ZAGREB, December 14, 2018 – After they facilitated the adoption of the Zagreb City budget for 2019 by voting for it in the Zagreb City Assembly on Thursday, Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) secretary-general Ilija Ćorić and Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS) City Assembly member Miroslav Polovanec were expelled from their respective parties.
Informing reporters of Ćorić’s expulsion from the party, HSS leader Krešo Beljak told a news conference that Ćorić’s decision had taken him by surprise, the more so as earlier in the day Ćorić had made it clear that he would vote against the budget proposal, as agreed within the City Assembly group of which he was a member. “But evidently we mustn’t let anything take us by surprise in politics considering that we know who our opponents are – Mr Bandić and Mr Plenković. This is clearly their doing,” Beljak said.
Beljak said he was confident that this was a case of corruption and called on state institutions to investigate it. He added that when asked why he voted the way he did, Ćorić told him that his circumstances made him do it.
Beljak also dismissed accusations by Zlatko Hasanbegović of the Independents for Croatia that the outcome of the vote on the city budget was a result of an agreement between Beljak, HSLS leader Darinko Kosor and Plenković.
Beljak also commented on GLAS MP Anka Mrak Taritaš’ statement that there was no room in the Amsterdam Coalition (made up of GLAS, the HSS and the HSU) for people forging alliances with Bandić and the HDZ and that she expected Beljak to act accordingly.
“I did not have the impression that Mrak Taritaš would blame me or anyone in the HSS for that, I’m confident that the Amsterdam Coalition will continue to exist and not only that – we will consolidate it with true politicians and be an alternative to the decay that dominates the political scene in Croatia,” said Beljak.
HSLS leader Darinko Kosor, who is also a member of parliament and of the Zagreb City Assembly announced today that Polovanec would no longer be a member of the HSLS or its group in the city assembly. “The HSLS voted in line with the party’s decision – against the budget proposal, but members’ terms are their own. All those who voted for the budget are no longer members of our group,” he said.
Asked about the future of Jozo Miličević of the Zagreb Independent Slate, who is the deputy chair of the City Assembly and who also supported the 2019 Zagreb city budget, Kosor said that Milicevic was a member of another party.
Speaking to reporters after the City Assembly adopted the Zagreb city budget proposal for 2019 with the help of members of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), City Assembly chair and HDZ member Andrija Mikulić said that the HDZ had definitely not been involved in any political trade-offs and called on the opposition in the City Assembly to report their suspicions to the relevant state institutions.
“I was saying the whole time that I was an optimist, that I believe in the proposed projects and I thank God and all members of the City Assembly that reason has prevailed,” Mikulić told reporters. “The vote was about supporting Zagreb’s further development and not about relations between City Assembly members,” said Mikulić.
The Zagreb City Assembly on Thursday adopted next year’s budget of 8.19 billion kuna, up 185 million kuna from this year, with 26 votes in favour, 24 against and no abstentions.
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