Croatian PM Plenkovic Discusses Coalition Talks, Excludes SDSS and Možemo!

Croatia's election sees conservative HDZ win most seats, but fall short of majority. Far-right Homeland Movement emerges as potential kingmaker, raising concerns over the country's future direction.

Trim Correspondents
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Croatian PM Plenkovic Discusses Coalition Talks, Excludes SDSS and Možemo!

Croatian PM Plenkovic Discusses Coalition Talks, Excludes SDSS and Možemo!

Following the snap parliamentary election in Croatia on Wednesday, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic of the conservative HDZ party has begun negotiations to form a new governing coalition. While the HDZ won the most seats with 61 mandates, they fell short of the 76 needed for an outright majority in the 151-seat parliament.

Plenkovic said the HDZ will announce a coalition partner "very soon" as talks continue. He invited all political parties, except the main opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP), to discussions on forming a government. The SDP came in second place with 42 seats, a poorer result than expected.

The far-right Homeland Movement emerged as a potential kingmaker, taking third place with 14 seats. However, the party's leader Ivan Penava has pledged not to join any government that includes the Serb minority party SDSS or the leftist green Možemo! party. Penava stated that a coalition with Možemo! is a "mission impossible."

According to the Croatian Constitution, a majority of 76 signatures is needed to constitute the parliament and begin the process of forming a new government. If the mandate holder fails to secure a majority within 30 days, the mandate can be extended for another 30 days. If that also fails, new elections will be called.

The HDZ has dominated Croatian politics since the country's independence, but many citizens feel dissatisfied with corruption scandals and economic hardship. The election campaign was marked by rivalry between Plenkovic and President Zoran Milanovic, who disagree on issues like the conflict in Ukraine and relations with the EU.

Stjepo Bartulica, a reelected MP from the Homeland Movement, expects coalition talks with HDZ to begin next week, as his party's support is necessary for a new majority. The Homeland Movement has specific demands, including less government interference in the economy and more sovereigntist policies in the EU, opposing the "green agenda" and "gender ideology."

Why this matters: The outcome of Croatia's post-election negotiations could influence the country's stance on key issues such as the conflict in Ukraine and relations with the European Union. The rise of the far-right Homeland Movement as a potential kingmaker suggests a shift towards more conservative and nationalist policies in Croatian politics.

As negotiations continue, Plenkovic has touted the HDZ's achievements in securing Croatia's entry into the Schengen area and the Eurozone, while denying allegations of authoritarianism and corruption. Other opposition parties, including the Bridge party and the Croatian Sovereignists, have ruled out working with the HDZ. Analysts anticipate a fragmented parliament and potentially prolonged coalition talks, with the possibility of an unstable minority government.

Key Takeaways

  • HDZ party won most seats but fell short of majority, coalition talks underway
  • Far-right Homeland Movement emerged as potential kingmaker, with specific demands
  • SDP came in second, poorer result than expected; other parties ruled out HDZ coalition
  • Outcome could impact Croatia's stance on Ukraine conflict and EU relations
  • Fragmented parliament and prolonged coalition talks may lead to unstable minority government