Croatia’s HDZ, Homeland Movement agree on ruling coalition

Croatia’s HDZ, Homeland Movement agree on ruling coalition
Croatian Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic announces a deal between his party and the rightwing Homeland Movement. / HDZ
By bne IntelliNews May 8, 2024

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the rightwing Homeland Movement (DP) have reached an agreement to form a ruling coalition and on the distribution of ministerial seats, the HDZ announced on Facebook on May 8.

Plenkovic will be nominated again for premier, which would be his third consecutive mandate.

The agreement was not unexpected as the HDZ and the DP started unofficial talks on the eve of the April 17 general election. However, the DP said initially it would also start negotiations with the second-largest party in parliament – President Zoran Milanovic's Social Democratic Party (SDP).

“An agreement was reached and in the third consecutive mandate we shall continue increasing wages, pensions, GDP and employment and strengthen Croatia’s international position,” Plenkovic said.

DP will get three ministerial seats – demographic development, agriculture and part of the current ministry of economy and sustainable development that will be split in two new ministries. HDZ did not specify which part will go to the DP.

On May 7, representatives of ethnic minorities also agreed to back Plenkovic’s nomination. The new parliamentary majority will not include the three members of the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), which was DP’s condition to back Plenkovic. This leaves five ethnic minority MPs who have decided to join the coalition.

Although the SDSS will not be part of the official coalition, its MPs, which were until now backing the HDZ, are expected to continue their support in the next parliament.

On April 17, Plenkovic’s party won the election but got just 60 seats – below the 66 seats it had after the previous general election. That posed a tough challenge to Plenkovic to secure the needed majority in the 151-seat parliament.

The coalition agreement, as expected, was not welcomed by the SDP or the other opposition parties, who accused Plenkovic of buying support.

Ivana Kekin from the green-left Mozemo (We Can) movement said that this was a defeat for Plenkovic as he had to enter in coalition with the rightwing DP, until then the HDZ’s opponent.

The leader of the Croatian Sovereigntists, Marijan Pavlicek, said as quoted by N1 that the members of the DP "deserve an Oscar" for their behaviour over the past four years, and accused them of betraying their supporters.

Previously, the DP accused Plenkovic and the HDZ of betraying Croatia. Before the vote, all political parties, including the DP, said they would unite to oust Plenkovic from power.