Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) said on Tuesday that it was logical that Parliament should first discuss the HDZ's motion for a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic.
"If you ask me what is logical, it is logical that the motion for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister should be discussed first, because if the motion is carried, which at this point seems very likely, then any other vote on any other member of the government is pointless because by the very act of voting no confidence in the prime minister the government falls," Reiner said in an interview with the HTV public television channel in the evening.
Speaking of the procedure, he said that the government has eight days to state its opinion on the HDZ's motion for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister, after which Parliament should discuss the motion within 30 days.
Asked if the HDZ would agree to dissolving Parliament, as suggested by the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), in order to avoid the no-confidence votes against Oreskovic and First Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko, Reiner said that the HDZ had no reason to try to avoid the votes.
Asked if the HDZ had not done everything, including launching the procedure for the prime minister's impeachment, just to avoid a vote on their leader, Reiner said: "Absolutely not."
"The chief of the opposition, of course, wants to achieve what the opposition want to achieve. Their aim is not a stable government, but are hoping for an election to win a few votes more than they did last time. The HDZ, of course, is not afraid of a new election and is ready for it. But the citizens should know what the new election means," he noted.
Reiner said the election the opposition was calling for meant first and foremost that the rating agencies, due to visit Croatia next week, were arriving in an unstable country with an unstable political situation which meant that the country's rating was going down and interest rates were going up, "to 5.5 percent, perhaps six."
A new election would also mean that Croatia could not draw billions of euros from European funds by the end of the year, Reiner said, adding that "the damage of the new election the opposition is calling for would be huge and citizens should know that. A new election can't be done just like that. It's a big damage and this year would be lost in the economy, in reforms, in everything."
He was asked if the HDZ was united as a party or falling apart, given that the Varazdin branch demanded that Karamarko step down, some MPS did not sign the motion for Oreskovic's impeachment, and senior HDZ official Vladimir Seks too said Karamarko should resign.
"The party is united, of course. All those trying to make it seem as though it isn't united are wrong. The fact that two or three people in Varazdin semi-privately called reporters and said something, that's not the party. The party has over 200,000 members, the party has its bodies, the bodies adopted conclusions... Everything is actually in unison, unanimous," Reiner said.
He was asked what Karamarko meant by accusing Oreskovic of trying to introduce a chancellor's system with the help of the repressive apparatus and by his message that intelligence and police structures should not let themselves "be politicised and dragged into possible games of reshuffling, surveillance or, God forbid, threats and pressures."
Reiner said it was "odd, and no one can deny that it's odd, that 20 minutes before a government session... without informing his closest associates... the prime minister leaves the government building and goes to SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency)." He said the PM and the government were SOA's superiors and that if they needed information from SOA, its chief should come to see the PM.
Asked if Karamarko had any knowledge of what happened at that meeting in SOA, Reiner said, "No, as far as I know." He added that Oreskovic did not publicly say why he had gone to SOA.