Grmoja claims: PM lunged at me. Government: No, he wanted to ask him something



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The Sabor session yesterday was stormy. After furious Defense Minister Damir Krstičević threw a model airplane in the Sabor, it appears that Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, who is usually composed, lost his temper for the first time. In the afternoon, conflict arose between Plenković and MOST MP Nikola Grmoja.

The conflict arose during the discussion on the report on European Council meetings when Grmoja questioned the work of Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejčinović Burić, accusing her of working for Serbia. This provoked Plenković and, during the break, verbal altercation broke out between Grmoja and Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)'s Josip Borić, who asked MOST MP Ines Strenja Linić, who was critical of the Government, what she did for Croatia.

Serbian interests

This angered Grmoja, who told Borić 'My colleague served in the war, while you and your anemics have not seen war'.

Plenković, who was at the moment leaving the Sabor, turned around and started approaching Grmoja, repeating: 'What did you just say? What did you just say?'.

That is when MPs Milorad Pupovac and Miro Bulj stepped between Plenković and Grmoja, with MP Gordan Maras allegedly standing up and calling on them to calm down.

That is when Grmoja left the Sabor.

-I did not accuse PM Plenković. He initiated physical altercation because I asked a question about Minister Pejčinović Burić's work, who is violating the decision of former Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković's Government on the Commission that is to monitor implementation of measures from chapters 23 and 24, over which former prisoners of war are raising lawsuits - said Grmoja. He added that he asked what she was doing to protect Serbia's interests and whether she will get Serbia's support for becoming Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

-This question apparently provoked the PM and the Minister. He told me I was pathetic and I called for sanctions. Speaker of Sabor did not react and I said again that the moves Croatia is making are in Serbia's interest. A break followed over rising tensions in the Sabor because HDZ members reacted angrily. That is when Josip Borić told Ines Strenja Linić: 'What have you done for Croatia?' I said "what did you do, since my colleague served in the war, while you and your anemics have not seen war". That is when Plenković started his physical altercation with me. Several colleagues jumped in, I stepped away, and Bulj and Pupovac barely managed to stop him. He initiated physical altercation, he started moving towards me and they barely managed to stop him. I do not know whether he would have punched me, but he was trying to reach me - said Grmoja.

The Government reported last night that the PM was not looking for physical altercation with Grmoja or was upset with Grmoja saying he was anemic. The Government claims that the PM wanted to ask Grmoja who he was referring to when he said that they were protecting Serbia's interests.

Hateful messages

After the break, MPs commented on the incident in the Sabor.

-We are on the brink of interpersonal conflicts spilling out of the Sabor, we are on the verge of having hateful messages that we direct at each other in so-called discussions spill over to the streets - said Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) president Milorad Pupovac.

GLAS president Anka Mrak-Taritaš said that the incident was unacceptable.

-This is the Sabor's first working day of 2019 and we are succumbing to our lowest urges. They started physically attacking each other - said Mrak-Taritaš. Živi zid MP Branimir Bunjac said the incident presents twilight of democracy in the Sabor and shows how primitive the ruling majority is - destroying presents and acting like spoiled brats, attacking MPs of the opposition.

-We are sending an inappropriate message to the public about behavior in the Sabor. I am afraid this will create a spiral of hatred in the society that will spill over to the streets and we will witness violence - said HDZ's Branko Bačić.