Croatia’s parliament ousts government in vote of no confidence

Croatia’s parliament ousted the country’s government Thursday after a no-confidence vote that went against Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.

Of deputies present in the 151-member parliament, 125 backed the no-confidence motion while 15 were against and two abstained.

Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will begin consultations with parliamentary parties on forming a new cabinet on Friday.

If a new government is not formed within the 30-day deadline, parliament will be dissolved and Kitarovic will call an early election in the European Union’s newest member state.

Parliament’s action was taken on a motion filed by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ — Hrvatska demokratska zajednica in Croatian), the senior party in the ruling coalition.

The conservatives have pointed out the inability of Oreskovic, a Canadian-educated financial expert, to lead the country amid deep economic and social problems.

Oreskovic, who has no party affiliation, lost the support of HDZ after clashing with its leader, Tomislav Karamarko, the HDZ head and deputy prime minister.

Karamarko has been accused of conflict of interest in a dispute over managing rights in an oil company jointly owned by the Croatian INA and Hungarian MOL, because of his links with a lobbyist for Hungary’s MOL, which has been in conflict with the Croatian government.

Karamarko stepped down from his deputy prime minister post Wednesday, pledging to oust Oreskovic and win enough votes in the parliament to form another government with a new prime minister.

Oreskovic told the parliament Thursday that the real reason for his ouster was that he started resolving the dispute between INA and MOL, adding that someone was not pleased with it, a reference to Karamarko.