Milijan Brkic and Tomislav Culjak, the secretary-general and the political secretary of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, on Monday would not comment on a statement by Omis Mayor and member of the Bridge party Ivan Kovacic that his cooperation with the HDZ on the national level was over following the election of Ivan Skaricic as head of the HDZ branch in that coastal town.

"I am not aware of that information," and "I have not read the statement, when I read it I will comment on it," Brkic and Culjak told reporters when asked to comment on Kovacic's statement that the HDZ could no longer count on his support.

Kovacic's statement, which is a new twist in the turbulent relationship between the HDZ and its Patriotic Coalition and its partner in the government, the Bridge party, was carried today by the Slobodna Dalmacija daily.

"Those who are incapable of carrying out reforms in their own ranks are most certainly incapable of carrying out reforms that would benefit the society's well-being. As far as I'm concerned, further cooperation with the HDZ at the national level is hereby over and is no longer possible, they cannot count on my support in the parliament or any other body, and Bridge will address the public on the matter in a few days," Kovacic said.

The statement came after the HDZ branch in Omis elected Kovacic's old political rival Ivan Skaricic, a former head of that branch, to once again lead the party branch in Omis.

Slobodna Dalmacija says Kovacic is disappointed by politics both on the local and national levels because he believes that Skaricic's re-election is a clear sign as to which way the HDZ plans to go.

HDZ vice-president Damir Jelic would not comment on Kovacic's statement either, referring reporters to party spokesman Ivan Jabuka.

"When Mr Jabuka arranges a statement for the press with you, we will gladly make a comment, perhaps I might too," Jelic told reporters.

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