The aftermath of Croatia’s tight election and the looming political horse-trading period

In the wake of Croatia’s recent parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Zoran Milanovic were not the only figures in the spotlight. Preliminary results indicate a diverse range of parties securing seats in parliament, with no single party securing a majority. This outcome points towards an imminent period of intense political negotiations and coalition building to form a stable government. The Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), led by Prime Minister Plenkovic, remains the largest party but has seen a decline in its numbers. On the other hand, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), supported by President Milanovic, has failed to make significant gains. Both major parties may need to seek alliances with smaller parties to secure a governing coalition. However, right-wing nationalist and conservative parties like the Homeland Movement and Most are proving to be hard to win over. Most’s leader, Bozo Petrov, has explicitly stated his party’s reluctance to join an HDZ-led government, advocating for the HDZ’s placement in the opposition instead. This stance complicates the formation of a coalition government. On the other end of the political spectrum, the green-left Mozemo party has ruled out aligning with the Homeland Movement, further straining potential coalition options. President Milanovic, with the authority to nominate a prime ministerial candidate, holds a crucial role in shaping the post-election landscape. With no clear path to a majority government, Croatia faces weeks of uncertainty and negotiations as parties vie for power and influence in a fragmented political landscape.