Friday

15th Dec 2017

Croatia government close to implosion

Croatia's deputy prime minister Tomislav Karamarko has filed a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, pushing the coalition government a step closer to collapse.

"This government is not functional. We can pursue reforms only with new people. There is still time for new, homogenous and reshuffled government," said Karamarko, who leads the largest coalition party HDZ.

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  • The vote on the motion is expected at the end of next week (Photo: Mario Fajt)

The party was collecting signatures for the motion on Tuesday (7 June), with a vote expected at the end of next week.

Prime minister Tihomir Oreskovic, a political novice who has spent most of his life in Canada, was drafted in because the main parties could not agree a candidate.

However, HDZ's coalition partner Most said it would support a no-confidence motion against Karamarko brought by the opposition SDP.

Karamarko is currently caught up in a scandal over oil money. His wife has business ties to a firm lobbying for Hungarian oil company Mol, which is in dispute with the Croatian government.

Last week, Oreskovic urged both Karamarko and Most leader Bozo Petrov, also a deputy PM, to resign.

The SDP, the second largest party, have indicated that they will support the motion against Oreskovic, meaning it is likely to pass. They hope the coalition's collapse will lead to new elections.

But Karamarko wants to broker a new government, saying Croatia does not have time for a vote.

If a prime minister-designate fails to gather the support of at least 76 MPs in the 151-seat parliament and form a cabinet within 30 days, there would have to call snap election.

Since it came to power in January, the government has fired critical journalists from public service channels and cut off funds for independent cultural bodies.

It has alienated the Jewish and Serbian minorities by installing a culture minister accused of glorifying Croatia's World War II leaders, who were allied to the Nazis and carried out massacres.

Last week, 25,000 teachers protested in Zagreb against the government's efforts to infuse the curriculum with nationalist propaganda.

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Scandals over oil money and World War II history, attacks on democratic standards risk unseating Croatia's government in a confidence vote just five months after it took office.

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