Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov has said that the Ministry of the Interior and the Security-Intelligence Agency (SOA) have to change and that Minister of the Interior Ranko Ostojic should demand facing the parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs and National Security and police officials in charge of surveillance, rather than him.
After Bridge spokesman Nikola Grmoja said that there were indications that Petrov had been under surveillance and that he believed Ostojic had to do with it, Petrov said in an interview with the Vecernji List daily of Thursday that he learned all information about the case from the media and that institutions in charge of supervising security services should now make a move.
"I believe that people in the police and the person who lodged the complaint with the parliament know the most about it. Institutions in charge of supervising security services are now expected to act. I believe that they will act in the right way and that the truth will be revealed. It is interesting that internal checks never revealed any abuse of those instruments, which only shows that we are right when we say that the Ministry of the Interior as well as SOA should undergo a change," Petrov said.
Outgoing Minister of the Interior Ranko Ostojic said on Wednesday that Petrov had not been under surveillance, that his phone had not been tapped and that he had not been a target of any secret data collection measures, accusing Bridge spokesman Grmoja of saying untruths and of being irresponsible.
Ostojic also said that he was willing to publicly face Petrov regarding the allegations, and not Grmoja.
With regard to talks about government formation, Petrov said that Bridge wanted changes and that changes would happen by choosing the best candidates for ministerial positions, regardless of their political affiliation.
Commenting on Prime Minister-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic, Petrov said that he had an impeccable CV and that, as the candidate of the Patriotic Coalition, Oreskovic was generally accepted by Bridge because its members were aware of his competencies.
"Based on my contacts with him, I believe that he also has qualities as a person because he is very analytical, systematic, loves challenges, I know that he cares about Croatia... I know that he will keep his autonomy and that he, too, is aware that this is a unique opportunity to change the way things are in Croatia," said the Bridge leader.
He said that Bridge was made up of competent people and that there were candidates that could run ministries. What the final decision on ministerial positions will be, is yet to be seen. "Maybe we will give an opportunity to entirely independent experts, but it's still early for such assessments. If that happens eventually, it will prove that we never fought for positions," said Petrov.
"The demographic policy has been neglected for 20 years, there have been various short-lived proposals, but not a clear strategy. We need a clear, long-term strategy and whether it will require setting up an office or a ministry, it's less important," Petrov said among other things, announcing that a joint team of experts would be formed to analyse, in the next six months, which ministries could be joined and whether new ones were needed.
Commenting on the intensity of attacks on his party, especially after the election campaign, Petrov said that he was sickened to see Bridge "attacked absolutely by all because we proved that politics can be different."
Commenting on a recent Facebook post by Roman Catholic bishop Vlado Kosic, Petrov said that he felt unaffected either by his accusations or his appeal for forgiveness, but that Kosic's inflammatory post against him would have definitely made him side with the left-wing Croatia Is Growing coalition had not the Social Democratic Party (SDP) tried to cheat Bridge.
"If the SDP had not tried to cheat us, his (Kosic's) speech would have definitely made me go with the Croatia Is Growing coalition."
Petrov also said that the Church can and should react to anomalies in a society, but that it must not take sides. Certain individuals in the Church should not be so free as to determine who is a traitor, Petrov said, adding that that was intolerable.