Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) deputy chief Milijan Brkic said on Thursday before sessions of the HDZ's Presidency and National Council at which a decision on the way of electing the new party president was to be made, that the post would be filled by the best person in the party who would prevent "the SDP (Social Democratic Party) from returning to power," adding that the way of electing that person would be decided by a majority.

"The decision has not yet been made, the majority will decide," Brkic told the press.

According to unofficial information provided by Vecernji List daily, the most senior members of the party presidency decided this morning that the new HDZ chief would be elected on 17 July following the principle one member-one vote.

Asked if Andrej Plenkovic, who earlier this week said he was prepared to run for HDZ president, could be a worthy opponent to SDP chief Zoran Milanovic, Brkic said anyone else could do it as well.

Darko Milinovic said that Ante Sanader, Nediljko Dujic, Bozidar Kalmeta and he -- the winners of the elections over the past 20 years -- today unanimously decided on behalf of Constituency No. 9 that the new party president should be elected following the principle one member-one vote and that intra-party elections should be held either on July 10 or 17.

Milinovic declined to say whether or not he would run for HDZ president.

He called on 200,000 party members not to allow anyone to impose a party president on them.

"Let the president be the person who in the past 20 years lived and breathed the HDZ and who bled for the HDZ in the past period," he said. He was vague about whether or not Plenkovic was his choice for new HDZ chief, saying only that Plenkovic had the characteristics necessary for HDZ president, because, among other things, he was a diplomat and polyglot.

Zlatko Hasenbegovic said he would support the candidate whose programme would include, apart from other important issues, a proposal to rename Zagreb's Marshal Tito Square.

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