željko reiner.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner on Tuesday reiterated that the Domestic Policy Committee could operate without a chair while Deputy Parliament Speaker of the Bridge reformist slate Robert Podolnjak announced that Bridge "will weigh out the situation" and that it was more inclined "to the rights of the Opposition" after the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) refused to uphold Social Democratic Party's (SDP) Ranko Ostojic to head the committee.

"That committee can function just like any other committee," Reiner told reporters in the parliament.

"Naturally, there has to be a quorum in the committee, a deputy-chair if there isn't a chair. However, I do not see why that committee cannot function if at a certain time it does not have a chair," said Reiner.

He reiterated that in line with the Standing Orders, the matter of electing a chair to the Domestic Policy Committee would be put on the agenda within 30 days. "It is absolutely certain, that it will be put on the agenda, you can be sure of that," Reiner of the HDZ said.

He refuted interpretations that in the 'Ostojic case' the Bridge was behaving like an opposition within the ruling coalition. "I don't see it that way," Reiner said.

Podolnjak, however, said that Bridge would "weigh out the situation concerning Ostojic," keeping in mind both sides and the significance of that particular committee. We believe that this is a matter of political significance not just for that committee but of the rights and position of the Opposition in parliament, Podoljnjak said.

He underscored that the committee has to have a chair, particularly since this is a specific committee for which the law specifies that is must be headed by an MP from the largest Opposition party.

Asked whether the committee can be convened by a deputy chair considering he is from the ruling coalition, Podolnjak said that it was necessary to analyse the law in that regard.

Social Democratic Party (SDP) MP Pedja Grbin said that the Opposition expects Reiner to put the matter of Ostojic's appointment on the agenda as soon as possible. "When it comes to taking the vote I hope that our colleagues in Bridge will finally muster up the courage and take on the responsibility for at least something in this state, whether they vote 'yes' or 'no', simply decide on something for once," Grbin said.

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