The foreign minister and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party's secretary for international affairs, Miro Kovac, said on Monday he would not run for the party's leadership.
"Given the atmosphere in the party and in the public at large, my candidacy would lead to polarisation in the HDZ. I don't want that, I have no right to do that. The party's interests come before my own personal ambitions. I am not going to run for leadership and I want us to use this time to prepare for the parliamentary election," Kovac told reporters outside HDZ headquarters where the party's Presidency was in session.
He said that the HDZ must win the parliamentary election and called on his supporters to focus their enthusiasm on achieving that goal. "That's the most important thing and I will devote myself to it."
Asked if he supported MEP Andrej Plenkovic's leadership bid, Kovac said: "I am asking all my friends, who have supported me and encouraged me to run for leadership, to focus on the parliamentary election because we must win now. If there is only one candidate, we will support that one candidate. That's the most important thing."
The HDZ Presidency was meeting on Monday as part of preparations for the forthcoming party and parliamentary elections.