The candidate for the leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party, Andrej Plenkovic, said on Friday that the HDZ was now the only Christian Democratic party in Croatia after the Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) decided to run in the early election in a coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
"The HSS Main Committee made this decision primarily for mathematical reasons, taking account of the ranking of its candidates on election slates. I think that political partnerships should be viewed in the long term and strategically, based on programmes and world-views," Plenkovic said in response to questions from the press after presenting his election programme for HDZ leadership.
He said that given the HSS's decision, the HDZ was now the only true people's and Christian Democratic party in the country, expressing confidence that voters would recognise that.
Plenkovic expressed his regret over that decision, saying that the HSS had been pressed for time. He added that he would rather that the HSS had waited for the HDZ to consolidate itself after the forthcoming intra-party election.
Plenkovic said that there was excellent cooperation between many HSS members and the HDZ throughout the country and that all HDZ members of the European Parliament had excellent cooperation with HSS MEP Marijana Petir.
"Ms Petir sits three metres away from me in the European Parliament, while the SDP's Tonino Picula sits about 70 metres away, which clearly shows where the HSS belongs in terms of its world-view and programme," Plenkovic said.