The leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zoran Milanovic, said on Wednesday that during the day he would submit a request for a parliamentary vote of no confidence in First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko over a business relationship between his wife and MOL company lobbyist Josip Petrovic, adding that he hoped the request would be supported by the Bridge party, otherwise "they would send a very clear message".

"I can't and won't speak now about how many deputies will support the request for a vote of no confidence because, as we know, it requires the majority for such a vote. The burden of proof and action is up to the party making the request, in this case, us. If we fail, at least we will know that he (Karamarko) has patrons," Milanovic told reporters in the parliament.

He confirmed that his party had held talks with Bridge on the matter, adding that "unfortunately, one can't speak about Bridge as a united political entity."

He expressed hope that Bridge would support the SDP's initiative "because if they don't, they will send a very clear message."

Milanovic said he believed MPs would do their job well. "This is an untenable relationship which has nothing to do with a conflict of interest. People who enter such arrangements, and they obviously do it in full awareness, should know that what they are doing is unacceptable."

Asked if the SDP would request the establishment of a parliamentary commission to investigate the case, the SDP leader said there was nothing to investigate.

"There is no need for an investigation, it's clear what was going on and one can't pretend to be naive and say that they will exempt themselves from making certain decisions... This is not a minor mistake or a sign of disorientation, it is simply a system some of the HDZ people are functioning by and we can see that their habits are not changing," said Milanovic.

He believes that PM Tihomir Oreskovic should make certain moves but is unable to because of lack of powers and authority.

"Two months ago I would have said that I sympathise with him, but now I can only shrug and say that this simply doesn't work."

As for the decision of the Conflict of Interest Commission in the Karamarko case, he said that it was irrelevant.

"This is a dirty grey zone for which even the legislator has not provided a solution, these are Croatian specialties," he said.

Asked if SDP MPs would attend the no-confidence vote, Milanovic said that they answered to themselves and their own conscience but that they did not have to be wax figures and maintain the quorum for those who did not have it.

Commenting on Milanovic's statements, Karamarko said today that there was no conflict of interest in his case and that he did not intend to step down as demanded by "the notorious loser Zoran Milanovic."

"We are waiting for the Conflict of Interest Commission to decide on the matter and I believe that it will establish the truth, which is that there is no conflict of interest. I should step down because the person demanding it is who? The notorious loser Milanovic who in the last four years destroyed the country," said Karamarko.

Asked if he would lose the support of Bridge, his party's partner in the government, should the parliament take the vote of no confidence, Karamarko said that they would all wait for the Conflict of Interest Commission to make a decision on the matter.

He added that he was ready for any option, including a parliamentary commission of inquiry, because the truth was on his side.

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.