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ZAGREB (Croatia), July 22 (SeeNews) - Croatia's parliament has endorsed a government reshuffle proposed by prime minister Andrej Plenkovic about year and a half before the next general election in the country.
"I expect that the new ministers will be committed and loyal to the government's programme and their political and expert skills set in motion already on Monday the activities that will enable the fulfilment of our objectives," prime minister Andrej Plenkovic said in a government press release late on Friday after the new ministers took the oath of office.
The nominees were voted in with the support of 82 MPs from the government majority in the 151-seat parliament, while most of the opposition MPs boycotted the vote, news agency Hina reported.
The reshuffle was proposed by Plenkovic last week following the resignations of the ministers of public administration and state property, Lovro Kuscevic and Goran Maric, over alleged wrongdoing in property deals. Both of them have denied the allegations.
Plenkovic has said the cabinet overhaul aims to boost the government's efforts towards achieving economic growth and improving the well-being of the Croatian society. It also aims to facilitate the activities related to Croatia's upcoming presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2020.
Following the reshuffle, Gordan Grlic Radman, a long-time diplomat and ambassador to Germany, took 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.
In addition, Marija Vuckovic, current state secretary at the agriculture ministry, became Croatia's new agriculture minister, to replace Tomislav Tolusic.
Josip Alardovic, the head of the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO), took over the labour and pension system ministry. He replaced Marko Pavic, who was transferred to head the regional development and EU funds ministry, in the place of Gabrijela Zalac.
Ivan Malenica, the dean of the Sibenik Polytechnic, swore in as Croatia's new public administration minister following Kuscevic's resignation, while Mario Banozic, an economist, took over the state property ministry following the resignation of Goran Maric.
Vesna Bedekovic, a member of parliament and former dean of the Virovitica College, becaame the new minister of demography, family, youth and social policy, replacing Nada Murganic.
At the same time, current finance minister Zdravko Maric and interior minister Davor Bozinovic were sworn in as deputy prime ministers, replacing Marija Pejcinovic Buric and Tomislav Tolusic.
The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won 61 seats in the national assembly in Croatia's last general election held in 2016. Several months after the vote it formed a coalition government with the Bridge of Independent Lists (Most) and national minority parties.
However, Most exited the coalition in the spring of 2017 over disagreements on how the government handled the crisis in Croatian food and retail concern Agrokor.
Still, HDZ managed to replace Most with the Croatian People's Party - Liberal Democrats (HNS) in the coalition, securing adequate parliament support for the Plenkovic-led government.