Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Green-Left MP says Entire Government Should go, no to Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 6 April 2022 - Green-Left Bloc parliamentary deputy Sandra Benčić said on Wednesday that her group was against a government reshuffle, and that the entire government should step down due to possible affairs that could compromise new government members, an allusion to Construction Minister Ivan Paladina.

"Construction Minister Ivan Paladina was appointed a month ago, and affairs regarding his ties with (the construction company) IGH have just begun to be discovered, his ties to Hidroelektra (construction company) are likely to be reported about as well," Benčić said in the parliament.

"We are yet to learn how he acquired the real estate he owns, and why someone with so many properties takes a loan to invest into who knows what", Benčić said, adding that she believed new discoveries were pending.

Benčić went on to say that there were allegations about criminal reports against Paladina.

"We do not know if they have been dismissed or not, but I find it unbelievable that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has appointed him minister despite the fact that there are certain problems of which we have all been aware," she said.

In his declaration of assets Paladina declared buildings, hectares of land, savings deposits, and monthly loan installment payments in the amount of more than HRK 51,000, with his wife working in his firm for a salary of HRK 4,000.

"That says everything about our tax system. In our tax reform proposal we insist that the state should actually not care about which part of a taxpayer's income comes from work, and which from property or capital but how much the taxpayer earns in total, with the total amount being the criterion for putting taxpayers into specific tax groups, according to which they pay their taxes and contributions," Benčić said.

The MP noted that workers constituted the backbone of the country's health and pension systems while others, whose income comes from property and capital, have the possibility of paying themselves the minimum wage, which enables them to pay minimum taxes and contributions to the state while earning millions from capital and property, for which they pay a 10% tax.

"This country has been refusing to build a fair system for 30 years", she said, adding that the way Finance Minister Zdravko Marić tried to rectify it was completely wrong.

"Our tax system is utterly unfair because it favours the rich while the entire system of public services, also used by the rich, depends on those who earn the least", she said.

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Government Reshuffle in Interest of All Coalition Partners, Pupovac Says

ZAGREB, 30 March 2022 - Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac said on Wednesday the party supported the announced government reshuffle, adding that it was in the interest of all coalition partners, and that Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević would prove that he was an honest man.

Speaking to the press, Pupovac said Milošević had the party's "full support in everything he is going through because we believe that what he did was part of his mandate as an MP."

Milošević is under investigation by the USKOK anti-corruption office on suspicion of wrongdoing in the allocation of grants to businesses in state-assisted areas in 2018.

Asked if the SDSS would cause problems if Milošević was replaced as part of the government reshuffle, Pupovac said a reshuffle was in the interest of all ruling coalition partners and the government as a whole and that everyone would contribute in their own way.

He said the prime minister would have the last say on the reshuffle and recalled that Milošević had tendered his resignation.

"If Milošević leaves the government, he and the SDSS will decide on his return to parliament", Pupovac said. "It's up to us to maintain the stability of this coalition, regardless of what that means for us and Deputy Prime Minister Milošević."

For more, check out our dedicated politics section.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Jandroković: It's not time for political games but responsbile politics

ZAGREB, 29 March 2022 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković said on Tuesday that "it isn't time for political games," but resolute and responsible politics and that any possible government reshuffle would first be discussed within the ruling party's bodies.

"I expect that we will discuss the government's work, the Sabor's activities and topics that interest the public. We will see what the (party leader) will have to say," Jandroković said ahead of a meeting of the Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) presidency and national council scheduled for this afternoon in Karlovac.

He was responding to questions from Croatian reporters about a possible government reshuffle while attending a conference of EU parliament speakers in Slovenia.

Asked whether the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak should be replaced, Jandroković said that the "prime minister picks his team" and, as this refers to his closest associates, he will most certainly enjoy the party's support.

Asked about the other ministers, Jandroković said "they are probably doing their job."

Asked whether there were some HDZ MPs or others in the ruling coalition who could vote against a government reshuffle if Minister Tramišak were to be replaced, Jandroković said "these are serious times, very demanding, and they require big responsibility of politicians, bigger than when we do not have such crisis situations."

"The primary objective at the moment is political stability, a quality response to a series of security, socioeconomic and health issues, and this isn't a time for political games. This a time for serious and responsible politics," said Jandroković.

When it comes to media speculation about some HDZ MPs perhaps being opposed to a reshuffle, Jandroković said HDZ MPs are responsible people and will certainly think well about what to do and how.

"Do not expect HDZ MPs to act in a way that would go against what is important for Croatia," he underscored.

Jandroković, who, in public opinion, is considered to be the herald of change in the party, did not wish to answer whether it was time for the government to be refreshed and instead said that he would first say what he thinks to his party colleagues and then make that public.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

HSLS Proposes Government Reshuffle

ZAGREB, 27 March 2022 - Dario Hrebak, leader of the HSLS, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said after intraparty consultations on Sunday that the HSLS proposed a government reshuffle so that the government could focus on key problems to secure economic and overall stability as well as euro and Schengen area entry.

"With regards to the current political situation, the HSLS believes that at the moment Croatia needs stability in light of the global trends, lack of security, war, pandemic, refugee crisis and the related consequences such as inflation pressures, problems in supply chains and changes in energy policies and relations," the party said in a statement.

The HSLS leadership said the government had its support to keep the country stable, as well as make the necessary adjustments to overcome the current situation that was affecting everyone.

