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Croatian PM reshuffles government

Author Iskra Pavlova
Croatian PM reshuffles government Photo: All Rights Reserved

ZAGREB (Croatia), July 18 (SeeNews) - Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic has announced the new names in his cabinet following a broader than expected government reshuffle, which is pending a parliament approval.

"Since this process meant a serious and bigger government reconstruction, the consultations I carried out in the past days resulted in the proposals supported today by the presidency and the national committee of [the governing Croatian Democratic Union party] HDZ, as well as by the representatives of the political parties of the parliamentary majority," Plenkovic told reporters in Zagreb late on Wednesday, as quoted in a government press release.

Plenkovic announced his plans for a government reshuffle more than a week earlier, a day after Lovro Kuscevic submitted his resignation as public administration minister following allegations that he had unlawfully enriched himself during his term as mayor in the past.

In the meantime, state property minister Goran Maric submitted his resignation on Monday over media allegations of wrongdoing in property deals. Maric dismissed the allegations as ungrounded.

Plenkovic said on Wednesday it is typical for a government to make certain changes among its members at the end of third and the beginning of fourth year of its term.

"[The changes] should allow the government to continue without any hindrance implementing its programme and activities related to the country's economic growth, the strengthening of the solidarity in the Croatian society, lessening the polarisation and tensions in the society, as well as to justify the trust gained in the 2016 elections," Plenkovic said, pointing out to Croatia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020 as a top priority for his cabinet.

As part of the reshuffle, Gordan Grlic Radman, a long-time diplomat and ambassador to Germany, will take over the foreign and EU affairs ministry, after incumbent minister Marija Pejcinovic Buric was elected in June as new secretary general of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly.

Marija Vuckovic, current state secretary at the agriculture ministry, is proposed for new agriculture minister, to replace Tomislav Tolusic.

Josip Alardovic, the current head of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO), is proposed for the position of labour and pension system minister, to replace Marko Pavic.

Pavic is nominated for new regional development and EU funds minister in the place of Gabrijela Zalac.

Ivan Malenica, the dean of the Sibenik Polytechnic, was already nominated last week for public administration minister following Kuscevic's resignation.

Vesna Bedekovic, a member of parliament and former dean of the Virovitica College, is proposed to head the ministry of demography, family, youth and social policy where she will replace Nada Murganic.

Mario Banozic, an economist, is proposed to take over the state property ministry following the resignation of Goran Maric.

At the same time, current finance minister Zdravko Maric and interior minister Davor Bozinovic are nominated to become deputy prime ministers, replacing Marija Pejcinovic Buric and Tomislav Tolusic.

Plenkovic said he has called an extraordinary parliament session to vote into office the new cabinet members.

The parliament announced the extraordinary session will be held on Friday afternoon.

Following the last general election held in 2016, HDZ grabbed 61 of 151 seats in the national assembly, forming a coalition government with the Bridge of Independent Lists (Most) and national minority parties.

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