Bridge MP Miro Bulj said on Friday that the party would support Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegovic after the Opposition called for his resignation because of a photograph that was released in the press of him wearing a cap similar to those worn by WWII Ustasha soldiers and because of an article in which he had allegedly praised the Ustasha regime.
"Our view is clear, we support Hasanbegovic and his work and want him to continue working in the interest of and in accordance with the reform programme," Bulj told reporters in parliament.
Asked why he believed that Hasanbegovic was a resolute anti-fascist, as claimed by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Bulj said, "based on his statements. Yesterday the man apologised. What else should he do? Apologise every day? For example, when will former president Stjepan Mesic apologise for holding a speech in Australia in which he praised the NDH (Ustasha-ruled Independent State of Croatia) and Ustasha ideology when what was needed most was reconciliation, when it was necessary to fight together in the Homeland War, when no one cared who was a son of a Partisan or Ustasha? Will he apologise? To this day he has been living at the expense of society," Bulj underscored.
Bulj underscored that this was his personal opinion, but added that the Bridge party fully supported Minister Hasanbegovic. "The man said yesterday what he had to and should not have to repeat himself anymore. He said what he said and for Bridge that is sufficient."
He added that Croatian society is founded on the Homeland War and anti-Fascism and that is something that Bridge will continue to nurture in its future work.
Asked when a new veterans minister would be appointed, Bulj said that that ministry was the responsibility of the HDZ, adding that that is a sensitive issue and the appointment should be resolved urgently. He noted that for the appointment of a new minister the HDZ needed Bridge's "blessing", but added that Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic would always have the final say.