Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader and First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko on Wednesday said that he had resigned as first deputy prime minister, stating that tomorrow a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic would be taken and that there would not be any "motion to withdraw" HDZ's motion.
"I resigned today from the position of first deputy prime minister. I consider that to be a good move because the government needs to have people who will be relieved of the relations that until now were not good," Karamarko told a press conference in the party's central office.
He once again called on Deputy Prime Minister Bozo Petrov (Bridge) and Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic to also resign which would put an end to the current situation.
Karamarko said that there would not be any motion as requested by Petrov, to withdraw HDZ's motion for a vote of no confidence in Oreskovic.
He reiterated that the HDZ wanted to topple Prime Minister Oreskovic because the government hadn't been functioning and that Bridge did not have proper relations towards its "senior partner" i.e. the HDZ.
Prime Minister Oreskovic's treatment of the HDZ, which, Karamarko insists, is the pillar of Oreskovic's mandate, is not in accordance with standards of democratic life.
Karamarko announced that once Prime Minister Oreskovic was toppled, the HDZ would seek to form a new majority and set up a new HDZ-led government.
He called on everyone who wishes to stabilise the future Croatian government to join forces with the HDZ.
Commenting on the decision of the Conflict of Interest Commission that he was in a conflict of interests, Karamarko said the decision was "half-grotesque" saying that it seemed to him that he was sanctioned for committing "a verbal offence".
"I'm satisfied with the Commission's ruling when I realised that the conflict of interest occurred at an informal meeting in the government when no minutes were taken and nothing was decided. It seems that they delivered the decision that I was in conflict of interest because I have a stance about a problem facing the company," he said. He also said the decision was made under pressure, announcing he would appeal the ruling in the Administrative Court. He stressed that in his case there was not conflict of interest.
The Conflict of Interest decided that Karamarko was in a conflict of interest when he had been expressing his suggestions that Croatia should withdraw from the arbitration proceedings with MOL over the Croatia's oil and gas company INA, and that this was evident when Karamarko expressed his opinions at the HDZ-Bridge Council for Cooperation in early May.
This Council of Cooperation was supposed to define decisions which would be adopted by the government.
The Commission established that Karamarko has found himself in a situation when his private interests could influence his performance in the government and could have the greater weight than public interests.
Croatia's government and MOL, INA's two major stakeholders, are involved in two arbitration proceedings over their relations in INA.
The Commission also notes that upon taking office as Deputy Prime Minister Karamarko failed to properly declare business relations that connect him with Petrovic and Petrovic's "Peritus Savjetovanje" that performs intelligence and consulting services for MOL. According to the Commission, this was evident when reporters asked Karamarko to expound his relationship with Petrovic, however, Karamarko failed to act in accordance with principles of preserving his trustworthiness and confidence by the public.
Karamarko believes that his position in the HDZ would not be undermined by the Commission's ruling.