He Decided to Dismiss the Government

It doesn’t happen often that the Prime Minister dismisses a few ministers during a routine Government session. At the same time such a political earthquake would be little likely immediately after complex coalition negotiations facilitating the forming of a new government. It is therefore even less likely that such a decision is reached in a moment, impulsively, like an accidental move with a painting brush over canvas. Yet, it did happen.

Immediately before the Labour Day, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković literally dismissed the ministers of its coalition partner and it was followed by the dismissal of all state secretaries appointed upon the proposal of the coalition partner, with the announcement of the great quest ending with the request for the dismissal of the Parliament Speaker.

Plenković’e gambler-like decision was not accidental. It was deliberate and planned. And it was adopted with the awareness of all consequences of the Government and Parliament crises. That is precisely what makes the reasons for Plenković’s such move more interesting.

The direct cause is the beginning of collapse of Croatia’s business giant Agrokor. When it almost seemed that the Government would somehow respond adequately to the questions of its voters by passing an urgent law and with its representative taking over the management of the concern, the Minister of Interior came forth.
And, then, all over again, like in the most exciting chapters of Agatha Christie’s novels, he described the participants. Only one sentence and one assessment were enough. Only four days before the session of the Government at which he was also dismissed, on April 23, 2017, when asked what was his opinion about his colleague in the Government, Finance minister Zdravko Marić and his potential involvement in Agrokor case, he stated that the answer would soon be known, because the investigation was allegedly in progress. He added a message which Plenković could not hear, let alone debate. Namely, the Minister of Interior of his Government assessed that the overall situation jeopardised Croatia’s security and the financial system of the country, because Agrokor was, allegedly synonymous with political, social and economic relations established after Croatia’s criminal privatisation. And that was not merely the assessment by the Head of Croatia’s police but much more than that. It was a radical political program that could easily be transferred into popular political slogans on the settlement with corrupted politicians and cheating tycoons.

With Croatia being ahead of the local elections, his program had a drawback. A fateful drawback. It was said too many times without tangible results that would satisfy the public. That is precisely the point at which the continuation is allegedly prepared. Sort of an implementation of a new political program.

The session of the Croatian Government was held on Thursday, April 27, 2017. The agenda was quite ordinary until the very beginning of the Government session. Ahead of the session the ruling coalition reached an agreement to remove the vote of confidence in Finance Minister from the agenda, because ministers would vote against it. Yet, Plenković added this point. It was absolutely clear to him that the Government crisis would follow. A day before, with his assistants, he analysed the political consequences and reached the decision. Namely, unverified and completely unlikely news was heard in Zagreb on arrests of all suspects named by the Minister of Interior taking place early on Friday, over jeopardising Croatia’s security.

Plenković assessed that it would directly affect the results of local elections, causing new tensions in his party and add new strength to his coalition partners and their new political program.

That is why he reached his decision.