Croatia: ruling party wins parliamentary elections

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's conservative ruling HDZ party has won the parliamentary elections in Croatia. With almost all the votes counted it had secured 60 of the 151 seats in parliament. President Zoran Milanović's social democratic SDP came in second. In third place with 14 seats was the right-wing populist Homeland Movement, with which Plenković may have to form a coalition to stay in power.

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Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

A vote against vulgar politicians

For the Tages-Anzeiger the HDZ owes its victory above all to head of state Zoran Milanović:

“Milanović, who led Croatia into the EU in 2013 during his tenure as prime minister, has irritated many Croatians for years. He criticises Western aid for Ukraine and maintains close relations with the Hungarian populist Viktor Orbán and the Bosnian-Serbian ultra-nationalist Milorad Dodik. His vulgar remarks are even worse than what one might hear in a sleazy Balkan bar. ... On Wednesday the voters showed him the red card.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

President mobilised opponents too

Dnevnik sees a deadlock ahead:

“If anyone can prevent the HDZ from leading the government it is obviously only the HDZ itself, which has become arrogant due to its many years in power and is therefore at loggerheads with practically everyone. [Opposition leader] Milanović, who was once prime minister and received mostly bad reviews, won't be able to defeat it. His behaviour as president is also a double-edged sword. ... Perhaps his camp and his SDP, who hoped that by running for prime minister he would gain new voters, have forgotten that he could also drive those who really don't want him to the polls.”

Večernji list (HR) /

A good outcome for Plenković

Večernji list sees Prime Minister Plenković on course for success despite his party's loss of seats:

“He didn't achieve a repeat of the 2020 election results but he won a challenging campaign in which the odds were stacked against him and he could barely fend off the verbal beatings coming at him from all sides. For a complete victory the most important step is yet to come - the formation of a new government, which would be his third. If he manages this - and his chances aren't bad - he will become one of the most successful politicians in the history of Croatia.” (HR) /

Total failure of the opposition

HDZ's opponents didn't put up much of a fight, Index complains:

“One thing should not be forgotten - the HDZ didn't win because it's good, but because the opposition is for the most part dreadful. They swapped working on the ground for pulling faces on social media and chasing hearts on Instagram and likes on Facebook. Instead of drafting alternative legislative proposals they made comments on X, instead of creating a shadow government with experts they deployed mediocre guys telling bad jokes. On top of that we've been seeing more or less the same boring faces in this opposition for 15 years now. [Opposition leader] Peđa Grbin should resign tomorrow.”