miro kovač.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and its Patriotic Coalition, which scored a relative victory in Sunday's parliamentary election, but insufficient to form a new government, said on Monday that it had contacted the Bridge party and that they would discuss post-election cooperation very soon.

After the State Election Commission released the results, "we saw that the HDZ and its coalition won the highest number of seats, from which we conclude that the HDZ won the election. In order to form the government, we will launch talks with the parties elected to the Croatian Parliament," the HDZ's international affairs secretary, Miro Kovac, told reporters after a party leadership meeting.

Asked if they were willing to give Bridge the prime minister's position, Kovac said they were not dealing with positions at the moment and that during the formation of the Patriotic Coalition they had not discussed positions in the executive authority.

He said people wanted a quality platform and that the HDZ-led coalition had it and was willing to discuss and adapt it to Bridge.

Asked if the coalition was counting on minority representatives, Kovac said they counted on everyone who wanted fundamental changes. Asked if the coalition was willing to accept the whole Bridge platform if the party demanded it in exchange for joining the HDZ coalition, he said negotiations meant consensus and unity.

A reporter noted that Bozo Petrov, one of the Bridge leaders, had said several times that Bridge would not enter any coalitions. Kovac said he could not speak on Bridge's behalf. "We've heard from Bridge's president and representatives that they want quality, consensus and unity, which includes talks, negotiations, adapting from either side."

Asked if the fact that one of the Bridge leaders, Drago Prgomet, had been ousted from the HDZ was a problem, Kovac said Prgomet had been the party's vice president. "He's now one of the Bridge leaders. We know him, he knows us. That's even an advantage in this situation."

He said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic would task the election winner with forming the new government. "We are convinced that, as the relative winners, we will very soon have a majority of Croatian MPs behind us, warranting the status of prime minister designate for the HDZ, the Patriotic Coalition and the partners we will have on our side."

Kovac said that aside from Bridge, the Patriotic Coalition would also talk with other political parties soon. "The goal must be the quality and stability of the new government."

He said the HDZ was currently not thinking about forming a grand coalition with the Social Democratic Party in case it failed to form the government with other parties.

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