HDZ and Bridge lawmakers trade barbs

The head of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) parliamentary club of deputies, Ivan Suker, on Friday described as irresponsible the behaviour of the Bridge party, the partner to the HDZ-led Patriotic Coalition in the government, after Bridge lawmakers, followed by the Opposition, had walked out of the parliament hall in protest against the explanation as to why the parliament would not discuss today reports on the work of the Croatian National Bank, to which Bridge MP Miro Bulj countered that Bridge was indeed responsible, towards citizens.

"In my opinion, this is irresponsible and also reveals lack of knowledge of how some things function, this is insistence on some private score-settling," Suker told reporters.

"Responsible people do not do that, they resolve their disagreements at meetings," the HDZ MP said when asked what he thought of Bridge's behaviour.

He went on to say that Bridge's conduct was adding fire to the flames ahead of the adoption of the state budget for this year, which he said would finally enable the government to start functioning normally, reforms to be implemented and Croatia to move in a different direction.

Suker said that his club would neither protect nor defend the HNB or Governor Vujcic, but that it was only logical, if the government gave a positive opinion on a matter, to act accordingly.

"If you vote against the opinion of your government, you practically vote against it," Suker warned, adding that the government had given a positive opinion of the HNB's report and expected an agreement, primarily between HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, Bridge leader Bozo Petrov and PM Tihomir Oreskovic.

Suker recalled that all government members had unanimously supported the draft budget for 2016, which, he said, obligated the ruling coalition's MPs to endorse that document.

Responding to Suker's remarks, Bridge MP Miro Bulj said that his party was responsible, that its MPs answered to citizens who had elected them and that they had the obligation to vote and state their position, including on the HNB and its report.

"No one can be a state within a state, and the parliament has utter importance," Bulj said when asked to comment on Suker's remark that Bridge was behaving irresponsibly.

He would not give a straightforward answer when asked if today's developments meant a crisis in the coalition between Bridge and the Patriotic Coalition.

Bridge insists on principles and that everything be voted on publicly and transparently, he said, and when asked if Bridge would continue its cooperation with the Patriotic Coalition, he said: "We'll see".

Social Democrat MP Pedja Grbin said that relations in the ruling coalition were very bad and that the ruling majority was unable to make any decisions.

"This is very bad for Croatia and it indicates that we are not going in a good direction," said Grbin.

Last update: Fri, 11/03/2016 - 17:56

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