Croatia was preparing for tense coalition talks on Monday (September 12) after snap elections.
The conservative Croatian Democratic Union party (HDZ) unexpectedly came out ahead but doesn’t have enough seats to form a government.
Analysts say HDZ’s leader Andrej Plenkovic will need to move quickly to avoid growing anger in a country where unemployment stands at 13 percent.
The HDZ beat the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which leads the People’s Coalition
alliance. SDP won 54 seats. “We are the party that will have the privilege of forming a stable government,” Plenkovic said as he claimed victory early on Monday.
“These are the four basic principles our programme is based on and the principles on which we will build on in the negotiations with the parties who are ready to cooperate with us, and I am sure that following tonight’s victory we will be the party that will have the privilege to form a stable government for the next four years,” added Plenkovic.
Likely coalition partner
Emerging as a likely partner in the future coalition government is the Most (Bridge) party.
Most wants to change how political parties are financed, lower business taxes, and create an Adriatic economic zone — a proposal that would likely need extensive talks with Croatia’s EU partners.
European Union authorities are urging Croatia to address public debts that eat up 3.5 percent of economic output in interest payments alone.
The snap vote was called in the EU’s youngest member state after the previous coalition government collapsed in June. That triggered the biggest political turmoil since joining the bloc three years ago.
Read more: Croatia votes for the second time in a year.