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Photograph: HINA/ Denis CERIĆ /dc

After Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic said in a letter to the Bridge party on Wednesday that he was ready to discuss the possibility of Bridge leader Bozo Petrov being nominated prime minister-designate, Bridge's spokesman Nikola Grmoja said in the evening that Milanovic should state by Friday who he was ready to cooperate with because he did not make that clear in his letter.

He should say by Friday, when we begin talks with the Patriotic Coalition, which people and parties are unacceptable and who he is ready to cooperate with, because that is not clear from the letter, Grmoja told public broadcaster HRT.

In a statement to commercial broadcaster RTL, Grmoja said that Bridge would request that the SDP's Main Committee state its opinion of Milanovic's proposal because its conclusions were opposite to what Milanovic wrote today.

"We welcome Mr Milanovic's letter today in which he agreed to our condition for a non-party prime minister. We want them to say clearly by Friday, when we begin negotiations with the Patriotic Coalition, whether they want to participate in government with Bridge and the Patriotic Coalition, so that we can form a tripartite government which we have been advocating from the start," Grmoja said, reiterating that a non-partisan prime minister was the best solution.

"We will ask the SDP's Main Committee to state its opinion of his offer, because it has adopted conclusions that are opposite to what Mr Milanovic wrote today. The HDZ's response was tentatively favourable, while the SDP refused us with the blessing of its Main Committee, so now they should at least copy the HDZ's answers so that we can continue talks," Grmoja said.

"I think that Prime Minister Milanovic today put the brakes on and sent an encouraging letter. We hope that they will declare their position by Friday and that we will form a tripartite government," he added.

Milanovic sent an open letter to Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, calling for further talks and stressing that he was ready to discuss Bridge leader Bozo Petrov as the next prime minister.

The SDP's Main Committee, at its meeting on Saturday, unanimously dismissed the possibility of a tripartite alliance with the HDZ and Bridge as untenable and once again supported the party's leader Zoran Milanovic as prime minister-designate. Milanovic said after the meeting that that did not mean they had rejected Bridge, but the HDZ.

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