Croatia’s HDZ, SDP start race to attract coalition partners

Croatia’s HDZ, SDP start race to attract coalition partners
Power struggle between President Zoran Milanovic (left) and PM Andrej Plenkovic continues. / SDP/HDZ
By Denitsa Koseva in Sofia April 18, 2024

The ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the second-largest party in the new parliament, have already kicked off talks with political parties that will enter parliament after the April 17 general election, seeking to secure a majority. 

According to preliminary results the HDZ, the party of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, won the vote but will have 61 MPs, followed by President Zoran Milanovic’s SDP-led coalition with 42 MPs.

The outcome theoretically gives the HDZ a significant advantage, but several parties have already said they would never join a coalition led by Plenkovic’s party. 

Plenkovic said on April 18 he will soon announce which parties will comprise the new ruling coalition led by the HDZ.

“We have already been in contact with some colleagues in the election night and the talks are continuing today. Everything is going well, the winners will lead the Croatian government for a third consecutive term,” Plenkovic wrote in a Facebook post on the HDZ’s page.

He said the party won a third consecutive victory, and did not comment on the loss of five seats in parliament compared to the previous election.

“The feeling is great, a third consecutive victory, no one before us has managed to do that, we are quite convinced at that! We are very satisfied, the ‘myth’ that the high voter turnout does not favour the HDZ has been debunked,” Plenkovic wrote.

Milanovic also claimed that the SDP-led coalition – the Rivers of Justice – has already agreed with several parties on a coalition and will oust HDZ from power.

According to unofficial information from N1, Milanovic has already secured 57 MPs and is in talks with more political parties. Reportedly, Milanovic could get the support of eleven more MPs and then he and Plenkovic will race to attract the eight representatives of ethnic minorities to secure a majority.

Political analyst Zarko Puhovski commented that neither the HDZ nor the SDP can rely on certain support and a snap general election is not an unlikely scenario. However, he said in an interview with N1 that Plenkovic’s party still has more chances to win the race, by attracting the nationalistic right-wing Homeland Movement and the representatives of ethnic minorities.