Croatia's President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic on Thursday held consultations with ethnic Italian MP Furio Radin and ethnic Serb deputy Milorad Pupovac on the appointment of a Prime Minister-Designate, and after the talks Radin recalled that ethnic minorities' deputies were unanimous in their support of Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Zoran Milanovic as the Prime Minister-Designate.
"The minorities are unanimous. Seven deputies of ethnic minorities share the position on preliminary support to Zoran Milanovic as the PM-Designate," Radin said.
Radin said that after Milanovic's appointment as the PM-Designate, ethnic minorities' MPs would draw up separate agreements on a post-election coalition, and after that they would give their signatures.
The minorities have eight seats in the 151-seat legislature. Asked by reporters why ethnic Albanian MP Ermina Lekaj Prljaskaj had not joined them on Wednesday, when the seven minority MPs signed statements of support for Milanovic, Radi said that by doing so she had made it clear indirectly that she did not share their opinion and that she had not yet opted (for anyone).
Asked about scenarios in the event that Milanovic failed to form a government, the ethnic Italian MP said that a snap election would be the worst solution.
After the consultations, Pupovac, a deputy of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS) and the party's vice-president, refuted allegations about internal conflicts in the party in light of the fact that another SDSS deputy, Mirko Raskovic, had requested separate talks with Grabar-Kitarovic.
Pupovac also told the press that in the first round of consultations the SDSS supported Milanovic, warning that some parties had exerted pressure on the SDSS over its political options, however, he did not specify who had exerted pressure.
As for Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Tomislav Karamarko's criticism that ethnic minorities' legislators should not make a choice (about the PM designate) at such an early stage, Pupovac said that he had informed President Grabar-Kitarovic that pressure, threats and attempts to restrict the mandate of elected deputies of ethnic minorities were in contravention of the Constitution and the best political practice which Croatia had so far applied.
He recalled that in 2003 and 2011 , the SDSS had opted for the HDZ as the governing party and that nobody had made them do so.
Pupovac wondered why his mandate, supported by 15,000 votes, should be less valuable than a mandate of an SDP or an HDZ deputy won with 300 ballots.
After the consultations with Grabar-Kitarovic, SDSS deputy Raskovic said he had asked for separate talks due to pressure exerted on him from his own party.
"I am being asked to do what is contrary to my conscience," Raskovic said.
He said that he had not given his signature in support of Milanovic and the SDP-led coalition "Croatia is Growing".