Commenting on Friday's Hungarian first-instance sentence against Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Cacic for a traffic accident with two fatalities, opposition officials Jadranka Kosor and Dragutin Lesar said Cacic should resign, while Josip Leko of the ruling coalition said Cacic and his party should first state their opinion.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Leko of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) told reporters that courts and their decisions should be respected regardless of the European country they were in.
He said the first to take a position on the political consequences of the sentence should be Cacic, his Croatian People's Party and then probably the government. "Everything else is just guesswork."
Kosor (Croatian Democratic Union) said non-final sentences should not be commented on, but that there was a political element in this case because Cacic was first deputy PM.
She said that she sympathised with Cacic and the family of the two victims who died in the accident but that as a politician and a member of the government, Cacic should resign, and that if he did not, the PM should relieve him of duty.
Kosor said the Cacic case had been a big millstone around the government's neck and that PM Zoran Milanovic must now think about the best interest of Croatia, the government and Cacic, otherwise his future political decisions would be questioned.
Lesar (Labour Party) said he could comment on the sentence only in the context of the political responsibility of a state official. "He was found guilty. I want to believe that the bar which the prime minister set so high in the case of former minister Mirela Holy won't be lowered now."
He said the Hungarian judiciary had realised that Croatia's first deputy PM was irreplaceable. Asked what he meant, Lesar recalled Cacic's statement that he would withdraw from politics only if convicted to an unconditional prison sentence.
Commenting on Milanovic's statement that he would make a decision upon the final sentence, Lesar said "Milanovic will no longer be prime minister when that sentence becomes final."