Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Tomislav Karamarko on Monday declined to say whether or not his party had secured 76 votes in the 151-seat parliament which is necessary to make up a new majority without the Bridge party, stressing however that elections were the last thing the HDZ wanted.

Asked if his party had ensured the support of 76 lawmakers, which is necessary to impeach Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and appoint Zdravko Maric new prime minister designate, Karamarko told the press that a snap election was the last thing he and the HDZ wanted. When asked again, Karamarko declined to say if his party had the necessary 76 votes, adding that he did not want to "undermine some jobs well done."

He said early elections were a great loss of time, money and energy. "Croatia doesn't have time for these political games, for this political folklore which isn't good," he said.

Asked when the public can expect a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Oreskovic, Karamarko said this depended on the parliament speaker (Zeljko Reiner of the HDZ) and that they would agree on it.  Karamarko said he did not know what Oreskovic had referred to when he said that he would defend himself in parliament from lies and set-ups.

He admitted that "all kinds of turns of events are still possible" and that some more decisions should be made, adding however, that the HDZ would try to resolve the situation as soon as possible and reduce tensions.

Asked if the incumbent Finance Minister, Zdravko Maric, was his choice for the position of PM designate and whether the fact that he did not have electoral legitimacy would be a burden for Maric, just like it was for Oreskovic, Karamarko said that at this moment they were looking for a person with the best qualities, adding that in his opinion Maric was a good candidate because he was familiar with Croatia's political situation.

The HDZ presidency is scheduled to convene this afternoon while a meeting of the HDZ leaders and members of the Patriotic coalition are, according to unofficial information, expected to meet at 1500 hrs Tuesday.

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