Croatian Ruling Party Triumphs in Elections, Tough Negotiations Ahead

World |Author: Diana Kavardzhikova | April 18, 2024, Thursday // 14:00|  views

In a widely expected outcome, Croatia's ruling conservative party, the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), emerged victorious in the parliamentary elections. However, as forecasted by pre-election polls, the HDZ falls short of securing enough seats in the Assembly to form a government independently, setting the stage for challenging negotiations with populist factions.

In the 2020 elections, HDZ clinched 66 seats out of 151, sustaining its political dominance with the support of smaller parties aligned with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković. With 90% of votes counted in the latest elections, HDZ is projected to secure 60 seats, necessitating intricate negotiations to establish a governing coalition. The second-place finisher, the leftist pro-Russian coalition led by populist president Zoran Milanović's "Rivers of Justice," secured 42 seats, followed by the far-right anti-immigrant "Rodina" Movement with 14 seats.

Analysts speculate that HDZ may seek the support of the "Rodina" Movement to form a government. Other notable parties securing seats include an ultra-conservative and a green party, with 11 and 10 seats respectively.

Prime Minister Plenković expressed contentment with HDZ's electoral success and pledged to commence coalition talks promptly. Conversely, the leader of the "Social Democrats," Peda Grbin, expressed disappointment with their performance but affirmed the electorate's desire for change.

Despite voter turnout reaching 60%, a notable increase from 2020, the election campaign was marked by acrimonious exchanges between Plenković and Milanović. The campaign landscape shifted dramatically when Milanović, a popular figure, announced his candidacy for the Social Democrats. Despite legal constraints prohibiting sitting presidents from participating in elections, Milanović actively engaged in campaign rallies.

Plenković highlighted his administration's achievements, including Croatia's accession to Schengen and the Eurozone in 2023, while criticizing Milanović's pro-Russian stance and allegations of NATO involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

In contrast, Milanović focused on corruption allegations within the government, which led to numerous ministerial resignations in recent years. Protests erupted in February and March following Plenković's controversial appointment of a magistrate with close ties to HDZ as chief prosecutor.

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Tags: Croatia, elections, HDZ, negotiations


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