Croatian government collapses

The government in Croatia collapsed after only five months in office when the conservative HDZ party withdrew its support for Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković on Friday. A dispute between the HDZ and its junior partner Most and corruption allegations against HDZ chief Tomislav Karamarko caused the rupture. For commentators the government's premature end comes as no surprise.

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Novi list (HR) /

We can hardly wait for the end

At last this government is collapsing, Novi list writes in delight:

“This government was engendered through incest and doomed to fail from the start. Politics isn't quantum physics. Nevertheless this Croatian government merits being investigated in the Swiss CERN laboratory because it has dissolved right down to its elementary particles. How this absurd six-month comedy will now end is completely irrelevant. ... It makes no difference whether [HDZ leader] Karamarko is dismissed, [independent prime minister] Orešković or [Most leader] Petrov resign, all three are replaced or commit collective suicide, because in the end we'll uncover the God particle: new elections. So this is all not such a big deal, the farce will simply go on for a bit longer. But we're happy to sit back and wait - in joyful anticipation of the government's last breath.”

Večer (SI) /

Only new elections can save Croatia

Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković's dithering contributed to his government's collapse, the Slovenian daily Večer observes:

“Orešković sent his two deputies, Tomislav Karamarko of the HDZ and Božo Petrov of Most, for a coffee break to settle their dispute in vain. So when that didn't work out he cancelled a cabinet meeting and on Friday, instead of stepping down himself, he called on his two deputies to resign. In doing so Orešković was finally not listening to others' advice but acting on his own initiative - unfortunately too late. Petrov has made it clear that he would only step down if he considers it good for Croatia. Karamarko merely answered Orešković by pointing out curtly that the latter no longer had the HDZ's support. Chaos? The only way out is new elections.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Most has kept its election pledges

The Austrian paper Der Standard praises the junior coalition partner, the Most party which was founded in 2012:

“Most has kept its election pledges and remained true to its values while the HDZ continued with its old, secretive games. The conservative HDZ has treated Most like an annoying hanger-on in recent weeks and tried to drive it into a corner. But this strategy hasn't really worked out. On the contrary, HDZ chief Tomislav Karamarko, who likes to cast himself as the most fervent patriot, has shown his true face - and all that could be read there was the will to stay in power. And even though it may mean the end of his career, [the leader of Most] Petrov has made the old wire-puller take a look in the mirror.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Fresh elections the best solution

Only fresh elections can help the Croatian government out of the current impasse, former Croatian prime minister Jadranka Kosor writes in the daily paper Dnevnik:

“The fairest, best and most effective solution to this impossible, unprecedented political chaos is new elections. It's interesting that neither the left nor the right is calling for them. The former prime minister and current opposition leader Zoran Milanović is not enthusiastic about the idea because he enjoys watching the suffering of the current government. For its part the government refuses to give in and is talking nonsense and losing itself in petty details. … Croatia needs courageous and determined political leaders with clear positions on the issues.”

Večernji list (HR) /

Junior partner undermining HDZ's authority

Most is dismantling the traditional conservative HDZ party with its call for Karamarko's swift resignation, Vecernji list believes:

“What an absurdity: the fate of the leader of the party that won the elections is being determined by a troop that received just a third as many votes. Never has the HDZ had to endure such a humiliation; never has its historical authority been on such shaky ground. This party led Croatia to victory in the war and governed our country for 18 of its 26 years of existence. And now it has become the target of insignificant, provincial, nameless, power-hungry politicians without the track record, political identity, knowledge or skills that would qualify them to take part in governing this country.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Most platform must risk new elections

The Bridge of Independent Lists, or Most, has no choice but to rid itself of Karamarko, Jutarnji list believes:

“The removal of Tomislav Karamarko would bring about the collapse of the government and trigger fresh elections. Even if they were set for autumn, they would be too early for the current governing parties. The only ones to benefit would be the Social Democrats. ... The government's powerlessness has already taken on historic proportions. Nevertheless Most has understood that it must change its strategy because its participation in the government with the HDZ could mean its downfall. Sweeping Karamarko from the political stage won't be easy, but it could mean Most's salvation. However it's a risky undertaking because the political heavyweight will punch back with all the power he's got.”