Official says SDP ready both for talks and for elections


Arsen Bauk, Public Administration Minister in the caretaker government, said on Friday that his Social Democratic Party (SDP) was ready for a new round of negotiations on the formation of a parliamentary majority and a new government, as well as for a new election, whether it be held in four months or four years.

“This is the first time we have a situation of this kind at the state level, but at the local level there have been many situations that were decided by a third political camp. In some of those situations a new election was held and in some an agreement was reached,” Bauk said ahead of a trade union meeting he was to attend as a guest.

Asked about yesterday’s failed attempt to inaugurate the parliament, Bauk said that the position of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) had not been known until Davorin Mlakar stated it.

“The evening before they said that their (the HDZ’s) candidate for Parliament Speaker was Zeljko Reiner and that they would have to think about it a little bit more. The next morning they had a meeting of their club of deputies and thought about it some more and then they came to the parliament hall and thought again; maybe because of too much thinking they forgot to state their position. The parliamentary procedure is clear, to appoint the parliament speaker, someone must nominate him, 50 odd deputies must do so with their signatures. Maybe they (the HDZ) had somewhere a sheet of paper with signatures which they did not show, I can’t be sure,” said Bauk.

Bauk said that it was very unfair of the HDZ to have pressured (outgoing Parliament Speaker) Josip Leko because his duty was only to state who the candidate was, to open a discussion and to put (the proposal) to a vote, which he did.

“Everything else could have been done before the session, however, that was not up to the outgoing parliament speaker but to the parties that have been elected to the parliament. The SDP and Bridge had discussions in that regard and their outcome was that Bridge agrees to nominating Robert Podolnjak as its candidate for Parliament Speaker. Bridge representatives then had a meeting with the HDZ, we don’t know what they talked about but it was clear at that moment that if the HDZ supported Podolnjak, he would accept the candidacy. They could have said it before the session but they wanted to make a show in the parliament, they are still in the opposition mode and they should stay that way,” said Bauk.