HDZ and HNS Split over Curricular Reform

By 5 April 2018

HNS says it is ready to leave the government if its demands are not met.

HNS has decided it will not agree to a compromise regarding the curricular reform, even if that means that its coalition with HDZ will collapse. They do not want to see conservative candidate Matko Glunčić as head of the Expert Working Group (ERS) for curricular reform, even though he has been chosen by Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković for the position. They say he does not fulfil formal condition and that he is one of the opponents of the curricular reform as planned by HNS’s Education Minister Blaženka Divjak, reports Jutarnji List on April 5, 2018.

HNS is also angry with the way the prime minister convened a meeting of the Special Expert Committee (PSP), which was supposed to name the ERS head, claiming that the prime minister has deceived them. According to HNS, HDZ initially decided to appoint Nevenka Maras as ERS head, a former principal of the Ostrog Primary School from Kaštel Lukšić. At a recent meeting between Plenković, Speaker of Parliament Gordan Jandroković and HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak, Maras was presented as HDZ's choice, and HNS agreed. But, just one day later, they received an invitation for the PSP meeting in which it was stated that Matko Glunčić was the best candidate.

HNS say they do not understand why the prime minister is insisting on Glunčić, when he is such a controversial figure. “We insist that the ERS head should be a person who is not against the curricular reform. We cannot cooperate with Glunčić,” says the HNS leadership.

Although they are still cautious about whether they would be ready to leave the government if Glunčić is eventually appointed, they clearly state they will not change their position. If Minister Divjak resigns from her post, HNS claim they would not continue their cooperation with HDZ. “We will defend the educational reform all the way, since that is the reason why he have entered the government,” said a HNS source.

HNS believe that the prime minister’s insistence on Glunčić is his way to compensate for the Istanbul Convention, which he intends to ratify despite opposition from the rightwing part of HDZ. They add that Plenković does not have good personal relations with Minister Divjak and would probably be happy if she were replaced. However, they would not even consider such proposal. “We just want Divjak to be allowed to do her job.”

On the other hand, HDZ is confident that the problem will be solved by the end of the week. Many party members also do not understand why the prime minister is insisting on Glunčić, who is currently a state secretary in the Education Ministry, but they do not believe that he, as a relative unknown person, could bring about the collapse of the government. “This is not an unsolvable problem. Both sides now have two days to think about it and I believe they will come to an agreement,” said one HDZ official. The new meeting of the PSP is expected on Friday.

In a statement on Wednesday, Glunčić claimed he was not against the reform. He added that Minister Divjak is not supportive of him because a wrong impression that he is against the reform has been created.

Translated from Jutarnji List (reported by Rozita Vuković, Goran Penić, Mirela Lilek).