The Croatian People’s Party (HNS) whip, Milorad Batinić on Tuesday said that the HNS was more than a fair coalition partner to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) despite the ultimatum it set with regard to replacing Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević, who stepped down on Monday evening, assessing Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s move as “correct and statesmanlike.”
Asked whether HNS expects Plenković’s retaliation seeing that with its publicly announced ultimatum they put him in an awkward position, Batinić said that more information about that would be provided after a meeting between coalition partners.
“That’s a matter for coalition partners, coalition talks and we will discuss everything at the coalition meeting,” he added.
He dismissed interpretations that HNS acted unfairly because it sent its message that Kuščević has to go through the media and now they are saying they will discuss it in the meeting of the coalition.
“You have totally distorted your arguments. Coalition talks have been continuing over the past four weeks. No one can deny anyone their right to their opinion regardless of the dispute in question,” he told reporters.
He underscored that the HNS caucus was united. He added that he believes the prime minister will not oust the HNS from the government and that Plenković made a “correct and statesmanlike move.”
Considering that the HNS in its press release mentioned Kuščević’s criminal responsibility, Batinić said that they expect the relevant institutions to do their job.
“We pointed out the political responsibility and that was the main thing and now it is up to state institutions to assess whether there were any criminal wrongdoings and to handle that,” he added.
Asked whether the HNS was perhaps aiming for a broader government reshuffle, Batinić said that there is certainly room for improvement and that in the last year of term in government, those minister who perhaps have not kept up with HNS ministers, will pick up and we can catch up to what we advocated when we entered into the coalition.”
Asked whether ministers Grabrijela Žalac and Goran Maric should remain in government, Batinić reiterated, “that will be discussed at coalition meetings in addition to other matters that are discussed.”