After Prime Minister-designate Tihomir Oreskovic outlined his cabinet's programme in parliament on Friday, several Opposition lawmakers took the floor to criticise the agenda, with Ingrid Anticevic Marinovic of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) seeing a slide with pyramid graphic presentation as a hint at the power of the secret organisation of Free Masons.
"I hope that this is not a symbol of Free Masons and the Illuminati," the SDP parliamentarian said, wondering if Oreskovic "is advocating a new world order".
The PM-designate did not respond to the criticisms from Opposition lawmakers, but listened to them patiently.
Another SDP MP, Tanja Vrbat Grgic, criticised the manner in which Oreskovic presented his programme as "corporate brainwashing".
Some SDP deputies found fault with the PM-designate for failing to mention his foreign policy agenda or Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
However, the nomination of a historian, Zlatko Hasanbegovic, as Culture Minister was the most disputed issue for SDP lawmakers who criticised the nominee for claiming that anti-fascism was not one of the pillars of present-day Croatia but rather a platitude.
Rajko Ostojic of the SDP said that if there had been no struggle against fascism, "today we would not have excellent nominees for health and tourism ministers, Dario Nakic (born in Zadar) and Antun Kliman (born in Istria) ," alluding to the fact that thanks to the victory of anti-fascists in the Second World War, Zadar and Istria had been reintegrated into Croatia.
SDP MP Nenad Stazic called on Oreskovic to withdraw Hasanbegovic's nomination, accusing Hasanbegovic of being a member of an association whose website promotes the salute " Ready for Home", used by the Nazi-style Ustasha regime in WW2.
Stazic claims that Hasanbegovic will restore the auspices of the Croatian state over Bleiburg commemorations.
In May 1945, soldiers of the Ustasha regime and Croatian civilians retreated to Bleiburg, Austria in order to surrender to the Western allies, who turned them over to the Tito-led partisans. Tens of thousands of soldiers and civilians were killed or went missing in the Bleiburg field and during death marches back to Slovenia, Croatia and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. In April 2012, the parliamentary Presidency led by SDP Speaker Boris Sprem decided that the commemoration at Bleiburg, Austria will no longer be held under parliament's auspices.
Stazic's criticism triggered a response from Milijan Brkic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) who said that Stazic's speech was an attempt to go backward. Brkic accused the SDP of pushing Croatia backwards while in power in the last four years.
As for Stazic's criticism of the nominee for Veterans Minister, Mijo Crnoja, who proposed publishing a register of traitors, Brkic said that the outgoing government had published a register of war veterans and he saw no reason why a register of those who had attacked Croatia should not be made public.