zoran milanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP/ dk

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.

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