nikola grmoja.jpg
Photograph: HINA / Jure DIVIĆ / mm

The spokesman for the Bridge (MOST) reformist party, Nikola Grmoja, commented on Tuesday on Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko's statement that he would be the prime minister-designate and that senior HDZ official Zeljko Reiner would be the party's candidate for parliament speaker, saying that if this was unacceptable to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), it was also unacceptable to Bridge because Bridge insisted on a reformist government that would include all three parties.

"If that is unacceptable to the SDP, it is also unacceptable to us because we want a reformist government that will include all three sides. We have made our position clear, so that is out of the question for us. Should the SDP accept Reiner, then it's fine. We are in favour of a consensus," Grmoja told Hina.

Asked on what basis Karamarko had made his statement, Grmoja said: "I don't know. Maybe he has won over SDP deputies. I cannot comment on that because I don't know based on what number of deputies he is making such a statement. He is not basing it on our deputies."

Asked what would happen if both the SDP and the HDZ turned down the proposal for a reformist government, Grmoja said that Bridge would invite them to a meeting and see who would come. He could not say when the meeting could be held.

Bridge is currently analysing the responses the SDP and the HDZ have submitted to Bridge's reform demands on which it makes its support to the new government conditional. The Bridge National Council is expected to meet on Wednesday to agree on steps to be taken next.

Even though he would not specify offers Bridge deputies have been receiving lately from both the left and the right political camp, Grmoja said that all were trying to get them to talks.

"The SDP needs fewer deputies and is trying to break Bridge up, while the HDZ needs the 'whole package' and is opting for talks with individual members (of Bridge) to have them persuade the whole Bridge to support the HDZ... If the HDZ were in a different situation, they, too, would probably try to break Bridge up. The situation determines their strategy. It's not like 'the SDP guys are bad and those from the HDZ are nice and good'," Grmoja said.

He is confident that attempts to break Bridge up have failed and that both the SDP and the HDZ have realised that they need to negotiate.

Asked if Bridge was considering a new election if no agreement was reached with the SDP and the HDZ, Grmoja said that Bridge was not afraid of new elections but did not want them either.

"Current opinion polls show that Bridge has more than 35 seats. New elections don't suit either the HDZ or the SDP and it is up to them to overcome their mutual animosity and sit at the table so that we can form a reformist government," Grmoja told Hina.

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