Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) deputy chief Milijan Brkic said after a session of the party leadership on Tuesday that with a new leader the HDZ would prevent the return to power of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and that his favourite for the new party leader would be the person to be elected by HDZ members to secure new election victories.

He confirmed that Tomislav Karamarko had informed the HDZ Presidency of his irrevocable resignation as party leader.

"The HDZ is turning a new page, and Karamarko, as an honest and moral man, has introduced a new standard on the Croatian political scene," Brkic said after a session of the party's most senior leaders.

He thanked Karamarko for his work and the HDZ's electoral victories over the past four years.

Karamarko has resigned because the HDZ did not manage to regroup the parliamentary majority, even though it had won five elections, he said.

"Some were losing over the past five years and they will probably resign when their leader dies. We know who operates that way," Brkic stressed.

He said that Karamarko was not the only one responsible for the failure to gather a new parliamentary majority and that all party officials, including those in the party Presidency, the Main Committee and the National Council, bore their share of responsibility.

However, the party must function and it cannot self-disband, Brkic added.

Karamarko will stay a member of the HDZ Main Committee, he said, stressing that the way the party had once behaved towards its former leaders was a matter of the past.

Brkic also said that party elections would be conducted within a month and that the HDZ's Presidency and National Council would hold a session on Thursday to decide on election methods.

Answering a reporter's question, Brkic would not specify if he would support Andrej Plenkovic as a candidate for the new HDZ chief, stressing that party bodies would soon make decisions on how to conduct party elections.

Brkic said his favourite for the new HDZ leader would be the person to be elected by HDZ members to secure new election victories and prevent the SDP from returning to power.

"Rest assured that we will succeed," he stressed.

He also believes that the HDZ will overcome the current situation and become stronger and more united than before.

He also said that the HDZ was a right-of-centre party and had its ideological and world-view platform and would not let anyone determine its course.

Those who are saying that the HDZ should become a party of the centre should be making such decisions for their own parties or editorial boards, he said.

The HDZ members will decide which part of the political spectrum the party will claim, Brkic added.

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