Croatia opposition seeks government no-confidence vote on Agrokor handling

ZAGREB (Reuters) - Croatia’s opposition parties on Thursday demanded a no-confidence vote in the government over its handling of a crisis at the country’s largest company, Agrokor, but analysts said the ruling coalition would likely survive.

The government intervened in April because Agrokor [AGROK.UL], the largest employer in the Balkans, faced a debt and liquidity crisis. Given its importance, the crisis could have destabilized the economy.

The opposition led by Social Democrats says a liquidity loan agreed this summer with creditors including foreign investment funds to finance Agrokor’s operations through a 15-month period of restructuring lacked transparency and favored some creditors.

“The SDP has a responsibility to expose corrupt activities,” the SDP leader Davor Bernardic told reporters.

The government and Agrokor’s crisis manager Ante Ramljak rejected the opposition charge and said it achieved the best possible loan terms in the circumstances.

A debate and vote must take place by early December and the conservative-led coalition has a small but firm parliamentary majority.

“I don’t think this is a particularly wise move for the top opposition party (Social Democrats) as they are likely to achieve little. I see it rather as an effort to divert attention from political weaknesses within their own ranks,” said political analyst Davor Gjenero.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg