PM Plenkovic's party wins Croatian vote, 'challenges ahead'

Historic victory by conservatives, Greens get seats for 1st time

06 July, 23:20

    (ANSAmed) - ZAGREB, JULY 6 - ''After this important result, and confidence from the majority of Croatians, starting tomorrow difficult challenges await us for which we are ready to take on the responsibility,'' Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said. Plenkovic leads the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and was speaking Sunday night in reference to their win earlier in the day in the country's parliamentary elections. The conservatives achieved a historic victory, raking in 37.3% of votes. This is only one percentage point more than four years ago but the country's electoral system will now ensure 66 MPs to Plenkovic's party out of 151 total, five more than those obtained in the 2016 elections and the best result since 1995, when the war for Croatian independence ended. ''Today our experience and modern European sovereignty have won,'' commented Plenkovic, who in recent years led his party onto moderate and strongly pro-EU stances. Analysts expect Plenkovic will not find it very difficult to form a stable government coalition, with which the eight MPs from ethnic minorities are likely to join forces. The center-left, united within the broad Restart coalition led by the Social Democrats (SDP), instead suffered a blow and got only 24.9% at the national level, its worst result in over 20 years. Coalition leader Davor Bernardic, in admitting the draft, resigned on Monday from his role as head of the party. ''The SDP is aware of its responsibility, as am I, and I am resigning from the party,'' Bernaric said Monday morning, announcing also that he will not stand as a candidate in the next congress. In third place with 11% was the right-wing nationalist party, while the right-wing Catholic party Most got 7.5% of the votes. The new element of these elections was the success of the Greens, who with 7% became the fifth largest political party in the country and entered the Croatian parliament for the first time. Three small parties also got seats that are in the liberal center, raking in a combined 6.3% of votes. However, the most significant figure of the vote is the turnout: only 46.9%, a 5.7% drop on the 2016 vote. It was the lowest turnout in the history of the country, due in part to the public health emergency following a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. (ANSAmed). (ANSA).

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