Bozo Petrov, the leader of MOST ("Bridge"), an alliance of independent slates that emerged third in Croatia's parliamentary elections on 8 November, said n Sunday that Croatians "must not be kept hostage by someone's positions" and that he continued to believie that it would be possible to form a joint reform government comprising the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Bridge.

The HDZ and its Patriotic Coalition won 59 seats in the 151-seat parliament, while the SDP and its partners in the Croatia is Growing coalition won 56 seats, according to the State Election Commission's provisional reports. In the parliamentary elections on November 8, Bridge won 19 seats and without it neither the SDP-led coalition nor the HDZ-led coalition can form a parliamentary majority.

"If all of us agree on what should be done, then I can't see any problem in forming a reform government even if its term will be only two years," Petrov told a news conference he held after Bridge leadership and elected deputies convened in Zagreb to discuss the course of negotiations both with the SDP and the HDZ on a post-election coalition.

"I hope that if eventually  the HDZ and the SDP prove that they care for reforms, they will accept the idea we have offered: a joint government that will finally carry out true reforms, having in mind the fact that true and in-depth reforms need the support of a two third majority (of MPs), given that this would require the amending of the Constitution," Petrov said.

Asked who would fill in the position of Prime Minister, Petrov said he would like to see all the three sides harmonise their views on that matter, and that he would prefer experts as ministers. He said that he had not received any response in writing from the HDZ or the SDP about that.

Petrov expects the negotiaitons with the said two party blocs to take one more week, and after that "other political talks will ensue". He hopes that this process will be finalised in two or three weeks' time.

Asked whether the conservative world views which majority of Bridge members seem to foster may be a criterion in the final decision on the future partner of Bridge, Petrov said that Bridge members and activists could not be divided along that line.

Political decisions would not be made based on that, he said explaining that Bridge members did not treat ideologies as a bone of contention.

"We are united by the idea of the economic programme."

He boasted that all decisions by the Bridge national council were made unanimously.

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