Catholic weekly accuses HDZ leadership of destabilising gov't

The editorial column in the latest edition of the Catholic weekly "Glas Koncila" points an accusing finger at the Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) leadership for having destabilised the current cabinet, underscoring that Croatia must not be hostage to "interests of one man", thus alluding to the HDZ chief and Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko.

The newspaper's chief editor, Ivan Miklenic writes that through "incessant manipulation over the media and public opinion", the strongest party (HDZ) "has caused uneasiness and stirred up disturbance among government  members".

"The leadership of the party has thus been engaged in destabilising the government, although it was (the HDZ) that shaped and equipped that government".

It is obvious that it (the HDZ leadership) has actually pursued ulterior motives and not a policy for the common good," Miklenic writes in the article and criticises also HDZ members for failure and a lack of responsibility to detect those motives.

"The strongest political party has not been inclined and has had no will to accept, understand and embrace logical reasoning that neither that political party, nor the government or Croatia can be a hostage to the interests of one man or a certain project."

Praising the behaviour of the Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov, who has publicly accepted to step down as Deputy Prime Minister for the sake of Croatia's interests, Miklenic recalls that the public statements and behaviour of the two deputy premiers clearly show who of them cares for the country's common good and who caters for private interests.

Miklenic also believes that any objective observer can see that a snap parliamentary election can hardly be beneficial and that Croatia "needs internal stability and competent and diligent management over the country," and that this should be ensured by the current majority but without those who have catered for their private wellbeing.

The political imbroglio has been triggered off when media published documents about business ties between Karamarko's wife and Josip Petrovic, a lobbyist for MOL with which Croatia is in dispute over the management rights in Croatia's oil and gas group INA.

Karamarko and the SMEs minister Darko Horvat, an HDZ official, seem in favour of Croatia's withdrawal from arbitration proceedings regarding this dispute.

On the other hand, Petrov said that abandoning the arbitration process would be pernicious.

"We have reasons for optimism about arbitration," Petrov said earlier this year.

The Conflict of Interest Commission will make public its decision on Wednesday, 15 June, concerning allegations that First Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ leader Karamarko was in a conflict of interest because his wife was in a business relationship with MOL's lobbyist and consultant Petrovic.

The Commission, which is established by the parliament and which consists of independent experts, stated on Friday that it would make the decision next Wednesday. The Commission launched this procedure on 18 May. Croatia and MOL are involved in two arbitration proceedings over their relations in the INA oil and gas company as its two major stakeholders.

In the meantime, the major opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) filed a motion of no confidence against Karamarko and the deadline for the 151-seat legislature to take a vote regarding Karamarko expires on 18 June.

Also, the Bridge party insists that Karamarko should step down as the Deputy PM.

The authorities in Croatia should punish Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko's unacceptable behaviour, or we should go to the polls for a parliamentary election, Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic from the Bridge said on Friday.

"At this moment it is very important to see what everyone wants to conceal - are the current authorities capable of punishing what is evidently unacceptable behaviour of a senior office-holder in the Croatian government, regardless of who he is, even if it's Mr. Tomislav Karamarko," Orepic said.

"When that behaviour is punished, we can go on more resolutely. If we cannot do so, we should go to the polls," Orepic, a Bridge official, said adding that it was Bridge representatives who "detected the problem and pointed to it".

Last update: Thu, 23/06/2016 - 15:40

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