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Conservatives lead legislative elections in Croatia

Photo: Damir Sencar Agence France-Presse Outgoing Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic spoke at the Croatian Democratic Union party headquarters in Zagreb on April 17.

Lajla Veselica – Agence France-Presse to Zagreb

Published yesterday at 7:41 p.m. Updated at 12:40 a.m.

  • Europe

Croatia's ruling conservatives came out on top in Wednesday's parliamentary elections according to partial results. But with slightly fewer seats than in 2020, which suggests difficult negotiations to form a majority.

According to partial results based on the counting of more than 80% of the ballots, the HDZ of outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic would win 61 seats, compared to 66 in 2020. In second place, the Social Democrats (SDP) of President Zoran Milanovic would obtain 42 seats.

Far, in both cases, from the 76 seats needed to govern alone.

“These are not the results we were hoping for,” admitted the leader of the Social Democrats, Pedja Grbin, shortly before midnight. “But we now have days, weeks, maybe months of negotiations ahead of us. Negotiations that will bring the change that will make Croatia a country free of corruption,” he said.

“And it starts tomorrow, with all those who said they would not go [in coalition] with the HDZ. It's time to see if they were lies or if they really want change.”

Andrej Plenkovic had not yet taken the floor to comment on the results as of midnight.

Behind the two major Croatian parties, the nationalist right of the patriotic Homeland movement comes in 3rd position with 13 seats. Next come the ultra-conservative Most, who could win 11. The left-wing environmentalist party Mozemo should have 10.

All options therefore seem open for coalitions.

“It seems clear that we are the third political force in Croatia, and we will talk to anyone who calls us,” Homeland leader Ivan Penava said in the evening. Adding: “all sides are calling.”

“It could come down to one seat,” warned political analyst Tihomir Cipek, guest of Nova TV, in the evening. “It will be a very difficult negotiation process, it will be very difficult to find a common language.”


After a tense campaign in the form of a boxing match between the Prime Minister and the President, long-time enemies of Croatian political life, the time has come to negotiate.

“I will discuss with everyone who wants a Croatia where people do not steal, where there is no looting, where people are not cheated, where people who do not respect the traffic rules — not to mention of the Penal Code — are not appointed to head the national prosecutor's office,” Zoran Milanovic, surprise candidate for the post of prime minister, declared while voting.

The judges may have considered his candidacy unconstitutional as long as he did not resign from the presidency, Zoran Milanovic, a social democrat with increasingly populist overtones, campaigned like a front-runner, and as if nothing had happened, hitting hard on his rival, the outgoing Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, at the cost of numerous outbursts and insults.

“When you deal with thieves and savages who take advantage of their power, you have to react like that, you have to flex your muscles,” he explained.

Corruption has long been the Achilles heel of the conservative party (HDZ), which has most often ruled Croatia since its independence in 1991. Several ministers have had to resign in recent years, marring political life with numerous scandals.

That didn't stop Croatians from voting in numbers — more than 60% of voters turned out, compared to 46.9% in the 2020 elections.

“Security threats”

Sworn enemy of the president for years, the prime minister in office since 2016 campaigned by promising the 3.8 million inhabitants stability and seriousness. While recalling that it was under his mandate that the country entered the euro zone and the Schengen area.

“A lot has been achieved in recent years, but there are always new duties, new challenges, new problems,” he said after voting in the capital, Zagreb.< /p>

“In a geopolitical context that has changed significantly, in the face of security threats, it is important that Croatia is run seriously, responsibly, reliably and that all our citizens are safe,” added Andrej Plenkovic.

A member of NATO since 2009 and of the European Union since 2013, Croatia remains one of the poorest countries in the EU, with an average monthly salary of 1,240 euros.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116