A former member of the National Council of the reformist Bridge (MOST) party, Drago Prgomet, said on Sunday that his association Hrid, with which he participated in the November 8 parliamentary election as part of the Bridge platform, would continue operating as a political party and that it would hold its founding session on Monday.

The Hrid party will continue to operate as part of the Bridge political platform and Bridge will enjoy its absolute support as long as it advocates reforms such as those of public administration, the country's territorial organisation and higher education, said Prgomet.

Asked if his supporters who stayed in Bridge would cross over to his new party, he said that they would make their own decisions about their political work.

He would not say if he still supported Bridge leader Bozo Petrov as prime minister designate, saying only that the political party Hrid would make a decision on it at a meeting that would not be held behind closed doors.

Prgomet also commented on a letter he sent earlier in the day to his former colleagues in Bridge, warning them about "the crucial influence of the people in the (Bridge) National Council", a body he said was expected to have a solely advisory role.

Prgomet said that the National Council was "a non-statutory body, without a president and rules of procedure and with members who do not want the public to know who they are."

He said that a decision on which coalition Bridge would form a government with and what kind of government would be formed could be made only by independent deputies elected on Bridge slates in line with the principle "one member, one vote", and not by members of the Bridge National Council, who were not elected members of Parliament.

"Citizens voted for elected MPs to decide on their behalf what the government will be like, what its policies will be like and with whom coalitions will be formed, rather than letting people about whose existence the 19 Bridge MPs were mostly unaware until recently decide it," said Prgomet, calling on members of the National Council to come forward and present themselves to the Croatian public and explain on what elections they based their legitimacy and on the basis of what agreements they made their decisions.

"They have the duty to do so because modern, democratic societies are not run by underhand methods. Most of those people were indisputably founders of HRAST, GROZD and other similar organisations. That is legitimate and everyone has the right to express their political views. But in that case, one should show at least minimum respect and say that that is the political foundation of the Bridge coalition of independent slates and citizens would know who they were voting for," Prgomet says in his letter to Bridge members.

Asked who the people who was talking about were and whether he was referring to Ladislav Turcinovic and Nikola Grmoja, Prgomet did not answer. He only said that he feared Petrov could become a victim of manipulation.

"Petrov is a young man who is honest and I regret that he was manipulated when I was expelled. I believe that he will not be manipulated in the much more important events that are ahead of him, when a decision will be made on who to form a coalition with and what kind of a government will be formed."

He also would not say which of the Bridge members had invited him to the meeting of the Bridge coalition earlier in the day, considering the fact that the invitation was later denied.

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