Croatia conducts election amid economic crunch and spike in coronavirus infections
ZAGREB (CROATIA) – Croatia held an election on Sunday amid rising coronavirus infections and as the economy took a sharp downturn from the pandemic. The outcome is likely to take through political negotiations to form a new government.
Going by the opinion polls, the ruling centre-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) has had a slight advantage over its main rival, the Social Democrats (SDP). However, neither party is seen being able to govern on its own.
Prime Minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic told supporters this week, “At these challenging times both for public health and the economy Croatia deserves to be led by experienced and responsible people.” He was implying at his two top opponents’ lack of vision and experience.
They are SDP leader Davor Bernardic and popular singer Miroslav Skoro, whose nationalist and eurosceptic Domovinski Pokret (Homeland Movement) has come third in the opinion polls. They came just above 10% support, compared with close to 30% for the two top parties.
Ilija Grlic, a voter from the Zagreb area, said, “My choice is Skoro as I believe his party wants stability and to stop the young people from moving to seek jobs abroad.”
The new government will have the responsibility to contain the coronavirus while at the same time making to restore the economy, It is expected to shrink some 10% this year. Tourism revenues are forecast to come down to 70%.
Kristijan, a teacher, before casting a ballot, said, “I think that the SDP could be a relative winner, but that the HDZ could be the one to eventually form a (coalition) cabinet.”
According to some analysts, the two biggest parties may be forced to come together, as the option of trying to form a stable government with junior partners, such as Skoro’s Homeland or the conservative Most (Bridge) party, may prove to be daunting.
Moreover, both Plenkovic and Bernardic have firmly rejected the idea of a “grand coalition”.
Croatia has recorded a relatively small number of coronavirus infections — 3,000 COVID-19 cases and around 100 deaths reported so far. However, infections have increased in the past two weeks, with the daily number of new cases currently rising to around 80.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.