Ruling conservatives win elections without majority in Croatia

Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister

© APA | Andrej Plenkovic, Croatian Prime Minister

# 18 April 2024 09:45 (UTC +04:00)

Croatia's ruling HDZ conservative party won the most seats but fell short of a parliamentary majority needed to rule without forming a coalition with other parties, APA reports citing Deutsche Welle.

Croatia's ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) won the country's parliamentary elections on Wednesday with 60 seats — six fewer than in 2020 and not enough to form a majority in the 151-seat assembly.

With results officially confirmed from over 90% of polling stations, incumbent Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will now enter potentially tough coalition talks to form a majority.

"The HDZ has for the third [consecutive] time convincingly won a parliamentary election," Plenkovic told his supporters in the capital, Zagreb, in the early hours of Thursday morning, saying that coalition talks will start immediately.

A center-left coalition led by the Social Democrats (SDP) came in second with 42 seats, a result which SDP leader Pedja Grbin admitted wasn't what the party had been hoping for but which "showed that … people want a change."

He insisted that "it's not over" and that "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."

The right-wing nationalist Homeland Movement was third with 14 seats and could become a kingmaker in coalition talks. Another ultra-conservative party won 11 seats while a green-left party won 10 seats.

"It will be a very difficult negotiating process" to form a new government, political analyst Tihomir Cipek told Nova TV.

Election turnout was back up to 60%, compared with just 47% during the 2020 vote.