ZAGREB, October 17, 2020 – PM Andrej Plenkovic has said that President Zoran Milanovic’s activity contains elements of destabilisation, that he is minimising and downplaying the fight against coronavirus and social radicalisation and that if he continues acting like that, he will bring into question the purpose of his office.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting with HDZ members who are war veterans, Plenkovic said that the attack on the government building this past Monday was a criminal act with elements of terrorism and that the line had been crossed.
“I have no problem with anyone attacking me politically… I live with that, more than Milanovic does, for example for the past four years, as the prime minister who won elections twice and who beat Milanovic as well. Maybe that’s why he is so nervous.”
“He should understand as the president that speaking or writing against someone is not the same as coming to the government building with a machine-gun and pistol and committing a crime,” Plenkovic said, stressing that people want peace and security and that they want economic problems to be dealt with.
Milanovic’s narrative is identical to that of the left, Plenkovic said, adding that there is also the far right, which is characterised by exclusiveness, extremism and intolerance and which approves and has understanding for the attacker on the government building. In that context, he mentioned Homeland Movement leader Miroslav Skoro and the Bridge party.
He then pointed to his government’s economic results, progress on the path to euro adoption and the fight against corruption.
If president goes on like this, he will bring into question purpose of his office
“Some may just have a big mouth, and some a lot of tasks to deal with. The way he (Milanovic) performs his duty, if he continues like this, he will bring into question the purpose of the institution of president. If we have an institution that stands in the way of serious processes, the fight against coronavirus, the fight against corruption and now the fight against radicalism, we may ask ourselves what its agenda is,” he said.
Asked about responsibility for radicalisation in society, Plenkovic said that not everyone was responsible and that his HDZ party was committed to values of inclusiveness, tolerance, European values ad creation of a positive atmosphere in society.
“There are protagonists whose rhetoric incites hatred and intolerance, for example when someone says that they are against the Croat-Serb trading coalition or that cooperation between the ruling party and representatives of ethnic minorities, including the Serb minority, is unacceptable,” he said, noting that a part of the left political scene, including the president, and left pundits do not want to recognise his party’s evident transformation.
Plenkovic said that he wanted a Croatia that is not radical or intolerant or against ethnic minorities being part of the parliamentary majority.
As for Milanovic’s statement that Plenkovic did not know anything about the investigation into the JANAF corruption case and knew everything about the investigation into the attack on the government building, Plenkovic said that those were two entirely different things.
He added that preliminary investigations into corruption cases were not a matter of national security and that police and prosecutors worked on them without any interference from the government.
As for the attack on the government building, he said that it had to be established if the perpetrator had been under someone’s influence, if someone had helped him and if there were other such potential assailants. A political battle has to be launched to erect a cordon sanitaire around political parties that condone or have understanding for crimes such as Monday’s attack, he said.
That is not fear, the line has been crossed, he reiterated.
Asked about his security having been stepped up, Plenkovic said it was a matter of police assessment but he confirmed having received threats.
Plenkovic arrived for the meeting with HDZ war veterans in a bullet-proof limousine.
He also said that he did not intend to meet with Milanovic because he did not see how a person downplaying coronavirus and radicalisation of society could be of help.