Other Candidates and Veterans React to Brkić’s Decision to Withdraw His Name from Consideration

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Who will now be the HDZ candidate for Minister of Veterans Affairs?

HDZ general secretary Milijan Brkić late Sunday evening announced on Facebook that he was withdrawing his name from consideration for the new Veterans Minister. In a separate text message, Brkić confirmed that the problem was MOST, so it can be concluded that MOST was not willing to support Brkić in Parliament, report Večernji List and Index.hr on March 14, 2016.

Talking with Večernji List, Brkić said that there is a line of dignity and honour which he could not cross, but added that he had nothing against Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. He confirmed that in his Facebook message as well. Brkić yesterday met with Tomislav Karamarko, first Deputy Prime Minister and HDZ president, who nominated him for the post some 20 days ago, and informed him that he was withdrawing his candidacy. Sources say that Brkić withdrew in agreement with Karamarko.

His nomination had turned into a political drama in HDZ because Brkić reportedly did not know that he would be nominated, and he was aware that he would be attacked in the media for the issue with his university diploma. Also, the fact that he had to wait full two weeks to get a meeting with the prime minister was also quite degrading for the second most powerful person in HDZ.

Karamarko last week took a fairly tough stance and sent a message to Prime Minister Orešković that Brkić was the only HDZ’s candidate and that the Patriotic Coalition would vote in Parliament only for him. At first, it seemed that after the ultimatum the prime minister would relent and officially appoint Brkić, although it was clear that he would not be the prime minister’s first choice for minister.

Obviously aware of it, Milijan Brkić has decided to honourably withdraw. It is interesting that he has alluded to the fact that he did not get the support of MOST. If that is true, MOST has managed to stop the appointment of two HDZ ministers – Josipa Rimac and Brkić. According to unofficial sources, HDZ could propose as its new candidate Stjepan Šterc, who has already been nominated by the Association of Widows of Croatian War Veterans.

However, Branko Borković, another candidate for the post, said this morning that, according to his information, Šterc was no longer a candidate. “You have to ask him, but I have information from him that he is not a candidate any more”, said Borković. Talking about the latest events, Borković said he was surprised. “It is disgusting that the prime minister has so far not invited us to a meeting and that there was no communication. It is an irresponsible behaviour towards the veterans”, said Borković. He added that he had no information about what specifically happened before Brkić decided to withdraw.

“My suggestion is that the ruling coalition should solve this issue urgently. This post belongs to HDZ. The party has many veterans and candidates for minister, they should propose someone to the prime minister so we can get out of this situation”, he said. Borković added that one of the biggest problems was the fact that the new budget had already been proposed without the veterans minister being appointed, which could have negative consequences.

The Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for War Veterans Miodrad Demo expressed his disappointment after Brkić announced his decision and has requested an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković. He said that it was obviously a problem in coordination between Orešković, HDZ president Karamarko and MOST president Petrov.


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