Croatian Parliament Dismisses Prime Minister and Brings Down Government

By 16 June 2016

After five hours of debate, Parliament adopts the motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković.

For the first time in modern Croatian history, Parliament has adopted a motion of no confidence against a prime minister. The vote took place on Thursday afternoon, with 125 votes “in favour” of dismissal, two abstentions and 15 votes “against”.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković once again addressed the MPs. “I would like to thank all MPs, and I believe that Croatian citizens now have a clear picture of the reasons for this crisis. I came here with the best of intentions to help the country, and at the end I would like to thank everyone who gave me their support, especially my family”, said Orešković.

The Prime Minister was supported by 12 MOST’s MPs and three MPs from smaller parties, while all the major parties voted against him, including HDZ and other members of the Patriotic Coalition, which brought him to power in January.

The Prime Minister and ministers will continue to perform their duties as a caretaker government until a new government is formed.

President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović is expected to begin consultations with party leaders on Friday morning.

Speaking after the vote in Parliament, Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković said that the best solution for Croatia would be early parliamentary elections. “I came here with the best intentions to help our country. Initially, we all had common goals and hope that we can improve economic situation and raise the living standards. Unfortunately, we see that communication with certain individuals, in this case with Mr. Karamarko, could not work. I believe in this country, we have great potential and I hope that we will use that potential,” said Orešković.

He did not want to comment on possible future political cooperation with MOST. “We will continue performing the duties of the government until a new government is formed, and that will be our focus,” said Orešković.

The Prime Minister admitted he did not expect his government would end like this. “You come, you have some global experience, and I think I had a lot to offer as far as economic and financial sectors are concerned. I was hoping I would get support from Karamarko. But, I cooperated well with Božo Petrov,” said Orešković, adding that he was not sorry that he accepted the position of prime minister.

“I am a patriot and I love challenges. I am a little sad because I think we could do a lot more, this team had tremendous potential. In the end, when we look at the results, I believe that Croatia will have a good year for entrepreneurs,” added Orešković. He said that Friday’s cabinet meeting would be postponed and that he would rest over the weekend.

Asked about pressures related to the appointment of the Security Intelligence Agency director, he reiterated that he chose Daniel Markić because of his qualities. “Some people assumed I would be a puppet. I am a man who has 25 years of experience in business, and when I need to choose someone, I will choose the highest quality person. I have my lines which I will not cross. Mr. Markić is a high quality professional and he has demonstrated that,” said Orešković.

Asked whether reshuffle or new elections would be a better option, he said: “I think the elections must be held. You have seen what MOST thinks and citizens expect elections. People should decide.”

MOST president Božo Petrov said on Thursday that MOST hoped that the new elections would take place in the autumn. He ironically congratulated HDZ and SDP for their cooperation. “I congratulate HDZ and SDP because in the last six months, they made the two most important decisions together – the appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court and today’s decision on the Prime Minister,” said Petrov.

Petrov confirmed that MOST would take part in the next parliamentary elections. “Of course, the President will decide on the date, but I believe the elections should be held in the autumn, and not during the summer,” said Petrov.

Asked when MOST would submit signatures for the dissolution of Parliament, he replied they would do that when there was an agreement on when the next elections would be held.“HDZ can only dream about finding 76 MPs for a coalition reshuffle. They have jumped into the abyss, but you have to ask them why they did it,” he said.

When asked whether Tihomir Orešković would join MOST for the elections, he said there were no such conversations.