Government’s Thin Majority in Parliament Becomes Even Thinner

By 11 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 11, 2018 - Member of parliament Hrvoje Zekanović of the HRAST party told a news conference on Wednesday that his party was leaving the ruling coalition and all positions in government structures over the planned ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which also meant that it would withhold its support for Economy Minister Martina Dalić in a coming parliamentary vote on her impeachment.

Hrvoje Slezak, a state secretary at the Science and Education Ministry, and Ladislav Ilčić, an advisor at the Culture Ministry, both members of HRAST, will leave their positions to confirm their credibility, said Zekanović.

According to unofficial sources, even though he is not a member of HRAST but enjoys its support, Matko Glunčić, a state secretary at the Science and Education Ministry who until a few days ago was being mentioned as the prime minister's candidate for the head of the Expert Task Force for the implementation of the curricular reform but was eventually not appointed due to opposition from the HNS party, a junior partner in the HDZ-led coalition government, could step down as well.

Zekanović said that "there are red lines that cannot be crossed" in politics and life, and that for HRAST a red line was the fact that, with the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, the HDZ, a Christian Democratic party, was making a turn to liberalism and left-of-centre politics. The HDZ and the SDP have the same position on the Istanbul Convention, which is contrary to the Church's, said Zekanović, adding that the Church's position on the matter was important to him as a Christian Democrat.

He criticised the HDZ for lack of credibility, claiming that the ratification of the Istanbul Convention was not envisaged by the party's election platform, which, he said, HDZ official Ivana Maletić, one of the authors of the platform, had confirmed to him.

Asked if as a credible politician he would return the parliamentary seat he won in the elections to the HDZ, on whose slate he entered the parliament, Zekanović said the real question was whether HDZ MPs would return their seats. He said that HRAST officials were giving up on benefits but did not answer when asked what he was giving up on if he planned to keep his parliamentary seat.

With Zekanović's departure, the parliamentary majority now has 77 members, only one more than the required minimum. The parliament has 151 seats.