site.btaUPDATED Croatia's Ruling Centre-Right Party Wins Most Seats But No Majority

Croatia's Ruling Centre-Right Party Wins Most Seats But No Majority
Croatia's Ruling Centre-Right Party Wins Most Seats But No Majority
Croatian PM Andrej Plenkovic at the campaign headquarters of the Croatian Democratic Union after winning the elections, April 17, 2024 (BTA Photo/Sofia Angelova)

Croatia's ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won the most seats in Wednesday's elections but fell short of a majority, according to preliminary results from the State Electoral Commission.

The HDZ won 60 seats - six fewer than in 2020 - in the 151-seat parliament based on results from 97.38% of the voting sections, according to data from the Electoral Commission cited by Croatian Radiotelevision (HRT).

The incumbent Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, was greeted with thunderous applause at the party's campaign headquarters in Zagreb.

"The important thing is that the HDZ has for the third consecutive time convincingly won a parliamentary election. In the morning, we are setting about to form a new majority in parliament so as to form our third government," Plenkovic said.

The HDZ will continue its policies of the last eight years, aimed at protecting Croatian citizens from crises, preserving the Croatian economy, and achieving strategic domestic and international goals, he said.

In his words, it is in the interest of the Croatian state and economy to ensure firm political stability, faster formation of a majority in parliament, and formation of a parliament and of a new government.

"Because it is only in this way, in the challenging and substantially changed geopolitical circumstances of the world, Europe and Croatia, that we can guarantee a quality future - both in social and economic terms - for Croatian citizens," he said.

The main opposition party, the Social Democrats (SDP), and its coalition partners came in second with 42 seats.

SDP leader Pedja Grbin said at the end of election night the results were not what the party had hoped for, but they showed that two thirds of citizens want a change. He announced that talks would start on Thursday that will make Croatia a better place, the country's HINA news agency reported.

The right-wing nationalist Homeland Movement was third with 14 seats, the right-wing, MOST, won 11 seats and the green-left We Can! (Mozemo) won 10.

The voter turnout was 62.19%, the State Electoral Commission said.

Given these results, the top two parties will have to negotiate a coalition government.

If the HDZ retains power, the country will stick to its pro-Western course in support of Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

If the Social Democrats manage to form a majority, this could give the party a boost in the upcoming European Parliament elections and the presidential elections at the end of the year. This could also impact the country's foreign policy, as Social Democrat President Zoran Milanovic is critical of the EU and aid to Ukraine in the war with Russia. After scheduling the parliamentary elections, Milanovic announced that he was the Social Democrats' candidate for prime minister.

/DD/

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By 04:08 on 25.05.2024 Today`s news

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