Croatia Parliament Votes in New Plenkovic Government

Prime Minister-designate Andrej Plenkovic presents his programme in parliament. Photo: EPA-EFE/DANIEL KASAP.

Croatia’s parliament on Thursday voted in a new government under former prime minister Andrej Plenkovic, president of the leading party, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ.

The new coalition government comprising the HDZ, two liberal formations, the Croatian People’s Party, HNS, and Reformists and all eight national minority MPs, obtained the support of 76 of the 151 MPs in parliament.

Plenkovic presented the programme of the new government and promised to ensure social security, raise average and minimum wages as well as pensions, halve the number of local officials and increase agricultural production by 30 per cent.

“Citizens have chosen a secure future by giving confidence to the HDZ; this support obliges us to manage the challenges and crises ahead … The pandemic will still be with us, so we need to stay responsible and learn to live with the virus,” Plenkovic told MPs, presenting the future government.

It contains four deputy prime ministers and 16 ministers, four less than in the last government, as some portfolios have been merged. Most ministers of the new government were also part of the previous one.

Boris Milosevic, from the Independent Democratic Serbian Party, SDSS, which represents the country’s Serbian minority, is a deputy prime minister covering social affairs and human and minority rights.

The other deputy prime ministers will be the HDZ’s Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, War Veterans Minister Tomo Medved and Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who is not an HDZ member but stood as an independent candidate on the HDZ list in the recent parliamentary elections. All three kept their posts from the last government.

Besides Bozinovic, Medved and Maric, five other HDZ ministers kept their posts and the same portfolios from the last government: Health Minister Vili Beros, Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlic Radman, Agriculture Minister Marija Vuckovic, Maritime, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic and Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek, although this ministry will be called now the Ministry of Culture and Media.

The defence portfolio goes to Mario Banozic, Minister of State Assets in the previous government. The Minister of Labour and Pension System in the last government, Josip Aladrovic, kept his post but his portfolio will merge with social policy.

The economy portfolio will merge with sustainable development and be run by Tomislav Coric, former Environment and Energy Minister, while Darko Horvat, Minister of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts Ministry in the previous government, will now run the Construction, Physical Planning and State Assets Ministry.

Ivan Malenica, who was not present at Thursday’s session because he has been diagnosed with coronavirus, remains Minister of Public Administration, but his ministry will now also be in charge of justice.

Among the new names are Nikolina Brnjac, who will head the Tourism and Sports Ministry, and Natasa Tramisak, at the helm of the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry.

Science and Education go to Radovan Fuchs who was Minister of Science, Education and Sports in the government of Jadranka Kosor, from 2009 to 2012.

Meanwhile, Kosor noted that all the ruling positions in government had gone to men, including the president and vice-presidents of the parliament, the prime minister, and deputy prime ministers. “I think we took a step back,” Kosor told N1 television on Wednesday, adding that women took some of those positions in Croatia in the past.

Only 34 women won seats in the 151-seat parliament in the 5 July elections.

In the 2016 parliamentary election, only 19 seats went to women, though that number rose later to 30.

“Although the share of women in the new parliament will be significantly increased compared to the previous one, we are still far from the desired and planned goals, i.e. achieving gender equality in the system of parliamentary democracy,” Gender Equality Ombudsman Visnja Ljubicic told the Vecernji list daily on July 8.

She said many parties failed to field enough women on their candidates lists for the various electoral districts.

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