Amendments to the law on post-earthquake reconstruction were not passed because of two people, Andrej Plenković and Gordan Jandroković, the leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told reporters during a visit to the eastern town of Beli Manastir, where he presented the party’s candidate for mayor.
The Opposition on Friday broke the quorum ahead of voting in parliament after a vote on the opposition Bridge party’s motion to abolish the mandatory membership fee in the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) was taken off the agenda. Seventy-five MPs remained in the parliament, one fewer than necessary for a quorum and vote. The HDZ-led parliamentary majority lacked the vote of MP Miroslav Tuđman who has been hospitalised due to COVID-19 so he could not vote online either, which then prevented the adoption of the law on post-earthquake reconstruction, the declaration of an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic and some other items.
Grbin said today that on 30 December he had personally requested an emergency parliament session but that “the HDZ did not find it necessary”, after which on 4 January amendments to the post-earthquake reconstruction law were submitted and were discussed on 20 January.
“(The ruling majority) again did not rush to put them to the vote, yet yesterday, without trying to consult with us on how to reach agreement and have the law adopted, they decided to postpone the vote,” Grbin said, adding that the vote was postponed by Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković.
This is not politicking, this is politics
Grbin went on to say that the Opposition had only wanted all motions, including the Opposition’s, to be put to the vote, including one on the cancellation of the mandatory membership fee in the HGK as a form of direct assistance to entrepreneurs.
“Responsibility for the adoption or non-adoption of a document rests not with the Opposition but exclusively with the HDZ, Andrej Plenković and Gordan Jandroković,” Grbin said, adding that the HDZ’s hiding behind an ill man fighting for his life was disgusting.
“We are willing, if Jandroković invites us, to go to the parliament, even today, and vote on what has to be voted on, but then all items must be put to the vote, including those on assistance to business people and citizens facing debt enforcement. They don’t have to adopt our bills, but they should at least be put to the vote,” he said.
Asked by reporters if this was disregard for earthquake victims and politicking, Grbin said that the attempt to help entrepreneurs by abolishing one parafiscal levy and prevent the blocking of citizens’ bank accounts during the pandemic was not politicking but politics.
Sabo cannot activate his term as SDP Presidency member
Asked how his party would deal with the case of Željko Sabo, a former mayor of Vukovar and SDP member who has said that he will reactivate his term as SDP Presidency member, Grbin said that “Sabo cannot reactivate his term.”
Sabo’s announcement that he will activate his term as SDP Presidency member came after the SDP leadership decided to dissolve the party’s organisation in Vukovar.
The leadership’s decision was prompted by the Vukovar party branch’s decision to support Sabo as the SDP mayoral candidate in May’s local elections despite the leadership’s recommendation that he should not be nominated for that post as he had been convicted of corruption for trying to bribe a local councillor when he was the mayor.
Apart from having served six months in prison, which enables rehabilitation under the law, Sabo is also facing charges of abuse of office and powers for allegedly embezzling funds intended for summer holidays for Vukovar children.
“In line with an explicit provision of the SDP Statute, Mr Sabo put his term on hold until criminal proceedings against him are completed and as long as those proceedings are underway, he cannot activate his term,” said Grbin.