Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic said on Friday that he would enter into a debate with Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic "out of respect, but he has no say in anything."
Milanovic, the outgoing prime minister, said that he could not comment on Oreskovic's statements on the need to reform public administration and increase investment because "they carry no political weight". He said that the PM-designate used to be a good financial officer for the Teva pharmaceutical company, but noted that as prime minister he should have the authority that would be recognised abroad.
"I used to say to Angela Markel, yes, you are bigger and stronger, but this can go and this cannot. I could say that because I had the political authority in my party. That's why I find this unusual," Milanovic said.
Commenting on Oreskovic's meeting with bankers in Austria, Milanovic said it was well known who agents of big business were and that they certainly were not social democrats who he said had stood up against "loan sharks".
"I spoke with Croatian board members of banks in Zagreb, but although I am not xenophobic, I did not meet with foreigners and governors from Vienna and Milan. Those people could not enter my office."
Milanovic said he did not believe that the second pension pillar would be frozen because it was the property of Croatian citizens. "Those are the savings of all younger people of 50 years of age who work and pay their contributions. Those are their, and my own, future savings," the SDP leader said.
Milanovic talked to the press in the northern city of Cakovec where he had arrived to attend a convention of the local branch of the SDP.