Ines Strenja Linic, a parliamentary deputy of the Bridge party that constitutes the government together with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)-led coalition, on Wednesday demanded that Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner of the HDZ immediately add to the parliament's agenda the appointment of Social Democrat (SDP) MP Ranko Ostojic as the chairman of the parliament's domestic policy committee.
"Bridge insists that the Committee be immediately set up through the appointment of the Committee chairman, and the strongest Opposition party is entitled to this position," Strenja Linic said, explaining that the Parliament Speaker should urgently add this item to the agenda.
"At this moment this is crucial for the national security of the country and this must be an absolute priority," she said.
Last Friday, the majority in the parliamentary Elections and Appointments Committee turned down a proposal from Opposition party benches that former minister of the interior Ostojic of the SDP be appointed chair of the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee. The vote was taken without a prior debate, and Committee Chair Franjo Lucic of the HDZ told reporters after the session that he did not contest the Opposition's right to appoint the chair of the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee but that Ostojic "is not an appropriate candidate." On Saturday, Reiner expressed fears that Ostojic might soon be found in conflict of interest.
During today's parliamentary discussion, Strenja Linic said that the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee should be constituted so as to discuss the case of Dragan Lozancic.
The dismissal of Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) chief Lozancic was signed by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, but Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has not yet co-signed the decision to that effect.
Strenja Linic interpreted this situation as meaning that Lozancic had not yet been fired yet the President was accusing him of breaking the law.
Therefore, the Bridge lawmaker believes that Lozancic must be questioned by the the Domestic Policy and National Security Committee.
"The Bridge party does not support his dismissal without the competent committee being convened," Strenja Linic said.
Nenad Stazic, who took the floor on behalf of the SDP, expressed fear that "national security is being undermined and the country has been pushed into a humiliating position." Stazic accused Grabar-Kitarovic of signing Lozancic's replacement without any legal ground.
She was reportedly offended as the SOA had been surveilling people under investigation and she found herself "in a double bind" as her conversations with those people were recorded, Stazic said.
"We can give up prosecuting criminals or the president should give up her friends," said Stazic, who praised Lozancic for his performance as the SOA head, notably when Croatia's interest had to be safeguarded in Savudrija/Piran Bay.
Stazic also accused the HDZ of refusing to have Ostojic, whom he described as "incorruptible professional", at the helm of the above-mentioned committee. Stazic believes that Ostojic will efficiently monitor intelligence services.
Drago Prgomet of the Hrid party warned that intelligence agencies were currently without parliamentary, civilian or expert supervision.
Ivan Suker of the HDZ countered that the parliamentary debate was void of arguments, and therefore very dangerous for the country. He maintained that such a debate undermined the reputation and security of the state.