Ivan Paladina is the new Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property. He received 77 votes of MPs in parliament, 51 were against and 3 abstained, after which he was sworn in. Darko Horvat's successor, who resigned on suspicion of illegally granting aid to small businesses, announced that his priority would be reconstruction.
Ivan Paladina is the fourth Minister of Construction in Andrej Plenković’s government.
“A man who has experience in the construction sector, in project management, in the field of real estate, who has managerial and entrepreneurial experience,” said Plenković.
He was the President of the Management Board of the IGH Institute and the Chief Advisor of the Croatian Postal Bank. Now, first of all, he has a job to do after the earthquake.
“We don't have time, we have work to be done, and we need support for reconstruction. These people are our responsibility,” said Paladina.
The opposition resents the minister's intensive cooperation with a Russian millionaire in the Kupari Luxury Hotels, IGH Institute, Avenue Mechanization and Hidroelektra niskogradnja companies.
“You were the ones who told the workers that the condition for the takeover of Hidroelektra by Gljadelkin was to sign an agreement waiving their claims. Those who renounced them, never got them again, they were fired and did not receive severance pay,” said Sandra Benčić from the Green-Left Bloc club of representatives.
Branko Bačić, the head of the HDZ MPs' club of representatives responded by saying "You who have built your political careers on activism funded by foreign civil societies, agencies, governmental and non-governmental sectors, are today problematizing the role of the Minister of Construction for, on a market basis, dedicating part of his political career and work to a Russian entrepreneur."
Nino Raspudić from the MOST party warned that in the unrealized Kupari project, Paladina owns 10% of the company.
“If he failed to complete his project in Kupari within six years, how will he know how to take care of joint projects? The conflict of interest here is high. If the concessionaire doesn't do anything in seven years, then you take the concession from him, and you don't appoint a minister who has 10% in the same project,” he pointed out.
Paladina said the process of exiting the ownership structure was launched more than two years ago.
“We read in the media that you are in conflict with your former Russian partner, which has resulted in numerous criminal charges against you,” said Mariana Puljak from the Center and GLAS club of representatives.
Paladina replied that it is true that his ex-partner has filed a number of criminal charges against him that have been dismissed and asked if the problem is that he is connected to Russians or in conflict with Russians?
As expected, the SDP did not support the new minister.
“When we ask him about reconstruction, the only thing he can say is that it has not worked so far. When we ask him about state property management the only thing he is able to offer is his failed project. When we ask him about physical planning, he knows nothing about physical planning,” said Peđa Grbin, the head of the SDP club of representatives.
The Homeland Movement was restrained.
Ivan Penava, the head of the Homeland Movement, said that they believe that every man deserves a chance and that they are not partial to qualifications and labels of the Russian story.
With or without labels, reconstruction by the minister is eagerly being awaited.
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