Eventful April Ahead for Croatian Politics

By 1 April 2018

After the Easter holidays, a lot of decisions will have to be made.

Members of Parliament, who are currently on their Easter break, will return to the parliamentary benches in two weeks, and they have a lot of work ahead of them, reports tportal.hr on April 1, 2018.

The parliament will again meet on the 11th of April. The first point of order will be questions to the prime minister and members of the government. The MPs will certainly not miss the opportunity to question them on all the current events: the acquisition of fighter jets, differences in foreign policy, relations with Russia, the Agrokor crisis and, of course, the Istanbul Convention ratification.

The ratification itself is expected to take place in the first couple of weeks after the MPs return to the benches. The government has already sent the ratification law to the parliament, with an accompanying statement, and it is expected that the bill will be adopted without any problems. The majority of the opposition parties will vote for it – SDP, HSS, GLAS, IDS, as well as the majority of the ruling coalition. It is still a question of how many HDZ’s MPs will vote for the convention, given that some, like former foreign ministers Miro Kovač and Davor Ivo Stier, have announced they would not give their support. MPs from minor rightwing parties will also oppose it.

Although it is certain that the convention will receive enough support, it is still not clear whether an ordinary majority of present MPs is necessary for the law to be passed, or whether the majority of all MPs (76) will have to support it. Still, the final outcome is not in question.

The first two weeks of the parliamentary session will also include a vote of no confidence against the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts, Martina Dalić. Her dismissal has been requested by all major opposition parties, but it will be hard for them to find 76 votes needed for her dismissal. The opposition still hopes that it could receive the support of some of the disappointed MPs from the ruling majority, including the three Serbian national minority MPs, whole leader Milorad Pupovac has been ambiguous about his vote.

This week, the government expectedly rejected the motion, using the opportunity to make fun of the opposition’s request, which contained a factual error. In its submission, the opposition accused Dalić of her actions regarding the possible construction of a power plant on the ''river'' Peruća, although a river with such a name does not exist in Croatia. The river is actually called Cetina, while Peruća is a dam and a lake.

Another critical issue is the election of the new chief state prosecutor, whose current term will expire on the 23rd of April. The parliament will have to elect the new prosecutor by that date, and it is still not sure whether the current office holder, Dinko Cvitan, will receive another term. According to media reports, there are several other potential candidates, including HDZ’s former lawyer, which would undoubtedly be an interesting contribution to the development of Croatia’s “independent” judiciary.

It is also not known when some of the opposition’s motions will be put to debate. There are several interpellations – SDP’s about INA, the “For Homeland Ready” slogan and structural reforms, and GLAS and IDS’s about the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. One of the interpellations should be debated soon, given that new parliamentary rules of procedure will be implemented for the first time. According to them, the opposition can put a topic to the debate, provided it has been waiting on the legislative agenda for more than 60 days.

Translated from tportal.hr (reported by Maja Šurina).