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Croatian HDZ Musters New Majority in Parliament

Croatia’s main governing party has fought off challenges to oust it from power after proving it still has a majority in the chamber.
Gordan Jandrokovic. Photo: HDZ.hr

The Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, has remained in power after proving it still has a new majority in parliament and naming one of its MPs as the new chair of parliament, thus avoiding snap elections in June.

On Friday, it proved that it still had majority support by voting in HDZ MP Gordan Jandrokovic as the new chair of parliament.

In the parliament of 151 MPs, Jandrokovic was named chair with the support of 76 votes, with 13 votes against.

Parliament saw a turbulent session on Thursday when the HDZ Finance Minister Zdravko Maric narrowly survived a no-confidence vote initiated by the main opposition Social Democratic Party, SDP.

Later on Thursday, faced with an HDZ motion to remove him as chair of parliament, Bozo Petrov, head of the former junior party in the coalition, Bridge of Independent Lists, MOST, stepped down.

The latest political crisis erupted, when Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic sacked three MOST ministers last week.

It then appeared doubtful whether the HDZ had retained a majority in parliament.

But the HDZ has clung on after assuring the support of a former SDP MP, Tomislav Saucha, who voted against the move to sack Maric on Thursday.

Saucha is under investigation for craft charges as head of the office of former SDP Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, raising questions about whether potential corruption charges influenced his sudden change of opinion; he had previously signed the opposition’s no-confidence motion.

However, the MP said he had voted in the interest of national stability. “Because I support the stability of the work of the Croatian parliament,” Saucha replied, when asked why he supported the HDZ’s new chair of parliament.

Plenkovic’s government was voted into office last October by 91 MPs. Without the support of MOST’s 15 MPs and five MPs from centrist Croatian Peasants’ Party, HSS – which has also stated it will no longer support the government – that majority appeared non-existent.

The HDZ and MOST experienced a similar conflict in the previous coalition government in which the HDZ voted against Prime Minister Oreskovic, causing his government to fall in June last year.

In early elections held in September last year, the HDZ again won the most seats and again formed a coalition government with MOST.