The Croatian People's Party (HNS), a junior partner in the ruling coalition, will launch an initiative together with constitutional and legal experts proposing that the President of the Republic should be elected by parliament in the future, and hence it will not support any of the candidates in the forthcoming presidential election, HNS leader Ivan Vrdoljak said on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the party's main committee, Vrdoljak said that the HNS would call on its membership and sympathisers to go to the polls and vote "according to their conscience, neither extremely left nor extremely right."
He said he was confident that the party's membership would be guided by liberal values and the fight for an open and tolerant society and would vote for candidates that would lead the country forward while excluding populists and extremists.
Vrdoljak said that the HNS leadership had concluded three weeks ago that none of the present presidential candidates would articulate liberal, tolerant and open policies. He said that the HNS gave priority to party and parliamentary elections, adding that it was against increasing presidential powers and that the election of the President of the Republic by parliament would be a mark of democratic progress.
The party's main committee also decided that it was necessary to further strengthen parliamentary democracy as one of the basic pillars of the Croatian political system, rather than strengthening the presidential system.