The Cooperation Council of the Patriotic Coalition and the Bridge party has received proposals for deputy and assistant ministers and it will discuss names at a meeting on Thursday, the Council’s coordinator, Ivan Kovacic of Bridge, said on Wednesday.
“We have proposals for deputy and assistant ministers from Bridge and the Patriotic Coalition,” Kovacic said after a four-hour meeting. He underscored that talks on the proposals could start on Thursday already and added that Milijan Brkic of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and he had been elected as the Council’s coordinators.
Kovacic added that they had agreed that the Council would meet once a week or more often if necessary.
He rejected media speculation that the Cooperation Council was a “supra-government or shadow government,” underscoring that the Council was an advisory body. “We will just represent the political will that will facilitate the government’s work,” he said.
Kovacic believes that everything relating to new deputy and assistant ministers will be settled in seven to ten days because they have to organise ministerial offices. He added that deputy ministers would not be chosen via public vacancy advertisements and that only the heads of public companies would be selected in that way.
Asked whether Brkic was a candidate for a deputy ministerial position, Kovacic said that he did not know.
With regard to the selection of deputy and assistant ministers and public company heads, Brkic underlined that everything that was standardised by law would be conducted in that way unless otherwise required by law.
“We are legalists and have to respect the law and will make our decisions accordingly,” he said. He added that as an advisory body, the Cooperation Council would be political support to the government and make recommendations.
Asked by reporters whether current public company directors selected by the former government would remain in their positions, he said that the law was clear and that anyone in those positions would continue to discharge their duties responsibly to the benefit of the Croatian state and not in favour of any political option, until that was changed.
The next meeting of the Cooperation Council will be held on Thursday.
Earlier in the day HDZ leader and First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko said on his Facebook account that office-holders would be selected based on the existing law because the state had to continue functioning and that he would initiate changes to the government and state administration.
“Today we discussed personnel issues and potential candidates… we agreed to initiate certain changes to the government and state administration structure but we do not wish to rush anything,” Karamarko wrote.
He added that these were serious matters requiring a thorough debate and analysis. “While that is going on, the state cannot stop functioning and that is why we have to appoint office-holders as soon as possible, keeping in mind depoliticisation and professionalism,” he said.