Foreign media on the new Croatian government: Plenkovic’s new Cabinet is likely to push Croatia further to the right

NEWS 10.05.202416:06 0 komentara

Now that HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic has collected enough signatures to form a government, foreign media are writing about the shift to the right in Croatia following the parliamentary election on 17 April.

In the election on 17 April, the HDZ and its partners won 61 seats and the right-wing populist party Domovinski pokret and its partners 14 seats. On election night, however, Mislav Kolakusic of the Law and Justice party left the coalition, followed by Josip Jurcevic of the DP, who decided not to support Plenkovic’s government, leaving the DP with only 12 seats in the 151-seat parliament

On Friday, Plenkovic officially presented President Zoran Milanovic with the signatures of 78 newly elected MPs, two more than required to form a new government. The signatures were submitted by 61 HDZ MPs, 12 MPs from the Domovinski pokret party and allegedly Vesna Vucemilovic, as well as four representatives of ethnic minorities.

New concerns about ethnic tensions

“Plenkovic’s new Cabinet is likely to push Croatia further to the right ahead of next month’s European election, which takes place as the continent faces a war in Ukraine, climate emergencies, migration and other problems,” writes the Associated Press, which describes DP as “a relatively new political party in Croatia made up largely of radical nationalists and social conservatives who had left the center-right HDZ party. The party is led by the hard-line mayor of the eastern town of Vukovar, which was destroyed during Croatia’s 1991 war of independence after it split from the former Yugoslavia”.

AP notes that “for the first time in years, Croatia’s government will not include a party representing minority Serbs because DP opposed their inclusion. That has fueled concerns about ethnic tensions stemming from the conflict in the 1990s.”

Unfair constituencies

Politico writes that “since the April election, complaints have grown that the way constituencies are drawn in Croatia — as well as a system allocating more seats to larger parties in order to reduce political fragmentation — gives an unfair advantage to right-wing and far-right parties”, adding that “many on the left had hoped that firebrand President Zoran Milanovic, whose Social Democratic Party (SDP) placed second in the election, would manage to cobble together a coalition and oust the HDZ from power”

Politico also spoke to historian and expert on the far right in Croatia, Hrvoje Klasic, who said that “Plenkovic made considerable efforts to expel and neutralise far-right figures from HDZ, but now a lot of those who were affiliated with the HDZ are part of the Domovinski pokret.”

Furthermore, writes Politico, “Plenkovic — just like Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni — has since April’s election, placed himself on his HZD’s list of candidates for June EU elections since the April election, ostensibly to gain support for the party.”

Others fear that Plenkovic could accept a mandate in Brussels after the June election, depriving Croatian politics of his moderating influence, Politico reports.

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