Ruling coalition partners fear Zagreb Mayor Bandić's people becoming part of Government

Autor:

30.10.2018.

Zagreb, 240518.
Cirilometodska ulica.
Pocetak 12. sjednice skupstine grada Zagreba.
Na fotografiji: Milan Bandic.
Foto: Damjan Tadic / CROPIX
Damjan Tadic / HANZA MEDIA

Milan Bandić

Return of HRK 260 that the Finance Ministry owes Zagreb was discussed today. Reshuffle - HDZ's partners do not want him in the executive branch, while his associates claim that is not his plan.

Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandić does not want any positions in the Government, State-owned companies or State institutions. By growing his caucus he wants to add to stability of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's Government. On the other hand, he expects the State to support infrastructural projects in Zagreb as well as tax breaks for local government units. Comments of Social-Liberal Party (HSLS) and People's Party (HNS) heads on growth of his caucus only show the parties are nervous due to their poor rating and fear that they will disappear from Croatia's political scene next year at EP elections.

That is how several close associates of Bandić see the comments of HSLS president Darinko Kosor and HNS president Ivan Vrdoljak, who have recently announced leaving the Government is Bandić enters.

Vrdoljak called on relevant authorities to investigate whether there was foul play in transfer of some HNS members to the Party of Labor and Solidarity, while Kosor clearly said in an interview with JUTARNJI LIST yesterday that he would leave the ruling coalition if Bandić enters the Government.

Deal

Bandić reacted to Kosor's warning yesterday, stressing that HSLS head is "an excellent leader."

-Perhaps we were thinking about participating in the Government, but considering his threat, we are seriously thinking about not participating at all and I think we will opt for that. I cancelled the caucus meeting slated for tonight after the report was released, it discouraged me. Kosor is too important in the coalition for me to play around - noted Bandić ironically yesterday.

His close associates revealed that his communication with Plenković has intensified recently and asserted that they did not discuss the possibility of Bandić entering the Government.

We know that the Zagreb City Assembly will discuss the settlement with the State today, where the Finance Ministry has to return HRK 260 million to Zagreb City budget, which is result of negotiations of Zagreb City officials and Government representatives. Besides that, they will talk about possible tax cuts for local government units with Finance Minister, while Bandić's party should soon present its model of curricular reform. At the same time, Bandić is calling for fast reaction of all relevant institutions with regard to financing of projects in Zagreb with EU funds.

-Bandić would not be recruiting if he was not up to something. These things are on the menu and negotiations are afoot, free of blackmail. However, it is clear that the caucus is expanded in preparation for 2020 and parliamentary elections - our sources revealed. Still, Bandić's party talked yesterday mostly about comments of Kosor and Vrdoljak.

Nervous

Plenković recently said that Bandić did not demand or offer anything, which is true. Unlike his partners from the HNS and the HSLS. The HNS has 4 MPs and received two ministries, DPM and positions in State-owned companies. The HSLS, or Darinko Kosor, received the HRT and a position in the National Bank (HNB) - noted Bandić's party colleagues. As for statements of Vrdoljak and the HNS, Party of Labor and Solidarity reminded about events from June 2016.

- The HNS entered the Sabor thanks to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and then betrayed the SDP to join forces with the HDZ. The party took in the Rijeka City Assembly member who entered the Assembly as an independent candidate and is now part of the HNS. Perhaps Vrdoljak was thinking about that when he called on relevant institutions to investigate takeover of MPs - noted sources from Bandić's party. Milan Bandić announced holding a press conference on the situation in the Sabor at end of November, with many of his party colleagues interpreting this as announcement of "additional reinforcements." They are convinced that this makes some smaller partners of the HDZ nervous.

Only on paper

- We are in the streets all the time, especially in the Zagreb area, and it is expected that citizens recognize this. That is why they are leaving the HNS and the HSLS, since the parties exist only on paper. In that situation, with EP elections drawing near, they become nervous. Perhaps problems bring the HSLS and the HNS together and the two parties decide to join forces at elections - predicted Bandić's associates.

Talks with Finance Minister on possible tax changes that will affect local government units will take place soon

"HNS has 4 MPs and got two ministries as well as positions in State-owned companies. We have ten MPs and are not demanding anything"