The government's decision to remove eight large companies from the list of strategic companies and their possible privatisation caused alarm in parliament on Wednesday and Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Ingrid Anticevic Marinovic claimed that "Prime Minister Oreskovic is leading the country like a secret organisation."
"While we are discussing property of strategic interest, Mr Oreskovic has announced that a huge sale of state property in Croatia has begun to the extent that we can't even call that an invitation for the sale of, or distribution of property. It resembles a huge seasonal sale," Anticevic Marinovic said.
Some MPs in the ruling coalition were taken by surprise by the government's decision and Bridge MP Ivan Lovrinovic described the move as total chaos.
"A decision is being made about the sale of those companies via a conference call yet we have a whole set of examples of how to save billions of kuna through quality management of the existing state property. This is a chaotic situation," said Lovrinovic.
During a conference call on Wednesday the government removed eight companies from the list of strategic companies which it intends to put up for sale.
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) MP Ivan Suker said that if the government had decided that certain companies were not of strategic interest and would be sold then it must have adopted criteria and procedures for those sales. He interpreted the government's decision as the result of an inherited situation.
HDZ MP Goran Maric said that without a substantial analysis and elaboration, moves of this nature should not be made. In normal circumstances if something is classified as strategic then it cannot be unclassified as such over night because that means it wasn't strategic in the first place, he said.
Branko Hrg of the Croatian Peasants' Party (HSS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, said that he "would not dare raise his hand in support of the sale of Podravka because, he said, that could have long term consequences for Croatia.
"Without discussing it in parliament and giving an opinion to the government, it isn't normal to discuss the sale of Podravka," he said, appealing for the preservation of national interests.
Milorad Batinic of the opposition Croatian People's Party (HNS) that it is necessary to maintain control of the company and to insist on that otherwise Podravka's headquarters could well be relocated to Hungary.
Independent Democratic Serbian Party (SDSS) MP Mile Horvat appealed that Podravka should not be sold and recalled the example of the Belje food concern which prior to privatisation employed all of the Baranja region and since its privatisation, bus loads of residents from that area are emigrating to Germany.