Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader and First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko on Saturday accused the HDZ's partner in the government, Bridge, of trying to topple the incumbent government together with the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) and of trying to return Zoran Milanovic to power, noting that he would not allow any party panels of judges to decide about his or the HDZ's destiny.

Submitting a report at his party's electoral convention, Karamarko said that the HDZ had been recording victories for four years and had restored its status as the strongest political party and returned to power.

"In doing so we had to overcome the negative legacy of the past four years and attempts, in the media and through other ways, to sow dissension in the party. For four years attempts have been made to sow dissension in the party, such attempts, possibly the fiercest so far, have been made in recent weeks, but just as they were futile before, they will fail now too, because those who set ultimatums, pass ideological verdicts without any evidence, negate democratic procedures while hiding behind false puritanism, who want disorder and a non-functioning state, cannot succeed, it won't happen," said Karamarko, whose words received approval by the attending party delegates.

"Behind the masks that are falling there is no substance, there is no wish for growth, no wish for real changes, only base politicking, which is keeping the country hostage because how else can we call constant obstruction of any idea that could pull Croatia forward or guarantee the inflow of fresh capital, kick-start development and help create new jobs?" said Karamarko.

The HDZ chief said his party had and still has understanding for Bridge. "We believed the lack of orientation was a result of political inexperience, as something that would soon pass, but Croatia has no time to wait, no time for meaningless political games, no time for another failure, for yet another election. It needs a firm and resolute government that will protect and promote national interests. Croatia needs a strong HDZ and we will not back down from that," he said.

"I will not allow the lie that I personally or the party as a whole did something that is against the law and national interests. Cooperation is always about compromise and agreement. Ultimatums are not cooperation. It is base blackmail that I will never allow. It would be a betrayal of you and all those who gave us the mandate in the elections to run the country," said the HDZ president.

"I answer to you, tens of thousands who gave me the mandate again to run the HDZ, I will never betray you. The homeland and the interests of our nation come first for me...  I will never allow anyone to humiliate us, regardless of what part of the political spectrum they may come from. I am not afraid of lies or false accusations, the truth is only one and rest assured that it is on our side. I will defend it because you gave me the mandate to do it," said Karamarko, telling party delegates that the HDZ's strength lay in its unity.

"You need not worry, we definitely will not allow the SDP and Bridge to succeed in their plan to topple this government, a government that has launched a number of reforms which they are jeopardising because of their inexperience and lack of resolve. We will not allow them to topple the government and bring Zoran Milanovic back to power," the HDZ chief stressed in his address.

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