željko reiner.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ / dc

The newly-appointed Parliament Speaker Zeljko Reiner said on Monday evening that he would not give up on his spontaneous proposal that the Croatian Parliament be renamed the Croatian National Parliament, but that he did not consider the proposal to be the most important thing or the most important part of his address to the parliament on Monday, even though some tried to depict it that way.

Reiner, who was elected Parliament Speaker on Monday, said in an interview with Croatian Television on Tuesday evening that he believed that in the the 1990s, when the Croatian Parliament was called the Croatian National Parliament, "many things were started" and he therefore saw no reason not to accentuate the legislature's dignity by renaming it.

Asked if the proposal could restore dignity to the parliament given that the Croatian National Parliament was the legislature's official name in 1942, in the Nazi-styled Independent State of Croatia (NDH), Reiner said: "We should stop returning constantly to 1941, 1942, 1945. That is exactly what I said in my address - that we have had enough of going to the past which is the reason for our conflicts and divisions and which harms our present."

"If that sentence was the only important one out of 50 other sentences, unfortunately it shows the state of our society," said Reiner.

He added that his proposal was sponteneous, that it could be realised in six months, a year or maybe never. "It most certainly was not an important or crucial part of my address, even though some are intentionally trying to make it look that way," said the new parliament speaker.

He said that the new parliament would work differently than the previous one which he said had been a government agency, used exclusively as a voting machine.

He said that his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party did not plan to 'absorb' the Bridge reformist party or any other party, adding that it had to cooperate with the parties supporting it and calling on opposition parties to cooperate as well.

Commenting for RTL on Social Democrat leader Zoran Milanovic's description of the now ruling majority as a low point of democracy, with Bridge having supported "a criminal, spying and pro-Ustasha coalition", Reiner said such statements spoke more about the people making them than about those they were directed at.

As for Milanovic's statement that the battle has just begun, Reiner said that Milanovic should first accept the fact that he had lost the elections, be a constructive opposition and behave properly, something he said had not always been the case while Milanovic was in power.

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