ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia’s parliament voted overwhelmingly Thursday to oust Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, triggering the fall of the government and raising the prospect of an early election in the European Union’s newest member state.
The vote in the 151-seat assembly was 125 for the ouster, 15 against and two abstentions.
Parliament acted on the motion filed by the conservative Croatian Democratic Union, the senior party in the ruling “Patriotic Coalition.” The conservatives have said Oreskovic, a Canada-educated financial expert who was elected to the post in January, proved incapable of leading the country amid deep economic and social problems.
The conservatives want to reshuffle the government with a new premier. The liberal opposition has called for early elections as the way out of the crisis and announced collecting enough votes in the parliament to dissolve it.
Lawmakers will now have 30 days to form a new government or face a snap election.
The conservatives have been locked in a dispute with coalition partner Most group, which has backed Oreskovic. The left-wing opposition has called for early elections as the way out of the crisis.
Oreskovic, with no party affiliation, lost the support of the conservatives after he clashed with their leader, Tomislav Karamarko, who has been accused of conflict of interest due to his links with a lobbyist for Hungary’s state oil company MOL, which has been in conflict with the Croatian government.
Karamarko on Wednesday stepped down from his deputy prime minister post, pledging to oust Oreskovic and collect enough votes in the parliament to form another government with a new premier.
Oreskovic told the parliament on Thursday that the real reason for his ouster was that he started resolving the dispute over managing rights in the joint company between the Croatian INA and MOL.
“Someone did not like that,” Oreskovic said, referring to Karamarko.