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Croatia’s Parliament Names New Government, Defense Minister

January 25, 2016 (Photo Credit: AFP via Getty Images)

WARSAW — The Croatian parliament has appointed the country’s new government in a bid to end an impasse caused by the inconclusive election held last November. The cabinet will be headed by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, with Josip Buljevic appointed as the new Defense Minister.

Prior to entering politics, Oreskovic held a number of executive positions in the international pharmaceutical business.

Buljevic formerly served as an adviser on defense and security affairs to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the Croatian government said in a statement. From 1995 to 2013, he held a number of positions in the Croatian security and intelligence services, and between 2013 and 2015, he served as the Consul General of Croatia in Los Angeles.

The Cabinet comprises ministers named by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bridge of Independent List, the two main political forces behind the new government, as well as independents.

One of the main tasks ahead of the new Defense Minister will be to pursue Croatia’s plan to acquire new fighter jets and replace its fleet of 12 Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21s. The two leading contenders for the designed deal are Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Saab's JAS-39 Gripen, with Zagreb planning to buy aircraft that are either new or currently used by other NATO member states, according to the information obtained by local newspaper Jutarnji List. Other considered options include the French Mirage, Israel’s Kfir, as well as a version of the South Korean T-50.

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