Former President Stjepan Mesic, commenting on the government crisis on Sunday, says that an early election is the only good solution for Croatia because the country does not have a government, and that First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko should step down if he means well for his party.

"It is difficult to predict how things will unfold, but it is quite clear that there is a crisis. There are several possible scenarios: a new election, which I think is the only right solution, and a possible reshuffle, which cannot be a long-term solution," Mesic said in a popular Croatian Television (HTV) current affairs talk show.

"The crisis has taken on such proportions that we can call Croatia one big non-government organisation because we have no government," he said.

Asked whether it would be wise for First Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Karamarko to resign, because in that case his HDZ party would most probably stay in power, Mesic said that Karamarko "is evidently morally and politically responsible and should step down if he means well for his party."

"I think that in a political sense (Karamarko) is a dead man walking, but he is not aware of it yet," Mesic said, adding that "he should have known what his wife was doing."

"When he was proposing that Croatia should not go to arbitration with the Hungarians (over the INA oil company), he ignored the fact that his wife was lobbying for the people who were demanding the same," Mesic said.

The government crisis broke out after the Zagreb-based political weekly Nacional revealed that Karamarko's wife had been in a business relationship with a lobbyist for the Hungarian oil and gas group MOL. This prompted the strongest opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) to seek a vote of no confidence in the First Deputy Prime Minister and the proposal was backed by the Bridge party, a junior partner in the ruling coalition. The vote is to take place by June 18.

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