Elections in Croatia: A political shift to the right

After the publication of the results of yesterday's parliamentary elections in Croatia, it can be said that the center-right Croatian Democratic Union Party has become the strongest political force in the country, but it will not be able to form a new government without a new government. Alliance with other parties.

In Parliament (Sabor), which has 151 members, the Croatian Democratic Union won a total of 61 seats. The second best result was achieved by the Social Democratic Party, winning 42 seats. In third and fourth place are two sovereign parties, the National Movement and MOST, with 14 and 11 representatives in Parliament. The fifth is the progressive leftist Mozimo Party, which includes 10 deputies. The remaining seats are divided between members of national minorities and smaller, mostly liberal parties.

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What does all this mean?

First of all, the failure of the political action of President Zoran Milanović. Let us remember that Milanovic announced a month ago that he would run for the position of prime minister as an independent candidate from the list of his former party, the Croatian Social Democratic Party. He also said that after the electoral victory of which he is certain, he will resign from the position of president.

After the Croatian Constitutional Court ruled quite logically that Milanović could not stand for election during his presidency and that he was prohibited from doing so under the constitution, the president did not officially run as a candidate, but participated in the campaign.

This did not help him, because the Social Democratic Party and the progressive Mozimo Party did not have enough votes to form a government with Milanovic as prime minister. This is certainly good news, because he is a politician close to the pro-Russian option in the Balkans, and his tenure as prime minister would lead to instability in Croatia.

It is therefore possible that Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic defeated Milanovic, but now faces the problem of how to form a government. The logical solution is an alliance with the Homeland Movement, the conservative party that has strengthened its position as the third force in Croatia during these elections. But the problem is that a section of the movement believes that the party should not enter into a coalition with Plenkovic, who, in their opinion, is pursuing a pro-Brussels policy and neglecting national interests.

On the other hand, it is clear that Plenkovic himself does not have a good opinion of the movement (the media claim that he considers them “extremists”) and will do everything in his power to avoid such an alliance. The alternative solution is to try to form a government that includes all the voices of small parties and national minorities.

There are more and more dissatisfied people within the HDZ itself, who believe that Plenković's policy is too “pro-European” and want to move away from the direction imposed by the German Christian Democrats (the HDZ is a member of the European People's Party). The leader of this “nationalist” faction is the current Defense Minister Ivan Anusic. These elections confirmed his strength, as he is the politician who received the largest preferential votes, more than Plenkovic himself.

Time will tell how the situation will develop further. We have to wait for Milanovic's next move, who will also try to form a coalition. He is unlikely to succeed, even if he gets the mandates of Most, a party that has sent signals that it is ready for something like this.

However, the elections showed that Croatia remains a largely conservative country. Not only because of the dominance of the center-right, but also because of the assertion of the conservative parties – the Homeland Movement and the Most Party – as forces without which it will be impossible to form a government in the future. In this context, it is important to know that Most's flirtation with the left is merely a matter of short-term strategy, not an embrace of Croatia's leftist programme.

Thanks to these elections, Croatia has shifted to the right, which will certainly be felt in the European Parliament elections.

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