Junior coalition partners demand meeting over leaked e-mails

NEWS 11.05.2018 09:19
Source: N1

The fallout after the publication of Economy Minister Martina Dalic's private e-mail correspondence with owners of brokerage firms, lawyers and consultants who had helped draft the bill on state-appointed emergency management, dubbed Lex Agrokor, continued on Thursday.

After the leader of the largest opposition party, the Social Democrats (SDP), Davor Bernardic, had called for a criminal investigation into the case, junior partners in the ruling coalition led by Dalic’s centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) issued a demand for an urgent meeting of coalition members on Thursday.

“After these e-mails… it is absolutely clear that urgent talks within the ruling coalition are necessary, and it is absolutely clear that the ruling coalition cannot and should not carry the burden of something that is not and should not be its burden,” leader of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), Milorad Pupovac, told Jutarnji List daily.

Pupovac is one of three MPs elected to represent the ethnic Serb minority in Parliament, and is aligned with the ruling HDZ-led coalition, which also includes the liberal Croatian People’s Party (HNS), the Croatian Social Liberal Party (HSLS), and other MPs representing ethnic minorities.

“On the other hand, agreeing the debt settlement (with Agrokor’s creditors) cannot be put in jeopardy by the way some of the legal provisions were made (for the company) to come out of its crisis. What is positive cannot be further contaminated by what is negative,” he said, referring to the debt crisis in the food and retail group Agrokor, and a settlement deal with its creditors.

The controversial law, which had been passed in April last year, allowed the government to appoint emergency managers in the privately-owned indebted food and retail group Agrokor, the biggest private company in Croatia which at the time employed some 60,000 people across the region.

The settlement, which must be negotiated by the state-appointed crisis management and the company’s creditors by July 10, will include a debt-for-equity deal, and is considered essential for the orderly restructuring of the indebted company.

Italian ethnic minority MP, Furio Radin, said that he too has demanded a coalition meeting because of the recent developments concerning Dalic.

HNS unofficially said that “if the e-mails are authentic, the authorities must react, and Martina Dalic has to resign,” news agency Hina reported.

Leader of HSLS, Darinko Kosor, told Jutarnji List daily he expected an “urgent investigation” to be launched by the state prosecutor, to look into everyone involved in drawing up Lex Agrokor.

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic was asked for comment on coalition members’ concerns, and briefly replied that “we’re going to have a meeting, and everything will be fine.”

Plenkovic had defended Dalic on Thursday, saying that there was “nothing illegal in Dalic’s e-mails.”

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