The newly-elected parliamentary deputies of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) met at the party's headquarters in Zagreb on Friday and signed a document pledging their support to SDP leader Zoran Milanovic as prime minister-designate.

The SDP-led coalition for now does not have the necessary 76 seats in the 151-seat parliament, but they are confident that they will have far more signatures than their rivals from the coalition led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ).

The SDP's Croatia Is Growing coalition won 56 seats in the November 8 parliamentary election and the HDZ-led Patriotic Coalition captured 59. The Most (Bridge) party emerged as the third strongest political group with 19 seats, becoming an unavoidable factor in forming the new government.

"We have gathered our signatures and are certain that we will have far more signatures than any other party. We consider ourselves the winners of this election and expect our coalition to be awarded the mandate in the coming days, after talks that will be held," SDP Presidency member Ranko Ostojic told the press after a brief meeting.

Ostojic would not reveal how many signatures the SDP coalition had at the moment. "The number is irrelevant, we have enough at this point. As for Most, we don't want to single out any individuals. So, we don't have enough signatures at the moment, but we certainly have more than the HDZ," he said, stressing that the Bridge party should be invited in its entirety, and not just some of its members.

Asked if anyone had asked SDP leader Zoran Milanovic to explain his meeting with Drago Prgomet, who was expelled from Bridge after that meeting, Ostojic said: "Mr Prgomet said it all." Pressed further to say whether Milanovic thus reduced the chances of the SDP forming the government, he said: "Ask the prime minister."

Reporters also wanted to know whether the SDP was willing to cede the post of prime minister to Bridge, to which Ostojic said that the party today gathered signatures for Milanovic as prime minister-designate. "At this point we think this is the basis for negotiations. We should continue talks."

Ostojic did not say when the next round of talks with Bridge would take place. "There's no need to talk about this. I think it's very important that we will have the necessary number of signatures to be awarded the mandate to form the government."

Ostojic said that the HDZ was "less than the relative election winner." "We have not just 56 seats, not just three seats from the Istrian Democratic Party and those from the Independent Democratic Serb Party. Figures are very clear here. The SDP will certainly have a lot more signatures than the HDZ will be able to gather."

Related stories

HDZ will wait for Bridge to consolidate to resume talks

SDP collecting signatures to dissolve parliament

Bridge leader Prgomet meets SDP chief Milanovic

HDZ refutes media reports on meeting with Prgomet

HDZ official expects resumption of talks with MOST next week

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.