Parliament to Debate Istanbul Convention Ratification

By 11 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 11, 2018 – The parliament will debate the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on Wednesday. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Tuesday evening commented on the Croatian Bishops' Conference's (HBK) opposition to the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and its call on members of the parliament to vote against the ratification of the document whose content the HBK claims raises numerous doubts and uncertainties.

"I haven't had the time to read it, I was at a meeting," Plenković told reporters after a meeting of his HDZ party group in the parliament, held ahead one of the most dynamic weeks for the parliament when it is expected to discuss the ratification of the Istanbul Convention and confidence in Economy Minister Martina Dalić, as well as hold Question Time.

Plenković did not say how many members of the ruling coalition had stated that they would vote against the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. "We didn't count them, some people took the floor to explain their views or the context, but we didn't do any counting," said Plenković.

"There are a few colleagues who have certain ethical doubts, some are also under pressure, that is quite evident, and some have views that are different than the party's and the party county branches', but it remains to be seen in the next two days how the debate will unfold," he said.

"Nothing, what do you think should happen," he said when asked what would happen to those who would vote against the ratification of the convention.

"My impression is that there is a lack of understanding about this topic in public, or about the way the HDZ functions. The HDZ is a democratic party, people who were elected on party slates had voters' trust and were in most cases candidates of county party branches, they have the grassroots legitimacy. Their term is irrevocable, they are here, they are all mature and serious people, I don't see who in the HDZ would jeopardise their party position over a single situation involving a parliamentary vote," said the PM. He confirmed indirectly that before the vote on the convention, scheduled for Friday, the party group would meet once again.

Plenković confirmed that Hrvoje Zekanović of the HRAST party had walked out of the HDZ party group over the Istanbul Convention. "I regret his decision since he was given the trust to be on our slate in Constituency No. 9, where the HDZ is traditionally strong, but his statements over the past month were such that nobody was surprised by his move," said Plenković.

He added that he was not worried that after Zekanović's departure the parliamentary majority now had 77 deputies in the 151-seat legislature.

I am not worried, it is very clear after today's discussion that nobody else will follow suit, Plenković said after the meeting that lasted around two and a half hours.