Prime Minister and Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic described on Tuesday as dishonest and a “cuckoo in the nest” the proposal by the opposition Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) that teams of the two largest coalitions face off before the parliamentary election, saying he and HDZ president Tomislav Karamarko should face off because one of them would go to President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with the signatures of a majority of members of parliament and seek a mandate to form a new government.
“I have been repeating this for half a year, the prime minister is the most responsible person in Croatia… It’s totally normal, even an obligation towards citizens in all serious democracies, from the US and Great Britain to Germany, for the two most responsible persons, one of whom will go to the president with 77 signatures, to explain to the public how they see Croatia and show what they know, what they don’t know and what they don’t care about at all,” Milanovic told reporters.
He was asked to comment on a statement in which the HDZ accused the SDP of a “rooted relapse of totalitarianism” because it rejected the HDZ’s offer of a pre-election face-off between the two parties’ teams. Milanovic reiterated that he and Karamarko must face off, accusing him of attempting to come to power by force.
“We’ve seen that Mr Karamarko doesn’t care about some things. It’s not that he’s not a smart man, quite the contrary, or a total ignoramus, which isn’t true either, but he simply doesn’t care. He wanted to come to power by brute force but that isn’t working, so now it’s necessary to involve some other thinking and working apparatuses. That’s why it’s very important that the two most important persons stand before… the three national TV channels that would organise a debate,” Milanovic said.
He said teams could not face off in groups and that the HDZ proposal “is deeply dishonest and an attempt to avoid, not a street showdown, but a face-off such as those you can see in America” between him and Karamarko. “I’ve been honest and made myself clear from the start, while the HDZ has panicked and is actually offering the public a cuckoo in the nest.”
Milanovic reiterated that his “Croatia is Growing” coalition would present its platform in a few days. “Behind us are four years of work and results and behind the HDZ are four years of attempts to topple the government with street and semi-violent methods. They failed.”
Responding to questions, Milanovic said he did not know that President Grabar-Kitarovic was going to Hungary for a Visegrad Group meeting and to meet with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, just as he did not know about her meeting with Orban on the fringes of a recent UN General Assembly session in New York. “It’s not a big deal because the president of the republic can’t make any commitment that would be binding for the Republic of Croatia. At least that’s clear and the rest is a matter of impression.” (Hina)