petrov božo.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Tomislav Pavlek /ik

The Bridge party on Monday asked the leaders of the two major coalitions to voice their opinion within a week on Bridge's proposal to nominate a non-partisan prime minister-designate, with the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko, agreeing to the deadline, but Social Democrats (SDP) chief Zoran Milanovic said the time-term was too short for such an important decision.

Apart from the non-partisan PM, Bridge leader Bozo Petrov also proposed at today's meeting that in the first two years in office, a person from one coalition be appointed to the position of first deputy prime minister and a person from the other coalition be appointed to the position of parliament speaker with a rotation of offices of Parliament Speaker and the First Deputy PM in the second half of the four-year term.

"We believe you should be responsible for one third of ministries and Bridge should be responsible for one sixth, while independent experts should be in charge of one sixth of the total number of ministries. Committees and other offices would be apportioned through a consent of all three sides," Petrov said adding that this would also apply for supervisory and management boards of public companies.

Petrov's proposal to nominate a non-partisan prime minister designate was not well received by SDP chief Milanovic and HDZ chief Karamarko.

The position of the prime minister is not just any position but a position with the most responsibility in the country. You should have said this right away and not after a month of negotiations, Milanovic said adding that it would be hard to expect that this model would yield success.

Karamarko said the proposal was unfair given that his Patriotic Coalition won 59 seats in is a relative winner of the parliamentary election. "As far as I am concerned, we can talk about everything, including your proposal. I don't think your proposal is fair, but we will talk about," Karamarko said adding that he needed the consent of his coalition partners to discuss it.

Milanovic too said he needed time to consult his colleagues and partners. He reminded that in other countries the process of forming the government could take much longer. "It's been a month, we are recording an economic growth and things do not seem that bad. It's not a state of war. Time is important, but not critical at this moment," Milanovic said.

Given that Bridge insisted on the idea to nominate a non-partisan prime minister designate within five days and with a consensus, Milanovic outlined his party's prerequisites to proceed.

"We cannot enter a coalition with any political entity whose members are persons indicted for crimes. These people must step down. This is essential for us -- conditio sine qua non," Milanovic said.

Karamarko, however, said it was necessary to act fast so as to avoid turning the process of forming the government into a reality show, adding he would contact Bridge within several days.

Milanovic said it would be hard to expect a consensus and proposed to Bridge to consider the inauguration of parliament at least for a short period of time. "Someone needs to be parliament speaker at least for five minutes so that a decision to dissolve the parliament (and call a new election) can be made," Milanovic said.

"This is also an option. A parliament that has not been constituted cannot be dissolved," Milanovic said.

Bridge elected deputy Robert Podolnjak believes the Constitutional Court should offer a solution to the present situation concerning the failed attempt to inaugurate the new parliament. He recalled that the mandate of some Constitutional Court judges expired today and if new judges are not appointed within six months, the Constitutional Court could lose a quorum.

"The responsibility lies with us and not with the Constitutional Court. This (the Constitution) is a political document and let us not hide behind the Constitutional Court. Let us make a decision, even if it may be bad," Milanovic responded.

Vesna Pusic of the Croatian People's Party, a partner in the SDP-led coalition, insisted that Bridge clearly states the name of the person it wanted to nominate as a non-partisan prime minister designate.

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