Opposition walks out of parliament ahead of vote on amendments to budget

NEWS 25.11.2020 12:00
Source: Patrik Macek/PIXSELL

Opposition MPs walked out of the assembly on Wednesday ahead of the vote on amendments to the 2021 budget, in protest against the ruling majority's refusal to take part in the debates on the main amendments proposed by the opposition. Instead, they gave statements to the press in front of the Parliament building.

“The remark makes no sense, and the fact that the opposition MPs left proves that they do not care about the implementation of a budget that ensures economic progress and support to businessmen and citizens in the fight against the pandemic,”  MP Branko Bacic from the ruling HDZ party, was quoted by state agency Hina.

Of the 331 amendments that had been put forward, the government accepted just a few, none of which were essential, which shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation in which the country is, said Pedja Grbin of the opposition SDP.

He criticised the government for rejecting all opposition amendments without a meaningful explanation during this health and economic crisis, which he described as the biggest peacetime crisis since World War II.

We need to overcome the crisis by talking and cooperating, and not by using brute force resulting from the number of hands in the parliament, Grbin said, announcing that SDP MPs will not take part in the vote.

Miroslav Skoro (Homeland Movement) announced the same.

By rejecting nearly all opposition amendments you have shown that you are the smartest, you understand why it is not necessary to invest in infrastructure or increase child’s allowance, said Bozo Petrov (Bridge), adding that the ruling majority only used its knowledge for its own benefit.

Hrvoje Zekanovic (Sovereignists) accused the government of “hypocritical behaviour.”

When the coronavirus crisis started, a consensus was sought on the law on the national Covid-19 response team. We endorsed it, and although we could have taken part in managing the crisis through the creation of the budget, we were not allowed to do so, the MP said.

We do not want to take part in this circus, in the vote on the amendments, said Tomislav Tomasevic of the green-left bloc.

“For a day and a half, during the debate on our amendments, no MPs of the ruling majority were present, and now we will not be present for the vote. You have decided to do everything your own way, without a dialogue with the opposition,” Tomasevic said and left the Sabor with other opposition MPs.

I understand the opposition’s anger, but the budget is realistic, said Dario Hrebak of the ruling majority’s HSLS/Reformists.

After the opposition left, the parliament continued voting on the amendments the government had rejected.