SDP initiative to amend constitution stumbles at first step

12. July 2013.

The ruling Social Democratic Party's (SDP) initiative to amend the constitution to remove the statute of limitations on politically motivated killings did not receive the necessary support by the parliamentary constitution committee.

The committee did not manage to agree to have the matter even put on the agenda with 5 members voting for and five against. The committee's chairman SDP MP Pedja Grbin said that this did not mean that the matter had been rejected altogether and that it would be put on the agenda for the next committee meeting.

Only SDP MPs actually voted to discuss the issue while MPs of all other parties including the SDP's junior coalition party the Croatian People's Party (HNS) were against.

MPs from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) objected that the question was being introduced at the end of the Sabor's sitting and that the committee had only advised committee members of convening the meeting late on Thursday night.

HDZ MP Vladimir Seks explained that the usual practise for amendments to the constitution was that the all MPs were first notified of the proposed amendment, opinions were then determined in parliamentary groups followed by consultations between parties and only then was the matter referred to the parliamentary committee for the constitution.

He is convinced that the SDP is just buying time before the European Commission (EC) in order to show that Croatia is apparently dealing with the matter by embarking on constitutional amendments so as not to pressurise for the withdrawal of the law dubbed Lex Perkovic.

Other MPs agreed that the SDP was now frantically trying to repair the damage done before the EC after several ambassadors had sent a clear message that an official dispute existed over the law.