zoran milanović.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

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."

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