The Social Democratic Party (SDP) Presidency on Saturday evening adopted a decision on the proposal by the Bridge reformist party to sign an agreement on a tripartite government that would be headed by a non-party prime minister or a candidate nominated by Bridge, SDP vice-president Zlatko Komadina told the press without giving details of the decision.
After the Presidency meeting, SDP leader Zoran Milanovic and his associates went to meet with the leaders of Bridge and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Bozo Petrov and Tomislav Karamarko respectively.
Karamarko soon walked out of the meeting saying that under a decision of the Presidency of his party he could not sign the conditions made by Bridge. "I cannot do it," Karamarko said as he was leaving Bridge's headquarters.
Karamarko said that it was difficult for his coalition to sign an agreement with those responsible for "the impoverishment of Croatia over the last four years."
Karamarko told Hina that he could not put "a blank signature" on such a poorly defined document. "It all boils down to the distribution of spoils and positions, even in public companies."
He reiterated that he could not cooperate with a party that "has been destroying Croatia for four years, negating the values on which the Croatian state is founded, saying that war veterans stink and introducing Cyrillic alphabet in Vukovar."
"I am happy because it is a weight off my chest. These have been gruelling negotiations and in the end they boiled down to positions. We don't need any positions, we want to be able to walk in the street with our heads held high," Karamarko said.
Bridge leader Bozo Petrov said before the meeting he did not know whether the name of the next prime minister would be known this evening because that did not depend on his party. He said that the focus of the meeting would be on what the two coalitions had decided over the last week and only after his party received clear answers to their proposal would he be able to say what would happen next.
"We will see about that," Petrov said when asked if he would accept the post of prime minister if the two coalitions agreed to it.
Bridge's Ivan Lovrinovic said that it would become clear this evening whether the HDZ and the SDP were serious in saying in recent days that they were ready for a tripartite government, a non-party prime minister or a prime minister from Bridge. "If they agree to this, we will sort out everything else very quickly," he said, adding that he supported Petrov as the next prime minister.
Milanovic and Karamarko did not speak to the press before the meeting.
The Bridge party on Saturday made public the preliminary agreement it had offered to the two coalitions for the formation of a new parliament and government. Under the proposal, the tripartite government would be headed by a neutral person chosen by consensus or a representative of Bridge.
The government would consist of representatives of the coalitions led by the HDZ and the SDP and non-party experts, all appointed by consensus. Candidates for all offices in government and parliament would also be nominated by consensus.