GLAS party leader Anka Mrak Taritaš said all citizens were aware that Horvat could not do the job of reconstruction.
“PM Andrej Plenković will defend Horvat but deep down he, too, is aware that he cannot do this job. As long as Horvat is in this post, there will be no reconstruction,” Mrak Taritaš, who launched the motion, said at a news conference attended by representatives of all parliamentary opposition parties.
55 signatures collected so far
“Two years have passed since the earthquake in Zagreb and one since the earthquake in Banija. Much has been said but little has been done,” Mrak Taritaš said, noting that it was time for Horvat to go and that her motion was supported by 55 MPs.
Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Peđa Grbin said Horvat’s incompetence was causing huge damage to the country.
“Tenders are not being conducted and again there are some firms that are being investigated by the European Prosecutor’s Office over corruption scandals, as well as firms that will be given millions for reconstruction. This is a typical HDZ story and one must put an end to it,” said Grbin, adding that once the deadline for the absorption of EU funds expired, Plenković’s responsibility would be discussed as well.
Sandra Benčić of the Green-Left Bloc said that on 15 January the government triumphantly said that the first houses damaged in the earthquake in Krapina-Zagorje County would be demolished in the spring, exactly two years after the earthquake.
“If that is not reason enough for the main coordinator of the reconstruction process to step down, I don’t know what is,” she said, adding that the motion was not about muscle-flexing but about whether citizens would spend a third winter in containers and those in Sisak-Moslavina County a second. “Has the state really rebuilt fewer houses than one foundation, more specifically Solidarna,” she said.
Bridge: PM assuming responsibility
Ivana Posavec Krivec of the Social Democrats group said the issue of Horvat’s replacement was a matter of Croatia’s future.
“If PM Plenković is not willing to replace the weakest link in his government, he is assuming full responsibility, and all those who vote for his stay assume the responsibility of inactivity. The Opposition is calling on the PM to act sensibly, this is the last moment to replace this weakest link and set reconstruction in motion. The ball is in the PM’s court,” she said.
Marija Selak Raspudić of the Bridge party said that by defending Horvat, PM Plenković “believes he is demonstrating his power over the Opposition, because this power play, let’s be honest, is the only thing he is interested in.”
She added that Plenković was assuming responsibility and gambling with his post by defending Horvat.
Selak Raspudić also pointed to the drastic, 40% increase in domestic violence across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, noting that the figure was even worse for the earthquake-struck Sisak-Moslavina County, where people were forced to stay in small housing containers.
The motion for Horvat’s replacement was also supported by Emil Daus of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS), Katarina Peović of the Workers’ Front, and independent MP Damir Bajs.
Bajs said that neither the government nor its coalition partners were satisfied with the pace of the reconstruction process.
“This is the first time a minister facing replacement enjoys only conditional support from the coalition partners and the HDZ itself. Let us do something and help people start living normally,” said Bajs.
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