Croatia: Plenković leads the conservatives to victory

The conservative ruling party HDZ has won a clear victory in Croatia's parliamentary elections. It won 68 of the 151 seats, the State Election Commission announced on Sunday night in Zagreb. The opposition Social Democrats (SDP) won 43 seats, with the new nationalist Homeland Movement coming in third with 15 seats. How did Prime Minister Plenković manage this clear victory?

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Novi list (HR) /

The desire for security prevailed

In the coronavirus crisis the ruling party HDZ struck a chord with its election slogan 'Safe Croatia', Novi list surmises:

“The reasons for the HDZ's triumph will be analysed in the next few days, but some things seem certain. For example that many voters supported the HDZ's election campaign motto - a safe Croatia. The situation in the country is difficult. Despite all expectations the coronavirus crisis is not yet over but can be expected to continue beyond the end of the year. Moreover, the virus has caused severe damage not only to the Croatian economy, but to the entire global economy. ... Voters rewarded the way the HDZ and the government have managed the health and economic aspects of this unprecedented epidemiological crisis.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

HDZ has become a centre party

By occupying the political centre Prime Minister Plenković has led his party to victory, says Jutarnji list:

“Plenković's mistakes (slowness) and virtues (persistence) have had the effect of quietly shifting the HDZ towards the centre despite all internal resistance. ... In these elections Plenković has finally defeated his very committed and deadly right-wing opposition and relegated the left-wing opposition to where it belongs in terms of the level of preparation and clarity of its programme: the periphery. As a result he has become, mathematically speaking, the most successful HDZ leader since Tuđman, and the HDZ now has the chance to lead the country continuously for almost a decade.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Folk singer catering to nationalist sentiment

The fact that the nationalist homeland movement led by pop singer Miroslav Škoro will have a say in Croatian politics gives La Stampa food for thought:

“A controversial former singer, a folk music icon who has recycled himself, entered politics and is now the standard-bearer of the most nationalist right, could be the one to tip the scales for the next government in Croatia. ... But who is Miroslav Škoro? According to critics he is a radical who rails against migrants and abortion and dedicates his patriotic songs to former general Ante Gotovina, the hardliner of the Yugoslavian wars who often downplayed the horrors of the Ustasha regime in World War II. He is a figure with whom a large segment of the Croatian electorate which is sensitive to the sirens of populism and nationalism identifies.”