The nongovernmental association GONG on Wednesday slammed the Tusek-Simunic scandal as an attempt of political barter, which the NGO sees as corruption among politicians, warning that this is a case of deliberately undermining the will of voters for the sake of partisan interests.
“Politicians who promote themselves as independent candidates in electioneering and then later cross the floor to the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) are deceivers who betray their voters,” GONG said commenting on an attempt by HDZ MP Zarko Tusek to buy off independent Oroslavje city councillor Viktor Simunic.
GONG is also concerned with a statement by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, who tried to downplay political corruption and influence peddling while trying to defend his party colleague when he said that a “grave mistake was made that should not have occurred,” which, GONG believes, in fact downplays the seriousness of this criminal act.
Following the latest case, GONG says in its press release that the Office for Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK) should be adamant in the struggle against corruption. The NGO calls on prosecutorial authorities not to avoid launching proceedings in suspected graft cases.
On the other hand, another top state official — President Zoran Milanovic — said earlier on Wednesday that he did not see any grounds for criminal responsibility in that case.
Commenting on the incident in which MP Tusek offered Simunic cooperation for the local election in the form of financing his electioneering in exchange for his support for HDZ, President Zoran Milanovic said that he did not see any grounds for criminal responsibility in that case.
The case could not be equated with a crime, the president said, asking: “What is post offering if not a coalition agreement?”
“No, that wasn’t influence peddling. That is anticipated influence peddling pro futuro in the sense of creating some form of coalition. It is good for the public to see what sort of method political parties use, what they offer and what intentions they have,” said Milanovic.