Social Democratic Party (SDP) president Zoran Milanovic said on Tuesday the party did not yet decide which position to take on the Croatian Democratic Union's (HDZ) motion for a no-confidence vote in Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, seeing it as a "trick by the HDZ to save (its leader) Tomislav Karamarko," and called for dissolving parliament and calling an election as soon as possible.
Milanovic told the press the only sensible decision was to dissolve parliament and call a new election, in September at the latest, although he said it should take place as early as mid-July.
He recalled that before the HDZ's motion for a no-confidence vote in Oreskovic, the SDP filed a motion for a no-confidence vote in Karamarko as the First Deputy Prime Minister. He said he believed that the HDZ was asking for Oreskovic's dismissal only to avoid the Karamarko vote.
Asked if the SDP might back a prime minister whose government it criticised, Milanovic said this was purely a tactical matter. "This is a procedural, technical matter in which we won't fall for the tricks whereby the HDZ is trying to save Karamarko." He reiterated that the goal was an early parliamentary election and that the parties which wanted to participate would be "a tactical partner" to the SDP.
Milanovic said the SDP was not in touch with the parties of the ruling majority. "We'd like it to be possible but it's not. The best thing to do would be to dissolve this which is unjustifiably called parliament and to go the polls in mid-July to end what some are calling agony and we call an embarrassment, a sheer disgrace."
Asked what he expected of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in this situation, Milanovic said she should support the calling of an early election. "She probably sees that 70 percent of citizens expect the election to be held as soon as possible."
The deadline for lawmakers to take a vote of no-confidence in Karamarko expires on 18 June. This motion has been initiated by the SDP and supported by the ruling coalition's Bridge party.
If parliament takes a vote of no confidence in Oreskovic before 18 June, the entire government will be toppled, making the no-confidence vote in Karamarko pointless.
In that scenario, a new majority should be regrouped in parliament and a new PM designate sought. If no new premier is appointed within 30 days after that, the president has to dissolve the current legislature and call an early parliamentary election.