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Croatian parliament likely to be inaugurated by end of July

Andrej Plenkovic (Photo HINA/ Damir SENCAR/ ds)

ZAGREB, July 7 (Hina) – Gordan Jandrokovic, the secretary-general of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) which won Sunday’s parliamentary elections, said on Monday that he believed that the 10th 151-seat parliament could hold its founding session this month.

“The HDZ leader (Andrej Plenkovic) will show 76 signatures (of new MP supporting the HDZ), and it depends on the Croatian President when we are going to hold the founding session. I believe that this can happen by the end of this month,” Jandrokovic told the Nova commercial broadcaster on Monday evening.

He said that consultations with President Zoran Milanovic on the Prime Minister-Designate could start as soon as possible.

Commenting on the HDZ’s convincing victory in the election in which it secured 66 seats, Jandrokovic said that the HDZ leader Plenkovic had been given the support not only from the party but also from the Croatian people for what he had been doing.

Jandrokovic also admitted that a challenging period lies ahead for the country and for the ruling party.

“We are seeking partners with the ideologies and programmes acceptable for us and who are ready to assume responsibility for running the country,” he added.

Plenkovic said on Monday he had the necessary 76 signatures to form a parliamentary majority, adding that Croatia had no time to wait.

“Croatia has no time to wait. Zagreb has no time to wait. I have had consultations with all representatives of the ethnic minorities, with the president of the Croatian People’s Party (HNS), Predrag Stromar, and the leader of the Reformists, Radimir Cacic. They are all willing to support the HDZ and give their signatures for the future government,” Plenkovic told the press after a meeting of the HDZ’s leadership, noting that the HDZ had had excellent cooperation with them in the previous term. 

Plenkovic said that everything would be done this week to secure a sufficient number of signatures and seek a mandate to form the new government. “We want the new parliament and new government to be formed as soon as possible … so that we can embark on our new term in office.”

Plenkovic confirmed that he had spoken with President Zoran Milanovic on Sunday, adding that he would call him as soon as he collected the necessary number of signatures to arrange a meeting and move on.

There’ll be fewer ministries

Plenkovic did not explicitly say whether the number of ministries in the new government would be reduced as stated in their election platform. “We’ll see. We have several options. We are still discussing this and we’ll have some more consultations among ourselves. There’ll be fewer ministries than there are today.”

Asked about possible talks with the right-wing Homeland Movement, Plenkovic said he still could not understand why they had insisted on him not being the prime minister, recalling that such conditions had proved disastrous in the case of former HDZ leader Tomislav Karamarko.

“Anyone who in 2020 can repeat the story that proved futile and unsuccessful in 2015/16 and that eventually led to the only early election in the history of modern Croatia, does not understand how government works,” he said.

Plenkovic recalled that he had protected the Homeland Movement from attacks by former Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardic who had called them fascists, saying that he did not think they were fascists. “If they want to change the HDZ, let them all join the HDZ and see how they fare in internal party elections.”

Plenkovic said that they had not discussed possible cooperation with a liberal-leftist coalition comprising the Party with a First and Last Name, Fokus and Pametno (Smart).

Asked what other parties he could talk to about forming a possible coalition if he wanted to increase the number of seats from the present 76, he briefly said: “I don’t have to talk to anyone if I don’t want to. I have enough (seats) for now. I can if I want to, but don’t have to if I don’t want to.”

Bernardic’s resignation logical consequence of poor election result

Asked whether he was surprised by Bernardic’s decision to resign after the poor election result of the SDP-led Restart coalition, Plenkovic said that “politically, that is a logical consequence of yesterday’s results.” 

Plenkovic added that everyone in the HDZ’s presidency and national council expressed their satisfaction with the results of the parliamentary election, recalling that they were leaving behind a term in office that was full of challenges and rises that they had managed to deal with.

Assessing the HDZ’s results as fascinating, he underlined that his party was victorious in nine of the eleven constituencies. Even in the 3rd and 8th constituencies where the leftist coalition achieved a better result, the HDZ achieved a historic result. “The HDZ has never until now won 4 seats in the 8th constituency or 5 seats in the 3rd constituency,” he said.

Plenkovic added that he was a little sorry that HDZ just missed out on an eighth seat in the 10th constituency and needed just a few more votes to win an extra seat in the 6th and 7th constituencies.

He underscored that it was beyond all expectation that the HDZ had managed to win 25 seats more than the Restart coalition.

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