Željko Reiner, sabor.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ lsd

Members of the Croatian Parliament will not be meeting by Friday July 15 when the decision on the self-dissolution of Parliament takes effect, Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner told the press after a Parliament Presidency session on Monday.

An idea was proposed for Parliament to hold its last session on Friday, but that was opposed by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the second largest party in the country, he said.

Reiner said there was no point in calling a session because "a quorum is very uncertain without the participation of the second largest party in the country." 

He recalled that SDP leader Zoran Milanovic had made it clear through the media that the SDP did not wish to take part in further sessions of Parliament, adding that he had tried, but failed to reach Milanovic on the phone today to convince him that matters that were to be discussed by lawmakers, namely the ratification of the treaty on Montenegro's accession to NATO and the appointment of an ombudswoman for gender equality, were of national importance.

Responding to a reporter's remark that ensuring a quorum was the task of the parliamentary majority, namely the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Bridge party, Reiner said that the SDP had unfortunately made it clear that they did not want to participate in this.

"This is a matter of national interest and national security. Both sides have claimed that they want Croatia to become a regional leader and now when we should be ratifying this treaty, one side obviously does not want to take part in it," Reiner said.

Croatia has promised to be among the first countries to ratify Montenegro's NATO accession treaty and there have even been indications that the President of Montenegro might attend that session of Parliament, he said.

He also said that the appointment of an ombudswoman for persons with disabilities was a priority because the term of the present ombudswoman had expired and the term of her deputy would expire in October. "It could easily be that if a new government is not formed by then, there will be no one to formally look after the interests of persons with disabilities."

Reiner did not specify whether the ratification of Montenegro's NATO treaty required 76 or 101 votes, repeating that "a consensus is crucial."

"If we cannot reach a consensus on matters of national importance or matters of importance to national security, then of course there is no point in holding a session," he repeated. 

The chairman of the Bridge parliamentary group, Miroslav Simic, said that his party had wanted the bill on the financing of political parties and amendments to the Water Management Act to be discussed before Parliament was dissolved for an early election in September. Regretting that Parliament would not meet on Friday, he said that MPs should have continued working normally until mid-July because there were about 50 items on the agenda that needed to be discussed.

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