Croatian PM Plenkovic announces spring general election

Croatian PM Plenkovic announces spring general election
Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will seek a new mandate for his ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in the upcoming general election. / HZD
By bne IntelliNews March 4, 2024

The Croatian parliament will be dissolved no later than March 22, to pave the way for a general election to be held before the European Parliament elections scheduled for June 6-9, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced on March 4. 

Plenkovic was widely expected to opt for a spring election, rather than a date closer to September 24, the deadline for Croatia to hold its next general elections. Recent polls show that the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is in the lead, followed by its main rival the Social Democratic Party (SDP). 

Plenkovic made the announcement after a meeting of top officials from the HDZ. 

"We made key decisions when it comes to the dissolution of the Parliament and the next elections. The elections for the Parliament will be held before the European Parliament elections, the second is that this will be the last session before the dissolution,” the prime minister announced, as quoted in an HDZ statement. 

The date of the election will be chosen by President Zoran Milanovic. 

Plenkovic expressed confidence about the upcoming election after the HDZ’s strong performance in the previous election in 2020. 

“Our ambition is to repeat the result from 2020. We are full of self-confidence, convinced that based on our successes, we will once again gain the trust of Croatian citizens and continue to increase wages, GDP and employment,” he said. 

He also indicated that the HDZ will continue to work with its current partners. 

Recently, the parliament rejected a motion by the SDP to dissolve the current parliament and trigger immediate elections. 

That followed a series of protests in Croatia, both by specific groups including farmers and judges, and a protest in the capital Zagreb organised by left-liberal opposition parties against the appointment of Ivan Turudic as Croatia’s new chief prosecutor. 

It also comes after several scandals involving members of Plenkovic’s government. Most recently, the prime minister fired economy minister Davor Filipovic and his special advisor Jurica Lovrincevic in December over allegations the two had used their positions to trade influence. The previous month, Plenkovic replaced the then defence minister Mario Banozic after he was involved in a deadly car crash. 

Opposition politicians said they welcomed the decision to hold the election in the spring. 

“The protest succeeded — we are going to the elections! Enough of the corruption, enough of the lies, enough of HDZ!” said a statement posted on the SDP’s Facebook page.

Two conservative opposition parties in Croatia, Most and the Croatian Sovereignists, have already said they plan to join forces for the next general election and are calling on other right-wing parties to join them in order to defeat the HDZ.