Photograph: vlada.gov.hr

The Prime Minister in the Croatian caretaker government and Social Democrat leader Zoran Milanovic said on Friday that he would propose the Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov for the next premier, and that if this proposal was not accepted, a non-partisan technocrat should be nominated for this position.

"Petrov has some legitimacy, not a lot, but he has legitimacy, and he is our candidate," said Milanovic in Brussels, where he was attending an EU summit.

However, we must sit at the table and discuss it, this is the only viable option in these unusual and "somewhat agonising" developments, Milanovic said.

Currently, yet another round of talks is being held in Zagreb between the Bridge party, that emerged third in the November 8 parliamentary election, which has resulted in a hung parliament, and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and its Patriotic Coalition, that won 59 seats, and the SDP and its Croatia is Growing coalition, which secured 56 seats in the 151-seat eighth legislature. Bridge won 19 seats, but in the meantime this was reduced to 15 seats, with four elected deputies having left the kingmaker party.

Milanovic said that his bloc had made it clear that they were ready for talks.

"If (the current talks) fail, let's see what the fourth option looks like, the option of selecting a candidate without any legitimacy, which is important in implementing policies and in the executive authority," Milanovic said, after claiming earlier that he and HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko had the most legitimacy for being the PM-designate, given that their respective coalitions finished the election as the two first blocs.

Asked by the press why he had not proposed a non-partisan expert for the position of MP under this fourth option, Milanovic said that he would first like to hear from others what they could propose.

Asked which characteristics the future premier should have, Milanovic answered, "He (she) should be better than I."

Milanovic said that he would not join the negotiations under way on Friday between Bridge and the coalitions led by the HDZ and the SDP. He explained that parties' officials were attending the negotiations.

Petrov said on Thursday that this round of the talks would last by Sunday evening at the latest. The nominee for the prime minister-designate will be known on Tuesday, or Croatia will have a new election, Petrov said on Thursday when announcing the latest round of the talks.

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