Croatia's Focus Party Rejects Coalition with HDZ, Seeks Majority Without Them

Croatia's ruling HDZ party won the recent election but failed to secure a majority, leading to complex coalition talks. The far-right Homeland Movement and the Focus party's reform demands add uncertainty to the country's political future.

Trim Correspondents
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Croatia's Focus Party Rejects Coalition with HDZ, Seeks Majority Without Them

Croatia's Focus Party Rejects Coalition with HDZ, Seeks Majority Without Them

Croatia's Focus party, which emerged victorious in the most recent parliamentary election but fell short of gaining a majority that they would not form a majority coalition with the long-standing government HDZ party. Focus, however, indicated that it would be willing to form a parliamentary majority in the absence of HDZ in order to carry out the points of state regulation that had been agreed upon, such as purging the voter list, altering the electoral system, removing Lex AP, and dismissing Turudić in the wake of fresh democratic elections.

The HDZ party, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, won 61 seats in the 151-seat parliament, requiring them to form a coalition government to stay in power. The main opposition, the center-left Social Democratic Party, secured 42 seats, while the far-right Homeland Movement came in third with 14 seats. Plenković has faced accusations of corruption as Croatia struggles with high inflation, labor shortages, and migration.

The far-right Homeland Movement party's decisive role in coalition talks has become apparent, as HDZ has ruled out working with the main opposition SDP. Homeland has pledged not to join either bloc but will consider options, with its main condition being not to join a government that would include the Serb minority party SDSS. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic of HDZ has invited all political parties that were not "exclusive" for talks on forming a government, appearing to refer to the SDP.

Why this matters: The election was seen as a test of popularity for the conservatives before the European Parliament election in June. If the HDZ stays in power, Croatia would continue its pro-Western course in supporting Ukraine, in contrast with the potential for stronger pro-Russia influence under President Zoran Milanović's government.

Focus party's announcement has added another layer of complexity to the coalition negotiations, as they seek to implement reforms and call for new elections without aligning with HDZ. As Croatia navigates political uncertainty amidst economic challenges, the coming days will be crucial in determining the composition of the new government and the country's future direction.

Key Takeaways

  • Croatia's Focus party won't join HDZ coalition, seeks reforms and new elections.
  • HDZ won most seats but lacks majority, faces accusations of corruption.
  • Far-right Homeland Movement holds key role in coalition talks, rejects SDSS.
  • Election seen as test for HDZ before EU Parliament vote, impacts Ukraine stance.
  • Coalition negotiations complex, Croatia faces economic challenges, political uncertainty.