Croatian PM, gov't toppled in no-confidence vote
The parliament of the European Union's newest member votes to oust the prime minister and the government.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Conflict of interest charges against a deputy prime minister spiraled Thursday into the end of Croatia’s government, losing a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Technocrat Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic’s government lost the vote 135-15, with 2 abstentions, in the 151-seat Croatian parliament.
The current government will rule in the interim until a new government is formed within a 30-day deadline.
If the parties fail in coalition talks, the president is obliged to call for new parliamentary elections.
The conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which won a plurality in last November’s elections, has said it favors a new coalition government, while opposition parties are urging early elections.
The crisis began after the opposition in parliament requested a vote to oust Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko – the HDZ leader and currently senior partner in the governing coalition – after a state commission found a conflict of interest due to his relations with a lobbyist for Hungarian state oil company MOL.
The announcement by junior coalition partner the Most Movement that they would vote against Karamarko sparked tension in the coalition government.
Oreskovic urged both Karamarko and the Most Movement’s leader, Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov, "to resign in the interest of the country".
Karamarko did resign yesterday, also demanding that Oreskovic and Petrov step down as well.
But HDZ then requested a vote to dismiss Oreskovdic, resulting in Thursday’s no-confidence vote.
Oreskovic, a Canadian-Croatian businessman, is an independent member of parliament.
Croatia, the newest member of European Union, entered the EU in 2013 as the 28th member state.
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