infuse the curriculum with nationalist propaganda.

The culture minister used to be a member of a neo-Nazi group and has glorified Croatia's World War II leaders, who were allied with the Nazis and who carried out massacres.

Amid the political turbulence, Croatia is struggles with recession and with a 15 percent unemployment rate.

HDZ said it would try to form a new majority in parliament, which would back the current non-party finance minister Zdravko Maric as new PM. It is unlikely to ask Most for support.

SDP will file a proposal to dissolve the parliament, hoping the right-wing coalition’s track record would help it win over disgruntled voters.

If HDZ fails to form a new cabinet within 30 days, president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic must call a snap election.

Croatia government close to implosion

Deputy prime minister Tomislav Karamarko is filing a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, fighting of an attack on his own position.

Opinion

Croatia joins EU's illiberal democracy club

Croatia's new PM is a political nobody. He's controlled by men who are about as pro-European as Kaczynski in Poland or Orban in Hungary and the EU should be worried.

Croatia and Serbia in war of words

The 1990's wars are again straining relations between Croatia and Serbia amid reinterpretation on both sides of World War Two memories.

Analysis

Croatian election fuels regional tensions

Despite some conciliatory voices, Croatia's latest election has been overshadowed by nationalistic rhetoric, irking its neighbour, Serbia.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists
  2. Iran responds to EU's 'final text' on nuclear deal
  3. Model minority myths
  4. EU must make public who really owns its fishing fleets
  5. Germany needs to cut gas use by 20% to stave off winter crisis
  6. Europe's wildfire destruction set to hit new record
  7. How Putin and Erdoğan are making the West irrelevant
  8. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us