"As a constructive member of the ruling majority, the HSLS considers it necessary to refresh the government so that it could focus on dealing with key problems and secure economic and overall stability as well as accession to the euro zone and the Schengen areas," the statement said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

Croatian Government Reshuffle by May 30? As Many as 7 Names Are Mentioned

March 27, 2022 - Several sources from the ruling coalition claim that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has broken through and that a wider Croatian Government reshuffle will take place around May 30.

This began to be seriously considered after the arrest of Minister of Construction Darko Horvat, and especially after Uskok opened investigations against two other members of the Government: Minister of Labor and Pensions Josip Aladrović, who is suspected of favoring the employment of two people in 2018 and 2019 while being director of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute, and Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević, who is suspected of mediating in "arranging" incentives for selected companies, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

The idea of ​​a broader government reshuffle, according to sources, was terribly pushed by the latest affair that erupted after the Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak publicly announced that she had received terrible threats but did not report them to the police until her public appearance, nor to her boss - the Prime Minister. They are convinced that Tramišak has already been de facto written off, especially after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković publicly said that "the whole situation with Minister Tramišak is extremely bizarre" and that "it is not yet completely clear to him".

''I will not make statements. The whole case was taken over by the police.'', was all that Minister Tramišak told Slobodna Dalmacija yesterday.

The idea has been ''cooked'' before

A source from the HDZ says that the story about the government's reshuffle was "cooking" even before the Tramišak case, that it will cover much wider than her, Aladrović and Milošević, and that it will take place between Easter (April 17) and Statehood Day (May 30).

''As for Minister Tramišak, it is clear that she no longer has any confidence. A more serious reconstruction is being considered, which would not only affect her and the members of the Government burdened with investigations (Aladrović and Milošević). There are executed people in the Government, such as the Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković, and the stay of the Minister of Health Vili Beroš is still uncertain.'', says the source. He claims that the case of the Minister of Defense, Mario Banožić, is particularly interesting. He says that he is terribly untalented and that almost no one in the party supports him (anymore).

''But it would be too bold to claim that he lost Plenković's trust because Banožić is completely loyal to him.'', he says.

In addition to the mentioned names, in the context of the Government reshuffle, sources from HDZ and the ruling coalition parties note that the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić could also leave the Government".

One of the sources claims that he received information that Tomo Medved (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Veterans' Affairs) could replace Mario Banožić as Minister of Defense.

''I think that would be a phenomenal move because the President of the Republic of Croatia, Zoran Milanović, respects him terribly, especially because of Medved's role in the country's defense. Therefore, Milanović could no longer score easy goals, as he does now with Banožić. However, I think that Plenković will not give up Banožić, not (only) because of their good relationship, but because of Milanović who would declare such a move his victory (in a clash with the Government and Prime Minister Plenković).

Ministers are silent

Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved was not in the mood yesterday to discuss the government reshuffle.

We did not receive any comment on the information on the government reshuffle from the others mentioned in that context: Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milosevic, Ministers Banožić, Aladrović, and Beroš, as well as from the Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković.

Some of Plenković's coalition partners are also strongly advocating a broader government reshuffle.

- I am sure that there will be a reconstruction. Without going into, of course, whether they (Aladrović and Milošević, n. A.) Are guilty or not, it is objective that the burden of these investigations puts the Prime Minister in a position to go into government reshuffle. This is not in dispute or questionable at all. In addition, there are still some open topics in the public and it can be assumed that some other ministerial positions may be the subject of government reshuffle - says the head of the Reformists  Radimir Cacic. 

HSLS President Dario Hrebak is also a supporter of the (wider) government reshuffle.

''HSLS will continue to support the ruling majority, but we should not run away from the problems we have. As a serious party, we believe that Croatia does not need new elections because of everything that is happening in the world, as well as in the domestic economy. But that does not mean that we will not advocate certain refreshments in the Government within the ruling majority. I think it would be good to do that. But the final decision on the reconstruction is made by the prime minister. He is the prime minister, he is forming the Government, and he will best assess whether he needs reconstruction. HSLS sees its role as a party that will not blackmail or condition anything, but propose. We will certainly suggest that we need to refresh the Government because we have two more years of mandate and we are simply coming to a political position that requires us to make certain changes. I would like to mention once again that Prime Minister Plenković has a much broader picture. He should suggest when, in what way, and whether a government reshuffle is needed. HSLS will continue to support the ruling majority.'', says Hrebak.

Consultations have not yet begun

A source from the HDZ, who is also convinced of the government's spring reshuffle, says "serious consultations on the subject in the party have not yet begun".

"We haven't come that far yet," he says.

Clearly, there are those in the HDZ who believe that the government reshuffle should not go much further than those burdened with investigations such as Aladrovic and Milosevic.

''Why would Minister Tramišak, for example, leave the Government as part of a package that includes persons who are the subject of Uskok investigations? Unlike them, she is "pure", she received threats because she did not want to please anyone. After all, we will discuss her position in the Government on Tuesday at a meeting of the HDZ leadership. While the Prime Minister finds it bizarre that Tramišak did not report the threats to the police before she spoke about them publicly, it is bizarre to me that he has a Minister of Defense who has not been able to evict the Nazi for more than two weeks, and it is bizarre to me that in Zagreb, more than two years after the earthquake, reconstruction has not yet begun'', says the interlocutor from the ruling party.

For more, check out our politics section.