HDZ’s Andrej Plenkovic ready to form new government in Croatia

HDZ’s Andrej Plenkovic ready to form new government in Croatia
The win for the HDZ keeps Andrej Plenkovic in the prime minister's seat. / vlada.gov.hr
By bne IntelliNews July 6, 2020

Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenkovic said on July 6 that he already has the 76 signatures from MPs needed to form a new government. 

The HDZ scored a convincing victory in Croatia’s July 5 general election, increasing its seats in the new parliament, though falling short of an absolute majority. 

The win for the HDZ keeps Plenkovic in the prime minister's seat, promising continuity as Croatia battles with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a deep economic contraction. 

On the morning after the vote, Plenkovic held consultations with representatives of the Croatian People's Party (HNS), its junior coalition partner in the last parliament, the leader of the Reformists and all representatives of national minorities. “They are ready to support the HDZ, to give signatures for the future government. We intend to collect them as early as this week,” the prime minister said, according to a statement from the HDZ. 

Highlighting the need to form a government quickly so as to be able to take decisive action when needed, Plenkovic told journalists on July 6 there was “no time to wait”. 

“We have nothing to wait for, because Croatia and Zagreb do not have time to wait. We want to constitute a new convocation of the Croatian Parliament as soon as possible, form a government and continue to work for the benefit of our citizens. I have said before that everything must be over by August 15, but I believe that in these circumstances it could have been much earlier,” Plenkovic said. 

It was a disappointing night for the HDZ’s main rival, the Restart Coalition led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), which took just 41 seats to the HDZ’s 66, despite the two parties being extremely close in the polls ahead of the vote. 

As the results came in, SDP leader Davor Bernadic said he would stand down. 

The newly formed Homeland Movement, led by folk singer and politician Miroslav Skoro, achieved third place as expected, but the HDZ’s strong performance meant it didn’t have to look to Skoro’s right-wing populist party for support. 

“With such a strong mandate the ruling HDZ received in the elections, the formation of new cabinet under the leadership of HDZ should be smooth and relatively quick. In our opinion the focus of [the] new cabinet will shift to policies targeting measures to revive [the] national economy, which suffered from lockdown and travel restrictions imposed due to [the] COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring that Croatia timely signs the ERM II agreement by the end of 2020 will be another important policy goal for [the] new government,” Raiffeisen analysts wrote in a note on July 6. 

“The outcome of the elections should be positive for financial markets, with more focus on the ERM II convergence play benefiting the HRK and sovereign Eurobonds.”