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Croatia's new parliament to convene Jan. 11

Croatia's new parliament to convene Jan. 11

Croatia's new parliament will convene Jan. 11, the president said Friday, and one of its first tasks will be to vote on a new Cabinet.
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, whose conservative Croatian Democratic Union won the most votes in Nov. 25 elections but failed to win outright, was given a mandate to form a new government.
His conservative Croatian Democratic Union party continued to hold talks with potential coalition partners, but a deal seemed certain that would likely grant Sanader the support of a majority in the chamber. Parliament must approve the Cabinet for it to be installed.
Sanader's party, known by its Croatian acronym HDZ, has 66 deputies in the new, 153-seat parliament. It won support of two more lawmakers and is expected to seal a deal with the coalition of the Liberals and the Peasants' Party, the third largest group, and at least some of the deputies representing communities of ethnic minorities.
HDZ's key rival, the leftist Social Democrats, won 56 seats. They have for long insisted they too could form the government, but seemed to have given it up now.
However, if Sanader fails to win parliamentary support, President Stipe Mesic could ask the Social Democrats' leader, Zoran Milanovic, to form the government. If that fails too, new elections would be called.
Sanader became the leader of HDZ in 2000, after the death of the late nationalist President Franjo Tudjman. He is credited with transforming the previously nationalist party into the pro-Western group that moved Croatia further toward mainstream Europe.
The country, which seceded from Yugoslavia in 1991, is negotiating membership in the European Union and is expected to be the next new nation to join the bloc in 2010.
Sanader's future coalition government _ if approved _ would be much weaker than his current one, which ruled virtually single-handedly. He would also control only a slight majority and face strong opposition from the Social Democrats.


Updated : 2021-03-05 09:23 GMT+08:00