Croatia has a New Government Coalition

petrov-i-plenkovic10 October 2016, VG Intelligence Weekly Issue 25

A month of marathon negotiations between the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and Bridge of Independent Lists (MOST) party came to a conclusion on October 7, when the HDZ President Andrej Plenkovic and MOST President Bozo Petrov announced that they had reached an agreement. Since the September 11 general election, the two center-right parties have held five rounds of negotiations to chisel out the make-up of the highly awaited coalition Government.

The path to the final “package” of agreements was a long one. Namely, MOST went into the negotiations with a set of seven demands put forward prior to the elections, as a condition for their strategic support. These demands included changes to the financing of political parties, the democratization of Croatia’s political and electoral system, amending legislation on public servant salaries in local governments, abolition of SME taxes, changes to the foreclosure legislation, introduction of an external audit of the Croatian National Bank (HNB) and the introduction of an exclusive economic zone in the Adriatic Sea.

Last week, as negotiations moved from their demands to the outline of the administration, it became clear that the two parties were close to a deal. According to unofficial reports from the HDZ, the last disputed item on the negotiating table this week was the post of the President of Croatia’s Parliament (i.e. Sabor). In the end, Plenkovic, former MEP and diplomat, agreed to a rotating system, whereby Petrov would hold the position of Sabor President for the first two years of the coalition’s mandate and the HDZ holding the position for the second two years. Speaking to the press on October 7, Plenkovic said there were a few HDZ candidates for the position but he stopped short of floating some names, leaving this open for determination in the coming two years…

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