Croatia’s ruling conservatives win parliamentary vote

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Croatia’s Prime Minister incumbent Andrej Plenkovic, (center), speaks after claiming victory in a parliamentary election in Zagreb, Croatia, on April 18. (AP)

ZAGREB, Croatia, April 18, (AP): Croatia ‘s governing conservatives convincingly won a highly contested parliamentary election Wednesday, but will still need support from far-right groups to stay in power, according to the official vote count.
The election followed a campaign that centered on a bitter rivalry between the country’s president and prime minister.
The ballot pitted the ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, against an alliance of centrist and left-wing parties informally led by populist President Zoran Milanovic and his Social Democratic Party, or SDP.
With over 90% of the ballots counted, the state electoral commission said that the HDZ won 60 seats in the 151-seat parliament. The SDP got 42 seats. The far-right Statehood Movement was third, with 14 seats, making it a kingmaker in future talks for the next government.
“Starting tomorrow morning, we will start forming a new parliamentary majority in order to form our third government,” Plenkovic said in his victory speech. “I want to congratulate the other parties that were defeated by the HDZ.”
Turnout was more than 50% – a record – hours before the polls closed.
The election was held as Croatia, a European Union and NATO member, struggles with the highest inflation rate in the eurozone, a labor shortage, illegal migration and reports of widespread corruption.
At stake in the race for Croatia’s 151-seat parliament wasn’t just the Adriatic Sea country’s future domestic policies, but also the EU’s unity as it grapples with the instability from Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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