tomislav karamarko, opći sabor hdz-a.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Dario GRZELJ / mm

The leader of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party and First Deputy Prime Minister, Tomislav Karamarko, said on Friday afternoon that he would not resign from the post of First Deputy PM, as demanded earlier in the day by Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, and stressed that Oreskovic no longer enjoyed the HDZ's trust.

"After this salto mortale, Oreskovic no longer enjoys our trust. It is unfortunately gone," Karamarko told an impromptu news conference at the HDZ's offices in a comment on PM Oreskovic's call on him and the other deputy prime minister, Bozo Petrov of the Bridge party, to resign.

The HDZ leader also believes that it would be good for Oreskovic to resign.

"I believe it would be a good solution at the moment. We should sit down and see - a new government headed by him or in a different configuration. In any case, we should draw the line and reset things, but he does not enjoy our trust," he said.

He stressed that he could not accept Oreskovic's call for his resignation because the HDZ was a victorious party with the largest number of deputies in the parliament.

In the last parliamentary election, around 800,000 people voted for the Patriotic Coalition and 76 voted for Oreskovic in the parliament, after the agreement between Bridge and the HDZ, said Karamarko.

Karamarko expressed surprise that Oreskovic was demanding his resignation now given that he had supported him several times, participated in the last electoral convention of the HDZ and that positive economic processes were under way.

He also called on Oreskovic to explain why he had to attend a meeting at the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) due to which yesterday's government session had to be cancelled, if the government was superior to SOA.

"I don't know what reason could be so compelling to cancel a government session."

Karamarko believes that Oreskovic had the obligation to explain it to him, since he was his deputy in charge of national security, and tell the public what the meeting was about as "it would not be good for SOA and other security services to appear in elections and reshuffles."

Karamarko said that the HDZ Presidency would hold a session on Saturday to make further decisions.

"We won't pull anyone at their sleeve to save this government," Karamarko said, adding that a parliamentary reshuffle was possible as were new elections, but that the HDZ was prepared for both options.

He believes, however, that new elections would take a lot of time and cost a lot, which is why he is more in favour of a reshuffle, but without Bridge.

The HDZ has invested huge effort in maintaining this political configuration with Bridge and made a lot of concessions, but I cannot accept devaluation of everything it has done because "just because someone bases their platform on sensationalist media reports", which, he believes, is a sign of political immaturity.

Bridge has turned out not to be a credible partner and they have acted the whole time as if in the Opposition, Karamarko said.

The HDZ leader described as ridiculous accusations that he had commissioned a burglary of a car belonging to a client of the Grizli Komunikacije public relations agency that had until today worked for Bridge.

The HDZ news conference was attended by senior party officials and most government ministers nominated by the HDZ.

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