Croatia votes amid political and economic uncertainty

Posted September 24, 2016

After Croatia's State Election Commission counted all the votes from the general election, the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, has emerged as the clear victor with 61 seats.

An initial exit poll in Croatia's early parliamentary election Sunday indicated there will be no clear victor, paving the way for more political uncertainty in the European Union's newest member state.

Croatia had tilted to the right under the HDZ-led government that took over following the inconclusive vote last November.

"We are in the business of uniting, rather than dividing", Plenkovic, who was a Croatian member of the European Parliament, told the AP.

This means that some of the smaller groups could play the role of kingmakers, as was the case with the Most group in the previous government. The HDZ is expected to join up with Most, a centrist party, in parliament.

With Plenkovic's moderate agenda, HDZ could also count on the backing of minorities, notably Serbs.

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Additionally, the nationalist turn of the previous HDZ coalition - along with a spying scandal, a statue of a controversial Croatian figure, and a contentious exhibition in Brussels, to name a few cases - put a strain on its relationship with neighboring Serbia.

Croatia held on Sunday its second election in ten months, with initial figures not substantially differing from the ones of the November 08 vote.

Final results are not expected until later on Monday or Tuesday.

Croatians may have lost enthusiasm for voting a second time in less than a year - turnout was 52 percent, almost 10 points down from the November polls. "Croatia needs a stable government and at this moment we still don't know what that government will be".

Nearly a year of political deadlock has impeded urgently-needed economic reforms, with the economy relying heavily on tourism along the Adriatic coast.

Analysts said that Milanovic's negative campaign and nationalist outbursts pushed away some voters from the Social Democrats.

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President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic urged Croats to come out and vote, saying the country's future is in their hands.

"Our current growth potential is 1.5-2.5 percent, but we need at least 3.5-4.0 percent for new jobs and better living standards", said Raiffeisen analyst Zrinka Zivkovic Matijevic.

"It is now up to us to bring stability into the Croatian state and institutions", Plenkovic said.

The economy, relying heavily on tourism along the country's Adriatic coast, remains one of the EU's weakest despite some recent positive indicators attributed to membership of the bloc.

Morana, who is a 27-year-old teacher from Zagreb, said she would support SDP. Please see our terms of service for more information.

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