ZAGREB, January 8, 2019 – The Reformists are leaving Milan Bandić’s parliamentary group, party president Radimir Čačić and Reformists MP Darkinko Dubmović told N1 broadcaster on Monday, after Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) president Krešo Beljak and Social Democratic Party MP Zvane Brumnić earlier in the day gave depositions to the police and the USKOK anti-corruption agency about possible political corruption in the wake of HSS MP Mladen Mađer’s defection to the parliamentary group led by the party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić.
Čačić told N1 that Reformists would in the future act independently in parliament.
Asked if the party had notified Bandić of its decision, Čačić said they have not formally talked to him yet. A total of 12 deputies have recently crossed the floor and joined Bandić’s group.
Earlier, HSS leader Beljak gave a deposition to police on possible political corruption in the wake of HSS MP Mladen Mađer’s defection to the parliamentary group led by the party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, but he would not tell reporters whom he had reported to the police or where he got the information from regarding the alleged buying of parliamentary deputies.
Beljak gave his deposition to police after the USKOK anti-corruption office confirmed last week that it was conducting a preliminary investigation.
In a statement to Hina, Brumnić denied having been offered anything either directly or through a middleman.
The head of the parliamentary group led by the party of Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandić, Robert Jankovics, told Nova TV on Monday that he regretted that MP Darinko Dumbović of the Reformists had left the group as the cooperation with Dumbović was good, stressing that he believed Dumbović and his former parliamentary group would continue to support the Andrej Plenković government together.
That Dumbović is leaving the parliamentary group led by the Work and Solidarity Party was announced earlier on Monday evening by the leader of the People’s Party – Reformists, Radimir Čačić, and MP Dumbović.
At the beginning of the current parliament’s term, the parliamentary group led by the Work and Solidarity Party had only one member. Since then, a number of MPs from other parliamentary groups have crossed the floor to join this group. After Dumbović’s departure, the group has 12 members.
“I understand politics. His party leader Čačić, too, has said that they want to be more politically visible, they probably could not achieve that in the current circumstances. I hope and believe that we will continue to support together the government led by Andrej Plenković, unfortunately not as members of the same parliamentary group,” said Jankovics.
Asked if their credibility was undermined by cooperation with people who at the time of the election did not share the same political views and values that their parliamentary group now advocates, Jankovics said that that would be the case had they used their status in the parliamentary majority to get posts of ministerial secretaries, ministers and assistant ministers.
“All that we have done together in this group, since the time when it had four members to the present, when the group has 11 or 12 members, is to support the Andrej Plenković government and decisions made by ministers from the HDZ and the HNS,” said Jankovics, the Hungarian minority MP.
Asked if he had been contacted by the USKOK anti-corruption office in connection with reports related to political corruption, Jankovics said that he had not been contacted by anyone.
Asked how the parliamentary group of which he was a member functioned except for the main condition – support for the Plenković government – Jankovics said that with regard to worldview issues, notably those causing divisions in society, the group was open to discussions and agreement.
“Some of our most important decisions were not made unanimously, we did not vote the same way on the budget. The opinion of each group member counts and we will continue working that way,” he said.
Asked if they expected new defectors to join their group, Jankovics said that it was difficult to say for the time being if more new members would join the group.
He noted that it was pity that main left and liberal parties were in a difficult situation and “facing disappearance. If more new members join our group, that will be exclusively due to the difficult situation in those parties.”
More news on the Zagreb mayor can be found in our Politics section.