Parliamentary Coalition Building Muddles New Government Formation

Bozo Petrov, MOSTLPJ Issue 157, 16 November 2015

Last week, the post-election negotiations between the leading parliamentary parties began after the November elections resulted in a precedent in Croatian political history, with the two leading political blocks each not being able to solely secure a majority of seats in the Sabor necessary to form the future government.

Namely, the centre-right “Patriotic Coalition”, led by the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), achieved a relative victory with 59 seats, while the “Croatia is Growing” coalition, led by the Social Democratic Party (SDP), received 56 seats.

The absolute surprise of the elections was “The Bridge of Independent Lists” (MOST), winning 19 seats. As for other parties/coalitions, the Istrian Democratic Assembly (IDS) won 3 seats, followed by “The Milan Bandic 365” (2), the Croatian Democratic Alliance of Slavonia and Baranja – HDSSB (2), the “Human Shield” (1) and “Successful Croatia” (1).

In order to form the government, 76 seats out of 151 MPs are required. Therefore, it became apparent that without MOST’s votes, both the HDZ-led coalition and the SDP-led group are not able to secure the parliamentary majority. MOST is a heterogeneous assembly of independent locally-based political actors that include academic professors and politicians from both sides of the political spectrum; their ad-hoc programme was drafted just a couple weeks before the election. This makes it difficult to predict how this new group will remain galvanised in their efforts to play the pivotal role in forming the new government; whether they will enter into a post-election coalition and accept an executive government role or support a minority government…

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