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Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

Bridge spokesman Nikola Grmoja said on Sunday that this reformist party would support Zeljko Reiner, the candidate nominated by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), for the parliament speaker whose appointment is to be confirmed during the inaugural meeting of the new, eight legislature on Monday.

By supporting Reiner's nomination, "we will continue the process of forming the government and our cooperation with the (HDZ-led) Patriotic Coalition. The cooperation will last as long as reforms are being carried out. We will leave the entire story, if reforms fail to happen," the Bridge spokesman said.

Grmoja believes that the cooperation with the HDZ would be safer for his party in light of the fact that the HDZ needs more Bridge elected deputies to preserve a majority in the parliament than the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led coalition.

"The HDZ needs more deputies from our slates (than the SDP), and this is probably why they have been to date fairer in our relations," Grmoja said.

He said that Bridge representatives would continue "to be on guard " and to play the role of corrective mechanism.

We will be a safeguard for the implementation of the prepared reforms and we will also work on "prevention of any criminal and dishonest activities which had happened in the past 20 years during the rule of the two major parties (HDZ and SDP), the Bridge spokesman said.

"We continue to be open for cooperation in the parliament with all political parties in the implementation of reforms, including the (SDP-led) Croatia Is Growing coalition," he added criticising the SDP for reported attempts to persuade some of the Bridge elected deputies to switch sides.

Croatia's new, eighth parliament is scheduled to hold its inaugural meeting at noon Monday, after this past Wednesday President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic nominated a non-partisan candidate Tihomir Oreskovic as the Prime Minister-Designate and on that occasion she convened the first session of the new 151-seat legislature for 28 December.

This will be the second attempt of the inaugural session after the first attempt failed on 3 December, when the only one candidate for the parliament speaker, Robert Podolnjak, did not accede to be the speaker as he had not been given cross-party support while Bridge, Podolnjak's slate, had insisted on agreement of all major parties and bloc in the Sabor.

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