Key Takeaways From Croatia's New Coalition Government
Ruling HDZ teams up with right-wing radicals to form new cabinet

May 24, 2024
Croatia’s parliament has approved the country’s new government, led by Andrej Plenković, the leader of the centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), as Prime Minister. The formation of Plenković’s third government comes after HDZ won Croatia’s recently held parliamentary elections, but fell short of an outright majority in parliament. This has led to a coalition agreement with the nationalist Homeland Movement, effectively the election’s kingmaker.

In the short term, the third Plenković Cabinet is expected to focus on economic and social priorities, including efforts to counter the country’s demographic decline, as reflected by the formation of a new Ministry of Demographics and Immigration. Additional government priorities for the new parliamentary term include modernizing Croatia’s railway infrastructure, increasing investments in the army and police force, providing government support for R&D projects and securing accession to the OECD in two years.

While the inclusion of the Homeland Movement in the new governing coalition suggests a shift towards the right, most local observers agree that the overall centrist course of the country’s public policies will remain largely unchanged – even as the HDZ may offer symbolic concessions to its junior coalition partner. At the same time, the nationalist stance of Plenković’s junior coalition party may prove a point of political tension, not only with the HDZ but also with neighbouring Serbia.

The recent parliamentary elections were the first in a series of electoral contests, to be followed by EU elections in June and Presidential elections later this year. While the former will likely mirror the results of the parliamentary election, the latter could see incumbent President Zoran Milanović, Plenković’s ideological rival, run for a second term in office.
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