Part of HDZ Wants Early Parliamentary Elections?

By 29 August 2017

Tensions surrounding the controversial memorial plaque at Jasenovac are rising.

Judging by reactions to the latest developments regarding the controversial memorial plaque in Jasenovac, HDZ’s right-wing faction wants to provoke early parliamentary elections, reports Index.hr on August 29, 2017.

The affair about the plaque, which contains the “For Homeland Ready” slogan used during the Independent State of Croatia, entered into a new phase several days ago when Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković announced that the dispute would not be solved until at least 2018.

HDZ’s coalition partners, HNS and national minority MPs, reacted immediately to the statement. The reaction of HNS was relatively mild, and the party's chief and Deputy Prime Minister Predrag Štromar did not want to condition his further support for Plenković's government by giving a specific deadline by which the plaque has to be removed (although nearly three months ago he promised that the plaque would be removed within a month). However, minority MPs have sent out stronger messages, demanding that the plaque must be removed by the end of September, and their crucial support for Plenković's majority in the Parliament has come into question.

In this context, it is interesting to follow the right-wing reactions to Štromar's claim that Prime Minister Plenković had supposedly promised him that the problem would soon be resolved in the only possible way – by removing the plaque.

Yesterday, veterans of HOS, an organization whose members the plaque commemorates, held a press conference and demanded “protection of defenders.” The news conference also featured Đuro Glogoški, the leader of veterans’ protests against SDP-led government several years ago. “We expect to receive a public explanation whether Mr Štromar's statement is the position of the entire government,” said Glogoški yesterday.

Even more interesting comments about the dispute were given by Milijan Brkić, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and the Deputy President of HDZ. In just two days, Brkić gave two very harsh statements which make it clear that he strongly opposes the removal of the disputed plaque.

“I think we have to finally realise that we have our homeland, our state, our Croatia, and that we no longer have to explain ourselves to anyone. This is our home; we are here on our own land. In the 1990s, we the defenders certainly did not go to the Homeland War by singing songs about Marshal Tito,” Brkić said. He made his position even more clear yesterday when he said that “people who want to remove the plaque are those who did not want Croatia.”

It is also interesting to note that today's Nacional weekly published an article referring to "a source close to Prime Minister Plenković”, claiming that Brkić, with the help of Glogoški, wants to remove Plenković as HDZ president and bring down the government.

Plenković himself has not said anything about the plaque for days, and the government council for facing the past, which was established at the beginning of March and which should make recommendations and provide a basis for a legislative solution which would apply to all symbols of totalitarian regimes, has so far only met twice.

It is evident to everyone that, by establishing the council, Plenković only wanted to buy himself some time and extend the status quo which enables him to have a majority in the Parliament. Still, after the latest moves by HDZ’s right-wing faction on one side and HNS and national minority MPs on the other, it is clear that the Prime Minister will not be able to continue in this way for too long. He will have to choose a side. Whatever he decides about the plaque in Jasenovac, he could be left without a majority in Parliament, thus bringing down his own government.

Translated from Index.hr.