Committee on Constitution: Domestic Policy Committee should have discussed SOA chief's replacement

The Croatian Parliament's Committee on the Constitution, Rules of Procedure and Political System on Thursday supported the position by the chair of the Committee on Domestic Policy and National Security, Social Democrat Ranko Ostojic, that the majority on that committee did not have the right to move from its agenda a proposal to discuss replacements in the security-intelligence community, explaining that objections to the agenda had not been submitted the day before the committee session was held.

After President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic more than a month ago signed a decision to replace Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) chief Dragan Lozancic and the head of the Office of the National Security Council, Ivica Panenic, Ostojic called a session of the Committee on Domestic Policy and National Security to discuss the matter.

The session's agenda, however, was turned down by the majority on the committee. Together with MPs from the Patriotic Coalition, Bridge party MP Ines Strenja Linic then, too, voted against discussing Lozancic and Panenic's replacement even though the discussion on Lozancic's replacement had been requested by her party. She explained to reporters at the time that they wanted to make it possible for the prime minister to make a decision on whether to co-sign the replacements in peace. Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic has still not made a decision on the matter.

Strenja Linic's party colleague and chair of the Committee on the Constitution, Robert Podolnjak, today, however, supported the Opposition's view that the Committee on Domestic Policy and National Security should have discussed the replacements and that objections to the agenda of Parliament and its working bodies should be submitted a day before their session at the latest if the session was called several days earlier.

Objections to an agenda may be submitted at the session only if the session is called on the day when it is being held or the day before, the Committee on the Constitution decided.

Davorin Mlakar of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) disagreed, saying that parliamentary committees should have more freedom in their work rather than strictly adhere to the Rules of Procedure.

That is why he, together with his party colleagues Zeljko Tusak and Drazen Bosnjakovic, walked out of the session and broke the quorum, but since the vote was already under way, Podolnjak accepted Social Democrat Pedja Grbin's interpretation that the HDZ MPs' votes should be counted as abstentions since they were physically still in the room.

An additional abstention came from Albanian minority MP Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj, who remained seated so the final result of the vote was five votes in favour and four abstentions.

Last update: Thu, 17/03/2016 - 18:03

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