What do Karl Erjavec and Ivo Sanader have in common? Not much, actually 🙂 Defenestration is, however, one of those things.
Last Monday in what was a swift, decisive and merciless action, former Croatian PM Ivo Sanader was expelled from Croatia’s ruling HDZ party after he tried to stage a comeback, supposedly because he realised that both the country and the party need him at the helm to stay the course. He added that his leaving politics three months ago was a mistake and that he realised that, hence the return. Flanked by his most ardent supporters in a hastily called press conference on Sunday last, he said that he supports his successor Jadranka Kosor, but then went on to criticise her politics as well as meagre result HDZ got in the first round of Croatian presidential elections (a mere 12 percent) and it soon became obvious that he wanted to install himself as PM. Being the honorary party president for life (a function created especially for him, apparently), he actually was in a position to do so, and it soon became obvious that we were witnessing an attempted party putch.
Kosor, however, turned out to have balls of steel. She quickly rallied her troops, among them prominent members of HDZ’s hard-line fraction, who were believed to unequivocally support Sanader. She even had Vladimir Šeks, a hawk-deluxe pour over the party’s statute and concoct a way to excommunicate honorary president for life. Having achieved this, she walked into a press conference of her own, and explained in no uncertain terms that had she or some other member of the party tried to pull a trick Sanader did while the latter was still party president, he or she would literally be thrown out the window.
As a result Ivo Sanader will apparently attempt to activate his MP status. Not being familiar with Croatian legislation I’m not sure how he aims to achieve this, but it turns out that this is another thing he and Karl Erjavec have in common. The soon-to-be-defenestrated minister of environment yesterday made it clear that he will attempt to gain MP status although he was not elected to the parliament (thus being the only parliamentary party president failing to achieve that).
As it became apparent that the parliamentary majority (with or without DeSUS) will vote Erjavec out of office, PM Borut Pahor asked Teflon Karl to pick his own successor since the environment portfolio is DeSUS’ turf. Erjavec made a move that was obivous to everyone, but it was deemed too desperate and too preposterous even for him. And yet, he is trying to do just that – to persuade DeSUS MP Matjaž Zanoškar to be nominated as minister for environment. If Zanoškar accepted, his seat would be – due to laws of elections mathematics – taken by Teflon Karl himself.
And thus would both Ivo Sanader and Karl Erjavec become MPs, enjoying many privileges of their function, including legal immunity. And from the outside it looks like both of them are going to need it.