Prime Minister Plenković Comments on Indictment of Zadar Mayor

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Prime Minister and HDZ president Plenković also spoke about other recent events.

Croatian Prime Minister and HDZ president Andrej Plenković said on Saturday in Dubrovnik that the party would act rationally with regards to the corruption indictment which was filed against its high-ranking member and Zadar Mayor Božidar Kalmeta, reminding reporters that there was a presumption of innocence, reports on November 12, 2016.

Asked by reporters whether Kalmeta should step down as president of the HDZ branch in Zadar County and whether he would have support of the party if he decided to run again for Mayor of Zadar, Plenković said that they had still not discussed the issue. “Croatian law has a presumption of innocence. We will discuss the new situation, since there are other cases which ultimately ended in acquittals. We will access it very carefully and rationally”, he said.

Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organized Crime (USKOK) has charged Kalmeta for taking more than 15 million kuna and 850,000 euros from public companies for maintenance and construction of roads. At the time, Kalmeta was serving as Transport Minister. In addition to Kalmeta, the indictment includes 12 other defendants.

Discussing the issue of differing opinions between HDZ and MOST on tax reform, Plenković said they had achieved a good compromise. “I think that the government has made a step forward in achieving three fundamental objectives. We want our citizens to have higher incomes, we want income taxes to decrease, and we want to make changes to VAT which will help those with lower incomes. At the same time, entrepreneurs will receive the largest benefits when looking at the whole tax reform, and we will protect the sustainability of public finances and state budget”, he said and added that the tax reform should come into effect as planned, on 1 January 2017.

“The Croatian government is standing behind our veterans, Croatian generals, and I personally support Defence Minister Damir Krstičević. We will find ways to protect Croatian national interests and dignity of the Homeland War, as well as Croatian veterans who were members of HVO in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Plenković said when asked about possible criminal indictments against them coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“We will see which charges are substantially corroborated by evidence so they could eventually become indictments. We have the Council for Cooperation with International Criminal Courts, while a special committee will monitor the proceedings against Croatian war veterans who were members of HVO”. All state agencies are checking the charges”, he said.

Plenković reiterated that those who committed crimes should be held responsible, but he is opposed to “orchestrated timings and selective approach to individual investigations”. He repeated that he would open a dialogue with the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the political and judicial level to find a solution that will reassure Croatian veterans and protect Croatian national interests.


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