tomislav karamarko.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ / lsd

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko said on Tuesday that he would be the prime minister-designate and Zeljko Reiner would be the party's candidate for parliament speaker.

Speaking to the press after a meeting of the HDZ Presidency, when asked if he would be the prime minister-designate, Karamarko said: "Yes, I will be the prime minister-designate." He added that Zeljko Reiner would be the party's candidate for the post of parliament speaker.

"Reiner absolutely deserved to be nominated and he deserves the respect of the other parties as well," Karamarko said, adding that he did not want to answer hypothetical questions such as what would happen if the reformist Bridge party proposed its own candidate.

Karamarko denied claims by Bridge leader Bozo Petrov that the HDZ had exerted pressure on Bridge. "The HDZ did not exert any pressure. That, I think, is what bothered Bridge about the SDP and they've said it publicly. I think this is a political, tactical and diplomatic balancing act, but the truth is that the HDZ did not exert any pressure," he stressed.

Karamarko reiterated that he had told his people to respect Bridge's unity, adding that they now expected the negotiations with Bridge to be finalised.

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