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News 24 Feb 15

Croatian President Calls on Prime Minister to Quit

Conflicts between Croatia's right-wing President and left-wing Prime Minister climaxed on Monday, with the President urging the PM to hand in his resignation.

Sven Milekic


Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic. Photo: Beta

Croatia's rightist President has demanded the resignation of the leftist Prime Minister, Zoran Milanovic, as political feuding between the two leaders hit a new low point.

Milanovic already had dire relations with President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic, having pointedly failed to congratulate her on her narrow electoral victory over her leftist predecessor, Ivo Josipovic.

The latest exchange began after Milanovic told Grabar Kitarovic she could attend a government session to discuss the economic crisis - but only if she came with detailed proposals rather than broad criticisms.

She needed to “prepare specific proposals, mechanisms for their implementation and an assessment of the financial and budgetary effects”, the Social Democrat Prime Minister said, effectively demanding that her contribution be costed and structured.

Grabar Kitarovic responded by saying that “following a thorough analysis and consultation with economic experts... the most concrete proposal for ending the crisis in Croatia is the resignation of the Prime Minister”.

She insisted that it was up to the government to prepare exact proposals for Croatia's economic recovery, not her, since it is their responsibility to do so.

Entrepreneurship Minister Gordan Maras then accused the President of refusing to worj with the cabinet. On his Facebook profile, he wrote that he was “sorry that she clearly does not want the cooperation we offered her for a better Croatia”.

Maras wrote that Grabar Kitarovic was acting as a spokesperson for her party, the opposition centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, and for its president, Tomislav Karamarko.

The speaker of parliament, Josip Leko, also accused Grabar Kitarovic of spurning dialogue and of "selfish" behaviour in the interest of her own party.

The President’s cabinet has since sent another official letter to the government, urging it to focus on unemployment and negative demographic trends as well as proposing a model of resolving border and energy issues.

Political analyst Zarko Puhovski said the new President was doing herself no favours with her overt attacks on an admittedly unpopular government.

“This attack shows the party ‘colours’ of the President and thus she is doing harm to herself and the HDZ,” Puhovski said.

Ivan Rimac, a political analyst, stated that while the President had “lost her temper over the grumpy behaviour of the Prime Minister”, she was also breaching her presidential authorities.

“She gave an opinion that has pulled her back under the HDZ’s umbrella. Everyone has their own authorities and must act in accordance with their function,” Rimac stressed.


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