Božo Petrov Reacts to Statements about Possible Changes in Government Coalition

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MOST leader and Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov talks about latest turmoil in the ruling coalition.

The fact that cooperation between HDZ and MOST is not functioning as it should became obvious yesterday morning when Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić said that he spoke with HDZ president and First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko about the possible reshuffle of the ruling coalition. Also, some HDZ members said they were ready to change players if they are not producing good results, reports on April 20, 2016.

MOST leader and Deputy Prime Minister Božo Petrov called a press conference a few hours later at which he sternly criticized alleged attempts to sell state property, primarily the oil company INA. He also commented on Bandić’s statements, saying sarcastically that he would like to congratulate people who discuss the reshuffle with those who have repeatedly been held at the Remetinec prison.

In the evening, he gave an interview to RTL Television in which he said they were ready to leave the government if the reforms are not implemented. “We have never entered a marriage with HDZ. It is a relationship in which everyone has their own objective. Our interest is to implement reforms. I sincerely hope that the other side also has the same interest.”

“I was talking about people who are praising their good relations with certain people who are now in government. I am talking about Mr. Petrović, who publicly said he was a consultant for MOL. So, he is working for the company owned by another state and he is not working in the interest of the Croatian company. And then he publicly praises his good relations with Karamarko. I would like to call on Mr. Karamarko to distance himself from this.”

Jozo Petrović is a former member of INA Board of Directors and an alleged witness in the arbitration proceedings between Croatia and MOL, the same one in which former Prime Minister Ivo Sanader testified a few days ago. Petrović was reportedly very close to Sanader and took part in the arrangements about the sale of INA to the Hungarian company MOL. After media reports appeared that Petrović testified against Croatia in the proceedings, some of MOST’s MPs have demanded that Tomislav Karamarko, Petrović’s long-time friend, distances himself from him.

“If MOST were to put brakes on anything, that would be the sale of Croatian national interests. I am primarily talking about INA. I think it is clear to everybody what happened there. We are now involved in arbitration proceedings and I can say that we have reasons to be optimistic.”

Petrov said he did not think that some of MOST’s MPs might leave the party. “I have no such information. Three months ago, MOST withstood five weeks of pressure and we remained united, so I do not know what may change in the next three months. Our people have shown their credibility.”

“I hope that we will be able to draw a line in the next three to four months and say that this government has a chance to succeed. If we fail, then everything will be very clear. I think it would be the moment to admit that things are not working and that someone else should be in power”, concluded Petrov.


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