Božo Petrov organised a press conference, Tomislav Karamarko followed with a counter press conference
Božo Petrov, deputy prime minister of Croatia and leader of MOST held a press conference on March 1, 2016, during which he talked about current state issues. Some of his statements were completely unexpected and quite unbelievable, so much so that the second deputy prime minister Karamarko quickly organised his own counter-press conference as soon as Petrov finished.
One of the first questions was on the relations between MOST and their coalition partners HDZ: „ There’s no conflict, not regarding the Ministry of Interior or the possible appointment of Milijan Brkić. Commenting on the subject of Milijan Brkić, Petrov quiite extraordinarily stated that he cannot say he is a candidate since aside from Karamarko’s statement, there was never any official confirmation from HDZ that he indeed was the only candidate: „I do not know who’s the official candidate for Veteran’s minister position“ he stated. Regarding Brkić’s questionable University diploma, Petrov once again said that MOST still believes he will have to resign if it is proven he did indeed plagiarise his thesis (court ruling is obviously not proof enough).
Journalists also wanted to know his opinion on the benefits received by parliament members in Croatia:“ As far as benefits go, that will change“. He also added that he does not agree with the amount of money parties are receiving from the State budget, announing he will be asking for that amount to be reduced.
Possible dismissal of the director of the Security and Intelligence Agency Damir Lozančić was a subject that could not be avoided: „As far as Lozančić goes, prime minister is the person who has the most information. The only good decision we could make was to remain indecisive while others voted in accordance with the order issued by their party”
He also explained what happened during his meeting with the President Grabar Kitarović: „If you’re refering to the day we stopped all negotiations with SDP, no tapes were shown to me during my meeting with the president. I was already upset when I arrived and stormed out after the meeting was finished because we got the information previously. I am sorry that the media is only showing one side of the story. We don’t have access to those tapes, Milanović admitted they came to visit him (other Members of MOST, that is), I only know about the phone calls“ Petrov said and added „We will never say which members of MOST were contacted by the Croatia is Growing coalition.
Petrov was asked to rate the cooperation in the Government: „ I don’t know why the Ministry of Veterans should be a burden for MOST, that’s not under our governance“. It’s true, things could be moving along more quickly and I hope that all appointments will be finalised this week since we have enough competent people. We already have reform teams in place.
Since Karamarko stated yesterday that the prime minister must sign the decision on the dismissal of the director of the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA) and that his time is running out, Petrov was asked whether there are two separate blocks within the government: „ We will never communicate like that and put pressure on anyone, and if I have a problem with the way he expresses himself, I will talk directly with Karamarko. You should ask him about his statements, not me“.
It didn’t take long for the second deputy prime minister Tomislav Karamarko to organise his own press conference to answer some of the statements made by Petrov: “Božo Petrov and I communicate daily. We meet and talk. If he didn’t know that Milijan Brkić is our candidate for the Veteran’s minister, now he knows“ he said briefly leaving us wondering just what do they talk about then on a daily basis? The annual yield of tangerines in Metković?
Karamarko once again said he is not happy that Dragan Lozančić is still the head of the Security and Intelligence Agency and warned the prime minister yet again that his time for the decision on his dismissal is running out. He also answered the statement made by the Minister of interior Vlaho Orepić who said his remarks about the ministry and possible dismissals crossed the line: „Minister Orepić must know that I am equally responsible for the situation in the Ministry of Interior“ (while Petrov earlier stated he will not meddle in the Ministry of Veterans because that’s not their department) Karamarko said and added „I suggested some people do not belong in the ministry and I will insist on their dismissal“.