hrvatski sabor.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Denis CERIĆ / mm

The opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) caucus on Monday accused Speaker Zeljko Reiner of grossly violating the law and overstepping his authority after he refused to put the party's proposal on the agenda of the plenary session for the establishment of an inquiry commission of determine facts relating to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic's actions concerning alleged unlawful activities in the Security-Intelligence Agency (SOA).

The proposal was submitted on May 16 and was signed by 34 deputies, twice as many as required by law, however, Reiner refused to add it to the agenda explaining that the proposal was not in accordance with the provisions of the parliament's Standing Orders.

Reiner believes that the SDP's referring to President Grabar-Kitarovic's statement about former SOA chief Dragan Lozancic having been (SDP leader and former PM) Zoran Milanovic's private investigator is not reason enough to form a commission of inquiry.

In its motion the SDP said the President's statement brings into question the lawfulness of her actions because she was obliged, if she had knowledge of any unlawful goings on between Milanovic and Lozancic, to launch appropriate proceedings to punish such behaviour.

Reiner, however, believes that the President's statement "does not represent any act in the sense of the President's functioning." He notes that an inquiry into Grabar-Kitarovic cannot determine the lawfulness of Milanovic's or Lozancic's actions and is convinced that this case would not be in the public interest as prescribed by the Law on Inquiry Commissions.

"From the contents of the proposal, particularly the chapter 'Determining public interest', it is obvious that this has to do with the private interests of the former prime minister and former SOA director. A parliamentary commission of inquiry must not be used to protect the private interests of any person. Legal order prescribes a completely different type of procedure for those situations," Reiner says in his reply to the SDP.

The SDP responded by underscoring that only a majority in parliament, after discussion at a plenary session, can decide about the establishment of an inquiry commission and the existence of public interest and not the Speaker on his own, adding that parliament decides on such motions at the first session after the Speaker receives any such request.

The SDP notes that the Standing Orders, to which Reiner referred, do not even regulate the establishment of inquiry commissions. It believes that this is yet more proof that the Sabor has stopped being a place of democratic debate and that hard-won democratic standards are being undermined and freedom of speech unlawfully denied.

That is why parliament should be dissolved as soon as possible and a snap election called, the SDP says, insisting that its motion for a commission of inquiry be added to the parliament's agenda.

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