Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) vice-president Oleg Butkovic confirmed in an interview with Nova TV on Friday evening that Finance Minister Zdravko Maric was the HDZ's candidate for Prime Minister-designate, noting that the HDZ would not have nominated Maric if it was not confident that it had the support of 76 members of Parliament for a government reshuffle.
"The HDZ Presidency has made a decision that Maric is their choice for PM-designate," Butkovic said when asked why Maric had been chosen since he was not a member of the HDZ and did not have electoral legitimacy.
Maric was appointed Finance Minister at the proposal of the HDZ and he served previously in the HDZ-led governments, including as a state secretary at the Finance Ministry, Butkovic said, describing Maric as a professional who was open to cooperation.
Asked how far the party had progressed in negotiations on a reshuffle of the parliamentary majority considering its claims that it had the necessary support of 76 MPs, Butkovic said that the HDZ would not have nominated Maric if it was not confident that it had the necessary support.
A vote on confidence in PM Tihomir Oreskovic will be taken on Wednesday or Thursday and that will be the first step. After that, the PM-designate will do his job, together with the President of the Republic, and a new government will be formed, said Butkovic.
Commenting on the statement by former senior HDZ official Vladimir Seks that the HDZ was "bluffing" about the new parliamentary majority, Butkovic said that Seks had not been a member of the party leadership for a long time and did not have enough information on what was going on in the party.
Commenting on PM Oreskovic's refusal to step down, Butkovic said that he no longer enjoyed the support of the party that had nominated him to that position.
"That has turned out to be an unsuccessful experiment," Butkovic said, declining to state his opinion of Oreskovic.
"We have made decisions and he will be given a vote of no confidence," he said.
Oreskovic made a try and some positive progress did happen but he did not do what he was supposed to do, which is to successfully run the government and ensure a successful start of reforms, Butkovic said.
He added that Maric would prepare his own programme and become actively involved in negotiations with potential partners.