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News 08 May 17

Croatian HDZ Parliamentary Majority ‘Unlikely to Last’

The latest parliamentary majority put together by the governing Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, is only “tactical”, and snap elections are still very likely, an analyst predicted.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Outgoing parliamentary chairperson Bozo Petrov hands over the position to Gordan Jandrokovic. Photo: BETAPHOTO/HINA/Lana SLIVAR DOMINIC/MO

The HDZ’s wafer-thin new majority in the Croatian parliament - 76 out of 151 MPs in total - is likely to be just a temporary strategy employed by the party to push through legislation, with new elections likely to follow, veteran political Zarko Puhovski analyst told BIRN.

“This is what I would call a tactical majority. The HDZ needed the position of parliament’s chair because it knows that it won’t have a stable majority in the foreseeable future and that means that every Friday, when laws are passed, a new majority for each case needs to be sought in parliament,” said Puhovski.

“And that means they need the parliament’s chair to put certain legal acts up for a vote at the moment when the HDZ finds a majority of MPs to back the act, with the of knowledge which MPs are at its disposal,” he added.

Puhovski suggested that the HDZ will wait for the outcome of the upcoming local elections – first round on May 21 and second round on June 4 – to see if it can form a stable majority.

After a week-long political crisis, the HDZ managed to form a new majority on Friday, naming its MP Gordan Jandrokovic – Foreign Minister between 2008 and 2011 – as the new parliamentary chairman.

By putting together its slim majority, the HDZ avoided having early elections in June.

This was followed by a turbulent parliamentary session on Thursday, when the HDZ Finance Minister Zdravko Maric narrowly survived a no-confidence vote initiated by the main opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP.

The same day, faced with an HDZ motion to remove him as chair of parliament, Bozo Petrov, the head of the former junior party in the coalition, Bridge of Independent Lists, MOST, stepped down.

Puhovski said that the results achieved at the local elections by the opposition centre-left Croatian People’s Party, HNS, will be important.

The HNS may be encouraged by its results to cooperate with the HDZ, either as part of the government or as a party that supports the government in parliament, he suggested.

If this HNS-HDZ cooperation doesn’t work out by late June, he continued, than the HDZ is likely to push for early elections in September.

He predicted however that “a stable majority can’t be formed in the foreseeable future” and that early elections are “very likely”.

The latest political crisis erupted when Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic sacked three MOST ministers in late April.

Plenkovic’s government was voted into office last October by 91 MPs, including MOST’s 15 MPs.

The HDZ and MOST experienced a similar conflict in the previous coalition government, in which the HDZ voted against Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, causing his government to fall in June last year.

In early elections held in September last year, the HDZ again won the most seats and again formed a coalition government with MOST.

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