The parliamentary group of the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) on Thursday afternoon started collecting signatures of MPs to dissolve parliament, with SDP parliamentarian Ranko Ostojic saying the goal was to collect a majority, at least 76, to force the speaker to put the item on the agenda.

Ostojic said the signatures would be collected for a short time and that the SDP, unless it collected at least 76 signatures, would drop the initiative. "We believe this is the best we can do at the moment. We will invite not just the opposition, not just our coalition, but all those responsible MPs who believe that this is the way out of this agony and disgrace."

He would not say how many signatures the SDP group had. "We have collected enough signatures at the very start which should mean that this is serious."

The Croatian Labour Party has already put into procedure a motion for dissolving parliament, but Ostojic said they were on the same list as the SDP and that he expected other MPs to join them. "We think the agony should be ended by returning the mandate to citizens."

Ostojic said it was important for the parliament speaker to understand, when presented with 76 signatures, that he had the duty to honour that. He said that despite the Standing Orders, "such an initiative certainly can't remain aside."

He said the SDP was not gloating because of the government crisis, which has improved the party's rating in opinion polls. "We are calling for a new election and returning the mandate to citizens, because this disgrace should be stopped."

Ostojic said he did not believe Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) secretary-general Domagoj Milosevic's claim that the HDZ had a new parliamentary majority.

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