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Croatia’s Ruling Party Wins Parliamentary Elections, Fails To Clinch Majority

Croatia may face a period of political instability in future as Croatia’s ruling party won elections without getting the majority

The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Croatia’s ruling party, secured a victory in Wednesday’s parliamentary election, but with fewer seats than in previous elections and without a majority, according to preliminary results.

With 60 seats in the 151-seat parliament, the HDZ fell short of a majority, while a coalition led by the opposition Social Democratic Party (SDP) secured 42 seats, and the right-wing Homeland Movement gained 14 seats.

The election was viewed as a test of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s popularity and his party’s dominance in Croatian politics since the country’s independence in 1991.

The outcome may also influence Croatia’s stance on various issues, including the conflict in Ukraine and relations with the European Union, as Plenkovic supports Ukraine, whereas the opposition does not.

With a slim victory, Croatia may face a period of political instability as the main parties seek alliances with other factions with differing political views.

Plenkovic stated that his party would work towards securing a parliamentary majority to form the government.

The Homeland Movement could emerge as a kingmaker in coalition negotiations, although its stance on backing a particular party remains unclear.

Despite the HDZ’s long-term achievements, such as Croatia’s accession to the EU and economic growth, the party has faced criticism and graft scandals, potentially denting its majority.

On the opposition side, the SDP expressed hope for a better result, as its leader, Pedja Grbin, said, “It is not over. Days, weeks and perhaps months of talks are ahead of us and they will result in the change that will make Croatia a better place. We will start talks as of tomorrow.”

Turnout for the election was reported at 61.83%, and analysts anticipate a more fragmented parliament, leading to prolonged coalition negotiations.

Mario Bikarski, East and Central Europe Analyst at risk intelligence company Verisk Maplecroft, said, “A minority government, either HDZ- or SDP-led, would be even more unstable and unlikely to last its full term.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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