Croatia: President Kitarovic Backs Early Elections


By Sven Milekic

After consultations with MPs, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic confirmed that Croatia will go into early elections, most likely in September.

After MPs axed Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and the government fell, 82 out of the 151 MPs filed demands for the dissolution of parliament on Friday, which will lead to early parliamentary elections during the summer.

“An absolute majority [of MPs] have taken the position that elections should be held,” she said, admitting the initiative for dissolving parliament.

Once parliament is dissolved, the President will have to schedule early elections between 30 and 60 days.

“The constitutional deadline of 30 days for consultations can’t be shortened, therefore I appeal to the chair of the parliament to debate and decide on the dissolution of parliament as soon as possible,” Grabar Kitarovic concluded, underlining that the majority of MPs want elections in September.

The demand for the dissolution of parliament was first filed by three MPs of from the left-wing opposition Croatian Labourists last week.

Earlier this week, the strongest opposition party, the Social Democratic Party, SDP, said it would support the initiative with its 42 MPs.

Their partners from the centre-left coalition in last November’s elections, the Croatian People’s Party, HNS, and Croatian Pensioners’ Party, HSU, have joined in with their nine and two MPs respectively.

Additionally, the SDP’s traditional partners on the centre-left, the regional Istrian Democratic Assembly, IDS, have supported the initiative with their three MPs.

As announced earlier, when Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic was removed and the government fell on Thursday, the former junior government party, the Bridge of the Independent Lists, MOST, will back the demand with its 12 MPs.

Also for dissolving the parliament is the representative of the Italian national minority, Furio Radin, the representative of the Roma minority, Veljko Kajtazi, two representatives of the Serbian minority, the president of the People’s Party – Croatian Reformists, Radimir Cacic, two representatives of the centre-right Croatian Initiative for a Dialogue, HRID, two representatives of the regional right-wing Croatian Democratic Assembly of Slavonia and Baranja, HDSSB, the head of the anti-establishment Living Wall, Ivan Vilibor Sincic, and an independent MP, Stipe Petrina.

Although the majority are for the immediate dissolution of parliament, the chair of parliament, Zeljko Reiner, has decided that the session on dissolving parliament will take place on Monday.

With growing demands for dissolving parliament, it is clear that the former leading government party, the Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, cannot gather the 76 MPs it needs to form a new majority without MOST, as they claimed they could.

Tomislav Karamarko, former vice prime minister, who resigned on Wednesday, and head of the HDZ, however said that his party will continue to attempt to form a new government headed by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric.

“We said that we have a candidate for prime minister. As for these 82 signatures; we’ll continue to negotiate with those with whom we negotiated; we aren’t giving up and elections are not an option for us,” he said.

After consultations with the President, Karamarko noted that the 82 MPs had only signed up for dissolving parliament and had not yet “voted for it”.
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