21:49 / 19.02.2022.

Author: Katja Miličić

Opposition accuses PM of pressuring judiciary and demand snap election

Opposition MPs react to arrest

Opposition MPs react to arrest

Foto: Slavko Midzor/Patrik Macek / PIXSELL

The arrest of Construction Minister Darko Horvat has created a political storm for the government of Andrej Plenković. 

The opposition is accusing the Prime Minister of an unprecedented attack on the judiciary, following his remarks at a press conference on Saturday in which he demanded to know why prosecutors had acted with “such urgency” in this investigation and questioned the timing of the arrest.

Opposition MPs called for a snap election as the hammered the HDZ over its corruption track-record. SDP leader Peđa Grbin said the party had “slipped back into old habits” and castigated Plenković for the comments he made at the presser.

"A sitting member of the government has been arrested for actions that occurred while he was in office and Plenković is only bothered by the fact that this has interrupted the good week he was having and someone has ruined his Saturday morning. That's not democracy. That's something else. That’s the beginning of autocracy," said Grbin.

Most MP Marija Selak Raspudić said the current government was unfit to lead the country at a time when it faced so many challenges.

"The situation is very serious. We are in the midst of an energy crisis and facing inflationary pressures. When the entire government is under such serious investigations, there is only one solution. We demand new elections,” she said.

Sandra Benčić from the leftist bloc We Can! party said Plenković’s government may not have collapsed yet but it had definitely failed.

"In a country facing so many challenges - post-earthquake reconstruction, the pandemic, inflation, and economic restructuring - we cannot have a government in which every week another member comes under criminal investigation,” said Benčić.

Igor Peternel of the Homeland Movement said Plenković’s said the PM should know better than to meddle in matters concerning the judiciary.

"What really hit me today is Prime Minister Plenković's disregard for the rule of law and its basic tenets when he asked about the timing of this investigation and said state prosecutors were too hasty. He did not grasp the fact that he, as the PM, should absolutely not chime in about when prosecutors should act on a case or meddle in such matters. Moreover, he should not admit this in a press conference,” said Peternel.

Lawmakers were scheduled to debate a motion to recall Minister Horvat over his handling of post-earthquake reconstruction this Wednesday. Horvat stepped down as construction minister on Saturday evening at his own request.

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