božo petrov.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Damir SENČAR /ds

Bridge party leader Bozo Petrov will be one of the deputy prime ministers, Bridge member of Parliament Juro Martinovic said in a Croatian Radio programme on Thursday, while Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Branko Hrg said the Patriotic Coalition would nominate the parliament speaker.

On Wednesday, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic entrusted businessman Tihomir Oreskovic with the mandate to form a government following an agreement between Bridge and the Patriotic Coalition, led by the Croatian Democratic Union, to propose Oreskovic for prime minister-designate. 

Hrg, whose party is a member of the Patriotic Coalition, would not say who the candidate for parliament speaker was, explaining that the process of post-election negotiations had been too open to the public. Asked about the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Patriotic Coalition and Bridge, he said it would happen "in the days ahead."

Each government sector will have to be agreed between Bridge, the Patriotic Coalition and the prime minister, but competence will come first, said Martinovic.

By January 11, we should have first indications as to the reduction of the number of ministries. Japan has six ministries and we have 20. The plan is to cut the number of ministries by five at least, as well as to reduce the large number of agencies. We will propose candidates (for government posts) and the prime minister-designate will select them, Hrg said.

Asked about possible changes to the Government Act, Hrg said Bridge and the Patriotic Coalition should be given some time to make decisions regarding the functioning of the state. Croatia is not functioning at all and it will not be possible to make decisions in two days, positions will have to be agreed, which is why the prime minister-designate has called on the opposition to cooperate, said Hrg.

Nansi Tireli, leader of the Labour Party, a member of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)-led Croatia Is Growing coalition, said the government's programme should be analysed first. She recalled that many successful business people had reduced costs by laying off workers, to make profit. If that's the philosophy, it will be difficult in the parliament because there are people who will protect citizens' rights, she said.

Martinovic responded by saying that Bridge was a group of socially aware people, while Hrg said the country lacked investments and jobs and that once they were created, workers' rights would be enhanced.

Union leader Kresimir Sever, who participated in the programme, said this kind of nomination of the prime minister-designate was something new and that he expected him not to forget that Croatia was a social state and that people came before figures.

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