Early Election Would Mean Standstill, Says MP Pupovac

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“We need a functional and serious government. That means doing all that is necessary for the government to move without deadweight,” the Independent Democratic Serb Party leader said on N1 television.

He said the ruling coalition would judge and evaluate the situation and the possibilities of effective government activity.

Asked about the deadline by which a more definitive agreement was expected as to whether the incumbent government would go on and in what make-up, Pupovac said that as far as he and the SDSS were concerned, “this government will go on.”

“This government will do all that is necessary to adjust itself both functionally and politically so that it acts without deadweight, so that it acts focused on the targets it set, so that it utilises the sources so that those targets are achieved, and so that chaos in the country stops being produced.”

Asked if the SDSS would keep the office of a deputy prime minister if the prime minister accepted Milošević’s resignation, Pupovac said the future and functioning of the government had greater priority than who was in the government. “We will assess what is good for us and the government.”

As for the vacant office of construction minister after Darko Horvat’s resignation on Saturday, Pupovac said the coalition would discuss that very soon.

As for Milošević, Pupovac said he was the last person who would put someone in an awkward position.

“We respect the judicial institutions of this country, both DORH (State Attorney’s Office) and USKOK (anti-corruption office)… For us, it’s extremely important that everyone involved in this is equally protected, that information isn’t leaked, and that confidentiality is not undermined.”

Asked about a meeting with Horvat which, according to texts that have been made public, he attended, Pupovac said the meeting was held because it was necessary to discuss a now contested programme on SME development in areas populated by national minorities.

“Interest in that programme was low, it was high only from us. Milošević was at the meeting, too, and there was only talk about how to ensure the funds, whether it was possible to ensure more funds,” Pupovac said, adding that it was a regular meeting which MPs can have with ministers.

Asked if that was a way to buy ruling coalition partners, given that it concerned companies connected to political parties and national minorities, he said that was not true. “The purpose of those programmes, as far as the SDSS is concerned, was not to buy a partnership at all.”

We are talking about fighting for people’s elementary rights and the wish to eliminate injustice and discrimination, he said.

Asked to explain why requests were made for some companies to get funds although they were not eligible, Pupovac said the position of those who made the requests was “to establish adequate regional representation.”

He said Milošević had the obligation to eliminate the inequality so that all national minority representatives were represented. Milošević did not incite anyone to commit a crime and has no personal or interest connection to the people in question, he added.

USKOK suspects that Darko Horvat, in November and December 2018, in his capacity as minister of the economy, entrepreneurship and crafts, awarded HRK 2.6 million in grants to businesses in which he had a personal interest and to those for which he was asked to do so a number of times directly, or indirectly via his then aide Ana Mandac, by Milošević,  Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry state secretary Velimir Žunac, the director of the administration for assisted areas, Katica Mišković, and former minister Tomislav Tolušić.

Horvat was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of abuse of office. He was relieved of duty as construction minister by the prime minister at his own request later that day.


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