Opposition Fails to Have Health Minister Replaced

By 18 October 2019

ZAGREB, October 18, 2019 - For the second time this year, the parliamentary opposition on Friday failed to secure a no-confidence vote in Health Minister Milan Kujundžić, with 48 votes in favour instead of the required 76 and no abstentions.

"A decision to give the health minister a vote of no confidence hasn't been made," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said.

The no-confidence vote was tabled at the request of 32 opposition MPs at the initiative of the Bridge party. Seventy-nine (79) lawmakers from the ruling coalition voted against this motion of the opposition.

Although it seemed the vote could be a test for the ruling coalition, given the support of the Croatian People's Party and Zagreb mayor Milan Bandić's party for school unions' pay rise demands, after the prime minister announced that salaries would be raised both parties backed the health minister.

Kujundžić has brought the health system to the brink of total collapse, waiting lists are increasingly long, which leads to a tacit privatisation, but the key reason why he can't stay on as minister is that he hasn't ensured the financial viability of the system, said Željko Jovanović of the Social Democrats.

Željko Reiner of the ruling HDZ said the no-confidence motion did not contain "even one statement as to what the minister has done wrong... or even one number, yet it talks about the financing of the health sector." He called out the opposition for creating a false picture of the situation in the sector.

The MOST party called out Kujundžić for a lack of reforms and of strategic health system management.

"Every stakeholder in the system sees they are in deep water - doctors, nurses, employers and wholesale drug suppliers, but first and foremost patients," said Ines Strenja.

This was MOST’s second attempt to give Kujundžić a no-confidence vote.

The first one took place a year ago, when 53 MPs were for and 77 against having him replaced. The arguments were similar to those in the latest motion, but the majority MPs, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Kujundžić dismissed them as unfounded.

More news about the health minister can be found in the Politics section.