Ivan Vrdoljak, leader of the Croatian People's Party, the junior partner in the HDZ-led coalition government, said on Monday that he would not run for party president in early party elections to be held before the next parliamentary election.
"It is time for young people who have proven themselves in the EU election and who have scored excellent results. We have managed to promote relatively anonymous national politicians with good results at the local level," Vrdoljak said in an interview with Nova TV.
He said that he could not say if party elections would be held by the end of this year or in 2020, but noted that they would be held before the next parliamentary election.
Asked if he considered Medjimurje County head Matija Posavec the most likely candidate for his successor at the HNS's helm, Vrdoljak said that Posavec had told the party presidency that he was ready to submit his candidacy for HNS president.
"He has definitely scored an excellent result in the EU election," he said.
Asked if Posavec's election would mean that the HNS was turning away from the HDZ since Posavec had strongly opposed the HDZ-HNS coalition at the time when it was negotiated, Vrdoljak said that Posavec's election would confirm what the HNS had been insisting on for the last two years - "Neither left nor right, just straight forward with new people, new policies and results."
"... the new parliament will make new decisions and new policies. Those who can guarantee... the implementation of the many reforms that Croatia still needs and that can take us forward, will be the HNS's partners," he said.