A meeting of partners making up Croatia's coalition government was held on Wednesday, with most of the parties assuring reporters that the ruling majority was still stable.
The centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) political secretary, Lovro Kuscevic, said that the coalition was stable and that he did not see any reason for concern.
"We have a stable majority in Parliament, that's important for the government to continue with projects that have been launched and that are yet to be launched. I believe the majority will stay stable until the next regular parliamentary election," said Kuscevic.
He added, though, that the HDZ was also prepared for possible early elections, should they happen anyway.
"The HDZ is a serious party, and does not allow surprises, we are ready to continue our term until its end but we always have plan A, plan B, and a plan C. We would not be unprepared for (an early) election, and I am confident that our election result would be even better," said Kuscevic.
Asked if he expected support from Darko Milinovic, a prominent member of the party and the currently serving Lika-Senj County head who was expelled from HDZ on Monday, Kuscevic said that he expected Milinovic to continue serving as the county head and "to support all good projects that the government is implementing."
Milinovic, currently serving as Lika-Senj County head, won a seat in parliament on HDZ slate in September 2016. However, after his victory in last year's local election, he opted for the position of county prefect, leaving his MP seat to a replacement deputy. However, in the event that he reactivates his term as a member of parliament, he could no longer serve as county head.
Milinovic was expelled after provoking an open conflict with national party leadership by bringing hundreds of his supporters to the HDZ headquarters in Zagreb last week to insist on local party elections to be held. Now that he has been formally expelled from the party, the media speculate whether him returning to Parliament to take back his seat could jeopardise the wafer thin ruling majority of 77 MPs in a 151-seat parliament.
Ivan Vrdoljak, the leader of the liberal Croatian People's Party (HNS), which is a junior partner in the coalition government, said that there was no need for an early election and that the HNS would not be the one to cause them.
The HNS is nonetheless prepared for such a scenario, it has recently set up an election team and is discussing candidates to run in different constituencies, he said.
"We are doing our job, but we will not provoke early elections," said Vrdoljak.
The leader of the liberal Reformist party, Radimir Cacic, told reporters that they were wrong to count the members of parliament who support the government, and should be counting those who do not support it.
"An entire range of MPs who do not make up the ruling coalition, or MPs like us, who support individual government projects, have voted for the government whenever it was necessary, and that's how it will continue to be," said Cacic, who is the head of Varazdin County.
The leader of the regional HDSSB party, Branimir Glavas, said briefly that the parliament majority was just as strong today as it had been before the summer recess.
The leader of the conservative Croatian Christian Democratic Party (HDS), Branko Hrg, said that it would be good to "beef up the parliamentary majority" but he would not speculate on how that could be done.
Boris Milosevic, an MP from the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), gave yet another cryptic response by saying that "there will be elections - and when they would be held remains to be seen."
Asked if he was implying that the ruling majority would fall apart, Milosevic said that he was not "implying anything" but just wanted to say that "elections may be held tomorrow or in two years' time."