Foreign media: New Croatian govt with a tilt to right, but no big change expected

NEWS 18.05.202413:55 0 komentara
Neva Zganec/PIXSELL

After PM Andrej Plenkovic's third cabinet was voted into office on Friday, foreign media outlets commented that this Croatian government consisting of Plenkovic's HDZ party and a new junior partner, the Homeland Movement (DP), is shifting right, but analysts do not expect major change.

The French AFP described the DP party as a conservative, nationalist right-wing party, and that the DP, the third strongest group in the Sabor, is recognized by its nationalist, anti-immigration and anti-LGBT attitudes.

The news agency recalls that of the 18 ministries in the new government, three will be led by the DP staff, and added that the DP was established in 2020 when also former radical HDZ members joined that newly established party being dissatisfied with the moderate and pro-European policies of PM Plenkovic.

Reuters says that “the Croatian parliament on Friday approved a government dominated by the conservative pro-European HDZ party, led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, marking his third term in the job following a parliamentary election last month.”

The long-ruling HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union), which led the NATO member country of 3.8 million people to join the EU’s Schengen free travel area and the eurozone last year, formed a coalition with the far-right Homeland Movement (DF).

“We want successful, vital, just, sustainable and sovereign Croatia,” Plenkovic told lawmakers presenting the government programme. Of 141 present MPs, 79 voted for and 61 against the government, with one abstention.

“Anti-immigrant DF has campaigned on a platform of defending traditional family values and against allowing the minority Serb party to join any future coalition, raising fears that the new cabinet will be oriented more to the right,” says Reuters.

“But under a coalition agreement between the two parties, the HDZ will keep its ministers of internal affairs and culture, which means that policies in key sectors concerning migrant policy and minority rights will not change, analysts say.”

Minority parties which were HDZ allies previously supported the (new) government, with the exception of the Serb minority party SDSS which DF insisted should be excluded from any future government, Reuters noted.

The Homeland Movement “which entered the government for the first time, will head the agriculture ministry, a new ministry of demography and part of the economy ministry which was split in two departments. The HDZ has kept ministers from the previous government, bringing in only one new face,” the British news agency says.

Analyst: It very much looks like a continuity government with a strong pro-Western, pro-Ukraine stance

“It very much looks like a continuity government, both in terms of its composition and policy priorities, although a slight shift to the right is possible in some areas,” said Andrius Tursa, the advisor for Central and Eastern Europe at the advisory firm Teneo.

“In foreign policy, an HDZ-led government would maintain a strong pro-Western, pro-Ukraine stance,” Tursa was quoted by Reuters. He added that the greatest challenge for the new government will be to tackle corruption, which negatively affects the business environment.

The German DPA agency describes the DP, led by Vukovar Mayor Ivan Penava, as an eurosceptical ultra-right party.

DPA reports that this party has attracted attention with its anti-Serb rhetoric and that its stronghold is in eastern Croatia which was devastated during Croatia’s war of independence from the Yugoslav federation.

The Austrian APA agency says that during a heated parliamentary debate on the new government, the Opposition expressed its concern over Croatia’s shift to the right due to the nationalistic stances of the new coalition partner.

The Opposition also criticised the DP’s anti-Serb sentiment and its stance on the status of women, migrants, anti-Fascism and media freedoms, says the APA news agency.

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