The leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Tomislav Karamarko, said on Thursday that his Patriotic Coalition had arrived at consultations with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic with "a very high number of credible signatures", without specifying how many.

"We are close to a very large number of signatures. It all depends on Bridge and they will decide the outcome. I believe that our positions are close and that our reform views are close," Karamarko said, noting that his party had been talking about reforms for the past three years.

"We have already elaborated, through implementing documents, a number of things for which reforms are demanded," the HDZ leader said, adding that he believed the talks with Bridge would be finalised in about ten days because every day of delay aggravated the situation in the country.

"We must have a strong government with finished programmes and we have them. The economic aspect is very important as is the security aspect," said Karamarko. 

He reiterated that his coalition was the relative winner of the elections, expressing hope that Bridge would differentiate between his coalition, which had ready programmes, and "those who have been destroying the national economy for the past four years."

Asked again how many signatures of support for him as prime minister-designate his coalition had, Karamarko said that they would have enough signatures and that they would not even need the signatures of all elected Bridge MPs.

"We hope to reach agreement with them and that they will be homogenous as much as possible, but that would be a surplus. With them, we will have many more votes than the required 76," said the HDZ chief.

Asked to comment on reports that the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) was pressuring its member Mirko Rasovic into supporting Social Democrat leader Zoran Milanovic as prime minister-designate, Karamarko said that it was not good.

"The eight deputies of the ethnic minorities should represent the interests of their minorities and not act as a political party," he said.

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