20 Jun. — The Croatian Parliament approved a proposal to disband with 137 votes. The decision enters into force on 15 July and signals the end of one of the aspects of the political crisis gripping the country for the past one and a half months. Early elections are to be held in September.
It all started on 10 May with an article in the magazine Nacional. The media outlet published documents showing that Ana Karamarko – the wife of First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko, who is also leader of the Croatian Democratic Union, part of the government coalition – received €60,000 for providing consultation to a lobbyist working for the Hungarian energy company MOL, which, in turn, is involved in arbitration proceedings with Zagreb over control of the Croatian energy company Ina.
From the very beginning, the First Deputy Prime Minister never denied the facts brought into the public eye, as he did not see anything particularly notable about them. Nevertheless, coalition partners from the party Most demanded he resign due to the clear conflict of interests.
Meanwhile, the political crisis that had been hanging over the parties since parliamentary elections was intensifying. Back in November 2015, it was born of the fact that no single party had enough of a majority to form a government while, at the same time, the parties were collectively unable to come to any agreement. The crisis then continued for nearly three months.
Karamarko’s being forced to leave his post has led to the collapse of the frail ruling coalition and the resignation of Tihomir Orešković’s entire government. As there was no unity to be found among the parliamentary parties regarding the formation of a new coalition, the decision was made to disband parliament. This step was approved by 137 people; two voted ‘against’; and one abstained.
A survey conducted for Nova TV by the company Ipsos showed that 61% of respondents want early elections.