HDZ president Plenković reportedly wants to postpone the debate from Friday to Sunday.
It is no longer certain that a debate between HDZ president Andrej Plenković and SDP president Zoran Milanović will take place on the Croatian Radio Television (HRT) this Friday, reports Novi List on August 6, 2016.
Milanović told reporters that there seems to be a problem on HDZ’s side. “HDZ has first allegedly agreed to the debate on HRT. The television station has proposed that the debate should be held on 12 August and SDP said it was fine with us and we did not ask for any special conditions. However, HDZ, as far as we know, has still not confirmed they will take part, and now they would like to start negotiating about it. We will not negotiate anything. We expect that the other party will accept the debate date, in order to discuss matters which are vitally important for Croatia”, said Milanović.
According to unofficial sources, HDZ wants to postpone the television debate to Sunday, 14 August, because on Saturday, which is the last day before the deadline, they want to submit their official candidate lists to the State Election Commission. Plenković thinks it is important for the debate with Milanović to take place after the candidate lists are agreed, and therefore wants to delay the debate. However, when HRT asked SDP whether they would be ready to accept the postponement, SDP gave them a negative answer.
“Two weeks ago, both SDP and HDZ received an invitation from the public broadcaster. We have agreed to the date and then scheduled other Milanović’s campaign obligations around it. We cannot now change everything again for a totally strange reason. If HDZ and their party president are so eager to submit their candidate lists prior to the debate, they can do it on Thursday, or even on Friday morning. There should be no problem. We do not understand why it is necessary for them to do it in the last minute”, said a source from SDP.
If the debate takes place, it would be the first such debate between presidents of SDP and HDZ since 2003. Since Milanović became SDP president in 2007, he has repeatedly called for a debate with HDZ president, however, Plenković is the first one who has agreed to his demand. After the debate between Milanović and Plenković was announced, MOST protested saying that the debate should include leaders of other parties as well, and accused HRT for giving advantage to the two largest parties.