tihomir orešković.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

A motion for the impeachment of Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, which First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko has recently announced, saying that Oreskovic no longer enjoyed the support of his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, has not been sent to parliament by Monday afternoon.

The president of the HDZ parliamentary group, Ivan Suker, does not yet know if the HDZ will opt for Oreskovic's impeachment.

"Nothing new arrived in the parliamentary procedure, including a motion for the prime minister's impeachment. People say all kinds of things, but I haven't received officially anything so there is no need to call a session of the caucus," Suker told Hina when asked if and when the HDZ caucus would discuss the government crisis.

The HDZ inner leadership is currently in session, but its members were not in the mood for talking to the press gathered outside the HDZ headquarters.

Karamarko's deputy Milijan Brkic, who on Saturday asked Karamarko to withdraw himself from the government, told reporters today that Karamarko enjoyed his support.

Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner said that media headlines according to which Karamarko was given a week to raise a new parliamentary majority were mere speculation.

As the day went by, it became clear that Karamarko would have a hard time fulfilling his promise about a new parliamentary majority. After the HDSSB regional party decided on Sunday that two of its parliamentary deputies would not take part in a government reshuffle, the same announcement was made by a deputy of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), Milorad Pupovac.

"Any kind of reshuffle would only prolong the agony. Croatia needs a new beginning. We had a chance over the past six months and it was missed. All those who had a chance must gain citizens trust again. This is my opinion and the opinion of my party," Pupovac told N1 television.

With this, even the last chance for the HDZ to form a new majority without the junior partner Bridge, which made its staying in the government conditional on Karamarko's resignation, has disappeared.

Earlier today, one of the HDZ founders, Vladimir Seks, said on Monday he has lost every illusion as to the success of a parliamentary majority reshuffle, adding that "it would be in the best national interest if Karamarko stepped down" as First Deputy Prime Minister.

"Before Saturday and the HDZ Presidency session, I advocated the position that Karamarko must not step down because that would be an admission of guilt, of the unreliability of his policy and moral responsibility. But at the Presidency session, several members, including his deputy, insisted that he resign. Added to that is the fact that 77 members of parliament have stated under their first and last names that they will give Karamarko a no-confidence vote, foreign media are saying that the government has in fact fallen, and all public opinion surveys say that Karamarko is by far the most unpopular politician in the country," Seks told Hina.

Before the meetings in the HDZ and government headquarters, where Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov of the Bridge party was also seen, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic received Karamarko in her office and then Deputy PM Petrov, who informed her about the situation in the government.

Earlier today, the president held talks with PM Tihomir Oreskovic and Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner.

The talks at the president's office ensued after Oreskovic last week asked Karamarko and Petrov to step down. Karamarko then said that Oreskovic no longer enjoyed the support of his HDZ party and announced that the party, unless Oreskovic resigned, would initiate his impeachment and a majority reshuffle in parliament and the government.

The president has also postponed an official visit to Lithuania scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Sources close to Oreskovic said that the prime minister this morning talked on the phone with the head of the European People's Party (EPP), Manfred Weber. According to unofficial sources, Weber and Oreskovic talked about the political crisis in Croatia and Weber allegedly expressed his concern.

The media speculated Oreskovic would address the public later today, but the government's public relations office said such address had not been planned.

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