ZAGREB, May 30, 2020 – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Saturday that he was sorry the President was calling Statehood Day an election rally of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), underscoring that it was bad he spoke in such a way about positive legislation passed by the parliament.
“I think it is bad that the President of the Republic speaks in such a way about positive legal regulations passed by the parliament,” Plenkovic told reporters commenting on a statement by President Zoran Milanovic that May 30 was not Statehood Day and that it was a result of one political party’s (HDZ) private affairs.
“We know very well that (former SDP leader Ivica) Racan’s government in 2001 decided that Statehood Day should be marked on June 25, which is also an important day. This (May 30) was the beginning and that’s why I regret that he speaks in such a way about a key date for modern Croatia,” he added.
He expressed confidence that Milanovic would change his opinion during his term of office.
The prime minister said that he did not hear Milanovic’s accusations that the Statehood Day commemoration was an HDZ election rally or HDZ official Vladimir Seks’s statement that conditions had been created to remove the president from office.
“Today is a key date for Croatia and I am proud… that we again mark Statehood Day on this date,” he underscored.
Plenkovic also did not want to comment on the fact that Milanovic had not come to lay a wreath at the grave of Croatia’s first president Franjo Tudjman, saying that he personally should be asked about this.
“I am the head of the government, of the HDZ, the person on whose initiative the date of Statehood Day has changed. He is a different institution, ask him about his behavior. I have said enough about the matter and that is not the subject of my interest,” Plenkovic underscored.
He also said that yesterday’s arrests in a case involving the Croatian Forests company, especially that of HDZ official Josipa Rimac, were not difficult for the HDZ and added that the rule of law must apply at all moments.
“The DORH (State Attorney’s Office), the police are independent. If someone has committed a crime or there is reasonable suspicion that they have committed it, the police, the DORH, and everyone else must do their job regardless of the time, the person concerned or their party affiliation,” he underscored.
Plenkovic also said that this example of the independence of state institutions was further proof that they were fighting against corruption.
He called the prompt dismissal of Public Administration Ministry state secretary Josipa Rimac and Assistant Economy Minister Ana Mandac a clear message, adding that relevant party bodies would decide whether to launch intraparty proceedings against them.
Asked if it had been a bad decision to appoint Rimac state secretary at the Public Administration Ministry after an earlier affair involving her house, Plenkovic said that what was happening now had nothing to do with the Public Administration Ministry.
He reiterated that May 30 was the day when the first democratically elected multi-party Croatian parliament was constituted. “This is a key date in the 1990-1992 period when important decisions were made for our independence and freedom. I am especially glad that the current parliament has changed Statehood Day’s date back to May 30 at the government’s proposal,” the PM underscored.