Tomislav Čuljak (L), Željko Reiner (C) i Tihomir Dujmović (D.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR/ ds

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) political secretary Tomislav Culjak said on Friday afternoon that this party expected the negotiations on a new government with "Bridge", an alliance of independent slates, to continue after Sunday.

"After Sunday, we hope," Culjak told reporters outside the HDZ main offices when asked when the talks on a government coalition would resume.

On Friday morning, HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko said that his party would wait for the consolidation of Bridge, before resuming negotiations on the make-up of the new government.

HDZ Secretary-General Milijan Brkic told reporters outside the HDZ main offices in the morning that he could understand the media interest, but that for the time being he could not say anything more until "things are concreticised". "We have a systematic approach, and we will go public when we have something concrete," Brkic said while entering the main offices, where HDZ senior officials gathered for a meeting.

Croatian People's Party (HNS) vice-president Ivan Vrdoljak said on Friday that, according to his information, a new meeting between the SDP-led Croatia Is Growing coalition and the Bridge party had been scheduled for Tuesday.

"Most likely over the next seven or ten days it will be clear whether the meeting between Zoran Milanovic and Drago Prgomet has reduced our chances (of forming the government)," Vrdoljak told the press when asked about the consequences of a recent secret meeting between Social Democratic Party leader and Prime Minister Milanovic and Prgoment, who was thrown out of the Bridge party after that.

"Despite that, the centre-left coalition will gather enough signatures to form the new government," the HNS official added.

On the other hand, SDP vice-president Milanka Opacic was not specific about the date of the next meeting with Bridge, saying that they were waiting for Bridge to let them know when the meeting would take place.

The Bridge party leadership is to hold a meeting on Saturday.

The HDZ and its Patriotic Coalition won 59 seats in the 151-seat parliament, while the SDP and its partners in the Croatia is Growing coalition won 56 seats, according to the State Election Commission's provisional reports. In the parliamentary elections on November 8, Bridge won 19 seats and without it neither the SDP-led coalition nor the HDZ-led coalition can form a parliamentary majority.

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