“Žinić resigned because of the current situation concerning him, his assets and housing, because we believed that, in these circumstances, his staying at the helm of the county organisation would have been a burden to the HDZ ahead of local elections,” Plenković told the press.
There are two courses of action in this situation, he said. One, he explained, is that Žinić remains involved and supports as prefect until local elections (in May) all the activities in the reconstruction of Sisak-Moslavina County after the earthquake.
The other, Plenković added, is that Žinić adequately resolves every question being raised about his properties.
“That was more than enough for him to assess that running the county organisation before local elections in these circumstances was not realistic. That’s what the party’s inner leadership concluded,” he said, adding that, considering the number of local government units, there were not many cases like this.
Asked if he took issue with how Žinić was using state-owned properties, Plenković said Žinić must clear up everything. “How these processes unfolded over the past 26 years has nothing to do either with me or the party. It’s up to him to explain.”
Plenković said the HDZ had still not initiated Žinić’s expulsion because all the circumstances had to be established first. “As a party, we don’t have a mechanism to hire the SOA (Security and Intelligence Agency) to vet people under every aspect. If the Tax Administration is doing something, it keeps it to itself. It doesn’t give it to us.”
Plenković said he found out only yesterday that the Croatian Peasant Party asked about Žinić’s flat in parliament a year ago. “There’s been an oversight, evidently. I didn’t know,” he said, adding that said question was not put to him.
Plenković said he did not know if Veterans Minister Tomo Medved knew about this for some time but added that the War Veterans Ministry commented on the matter.
Commenting on the case of Požega Mayor Darko Puljašić, who resigned as an HDZ MP after the media reported that he took part in fixing tenders for energy efficiency in the city, Plenković said the party decided to dissolve the county branch and that this was done.
He said the party formed a commission and that it had enough time to prepare for local elections with a new team.