Croatian President Zoran Milanović announced he will not be attending the inaugural session of Parliament to take place on Wednesday.
According to media reports, Milanović claims the reason lies solely in his understanding of the role and status of the Croatian Parliament.
“The reason why I will not be present at the session lies solely in my understanding of the role and status of the Croatian Parliament – its independence from the President. That is all. This is at the same time both affirmative and well-intended towards the Sabor”, Milanović wrote in a Facebook post.
He added that he had read comments saying that all his predecessors had attended such sessions and that this would be the first time a President would not be present.
“Tuđman attended and firmly controlled the work of the Sabor, often outside his (otherwise great) constitutional powers. Presidents Mesić, Josipović, and Grabar-Kitarović attended for their own reasons; I am not going to go into them here, but I believe they meant well. My view is different”, the Croatian President said.
“I have been elected by the will of the citizens to the office of the President, which is largely (but not exclusively) ceremonial. I am not going to automatically repeat everything that someone did or did not do before me”, Milanović said and added: “This is just the beginning. There will be more changes”.
“Finally, a big kiss to all haters. The biggest kiss to the false analysts who all have their petty business arrangements with the government. They have been faithfully following me for a decade and a half”, he concluded.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković described this decision as “very unusual”.
“I know one thing is for sure; the Parliament will be inaugurated. It’s very unusual from what I’ve seen in the media. We have not talked about it. It was news to me”, Plenković commented.
He recalled that everyone who had been invited had attended Milanović’s inauguration. “We received an invitation and we attended because we respect the Croatian institutions, the state symbols. That was the logic behind our decision. I can’t see why he doesn’t want to do it, you should ask him”.
Plenković refrained from stating whether this was a case of disrespect and derogation of the office of the president. “Very unusual. It’s no reason for us to bicker via the media”, he added. /ibna