Miro Kovac, a senior official of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), on Saturday expressed confidence that the parliamentary Conflict of Interest Commission would establish that there had been no conflict of interest on the part of First Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, while Hrid party chief Drago Prgomet said the scandal caused by a business relationship between Karamarko's wife and Josip Petrovic, a consultant for the Hungarian oil company MOL, was too big a burden both for Karamarko and his party.

"Mr Karamarko was very clear about everything. I'm confident that there was no conflict of interest whatsoever," Kovac said while answering reporters' questions after an event marking the 27th anniversary of the establishment of the HSLS party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition, which he attended as a guest and representative of the HDZ.

Kovac said he believed that the affair was merely a result of political games designed to cover up the inefficiency and lack of ideas of the Opposition.

"The Opposition lacks any initiative and is occupied with impeachment requests. They won't pass," said Kovac.

Asked if during his visit to Hungary he had discussed the current situation in INA-MOL relations, Kovac said that there were mechanisms of cooperation. The arbitration on INA will continue, he said.

Bridge member and member of Parliament Juro Martinovic said that the Opposition's request for a vote of no confidence in Karamarko was an attempt to destabilise the parliamentary majority and provoke a reshuffle or an early election. "It does not suit either Bridge or me personally," said Martinovic, stressing that as part of the parliamentary majority, he would not do anything to jeopardise it.

Asked how the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) would vote in the parliament in case of a vote of no confidence in Karamarko, HSS leader Kreso Beljak, who also attended the HSLS event, said that "It's not good to shift the decision onto the HSS."

"People in Bridge know what they are doing so let them act in line with their own conscience. They have been saying the whole time that Croatia comes first for them and that they will not allow any corruption, they are welcome now to practice what they preach," Beljak said, adding that the scandal had caused great damage.

Drago Prgomet of Hrid said that Karamarko currently did not enjoy his party's trust because the political burden on him was too big.

"The burden on Karamarko is too big, considering the documents that were leaked. It is also too big for the party and for the government," said Prgomet, while Beljak said that there was still not sufficient information on the affair and that Bridge should state its position on the matter.

Beljak also commented on pro-life and pro-choice rallies held earlier in the day in Zagreb, saying that it was sad that under the pretext of fighting for life, some people were promoting retrograde ideas such as a ban on abortion.

"It is sad that no one, including liberals, has raised their voice in defence of women's rights," he said.

Related stories

Commisison finds Karamarko is in conflict of interest

Karamarko has conflict of interest, says commission

Karamarko sure govt. will complete term

HRID to give Karamarko no-confidence vote

Petrina leaves HRID parliamentary group

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.