Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Tomislav Karamarko said on Tuesday he would be the First Deputy Prime Minister in the new government and that Social Democratic Party president Zoran Milanovic's statement that the Bridge party had opted to form a parliamentary majority "with a pro-Ustasha organisation" was rude, describing him as a man who has lost every battle he could have over the past four years.

Karamarko told reporters he did not know how many ministries the HDZ would run in the new government, announcing that talks on that would begin on Monday. "The important thing is that the government is reformist and expert... regardless of which party it belongs to or if it belongs to any party."

He said the number of ministries had not yet been discussed with the Bridge party." Quality is essential because Croatia has no time to lose with poor personnel, so, whoever proposes good people is welcome."

Karamarko said they were in contact with Prime Minister-Designate Tihomir Oreskovic every day and that he would have full support because "he's an expert in the most necessary segment at the moment - finance and the economy and enterprise."

Asked to what extent the promise that MPs' salaries would be cut would be met, Karamarko reiterated that it referred to a 25-30 percent salary cut for officials and MPs. "It's time to show at a symbolic level that we all need to save and carry the burden of the moment and try to come out of this bad situation, and I think we will because I'm an optimist."

Asked if everything would be agreed in the 30-day deadline President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic gave Oreskovic to form the government, Karamarko said it had to be. "We'll work busily and well." Asked if he was counting on a 30-day extension of the deadline, he said that everything had to be solved within three weeks.

Commenting on Milanovic's statement that the Bridge party had opted to form a parliamentary majority "with a pro-Ustasha organisation," Karamarko said it was rude and had no place in political speech and dialogue.

"He's a man who has lost every battle he could lose over the past four years. One should know how to lose and be fair in defeat. What he would like most is to change the people. It's necessary to change oneself and I would like him to successfully change himself because Croatia needs both the left and the right wing. We would like a real, patriotic Croatian social democracy."

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