Construction and Zoning Minister Lovro Kuscevic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said ahead of a government session on Thursday that patriotic criteria in the appointment of deputy and assistant ministers go without saying, while Economy Minister Tomislav Penanic of the Bridge party said the most important criterion was expertise and that he was not acquainted with patriotic criteria.
Kruscevic told reporters that talks with candidates for the said positions would be launched already today and that a decision would be made in the near future.
Asked about the criteria for the selection of ministers' closest associates, Kruscevic said: "Expertise, experience, honesty and will to work." Asked about the patriotism which HDZ secretary general had mentioned, Kruscevic said this goes without saying.
Panenic, however, said the most important criterion for him was was expertise. "So that we can start doing our job," Panenic said. He said he was not aware of patriotic criteria for the position of deputy and assistant ministers.
Bridge will hold a meeting later this evening regarding the appointment of deputy and assistant ministers, Panenic said, adding that he did not know which party would assistant ministers in his ministry come from.
He refuted speculation that ministries have been blocked. "Come to my ministry and see for yourself. They are not blocked, we are working and trying our best, this will be resolved soon," he added.
Panenic said he was not acquainted with the details of talks at the Council for Cooperation between the Patriotic Coalition and the Bridge Party, because he attended another meeting at that time.
The Council for Cooperation on Wednesday agreed quotas for deputy and assistant ministers and is now discussing possible candidates for these positions and everything will be resolved in the next few days, the Council's coordinators Ivan Kovacic (Bridge) and Miljan Brkic (HDZ) said after the meeting.