Croatian Opposition Demands Early Elections

Croatia’s main opposition party, the Croatian Democratic Union, wants new polls after EU accession this year, accusing the government of mishandling the economy.“The ruling coalition’s [pre-election] plan was a deception. The governing team is incompetent, unskilled and even conceited,” said Croatian Democratic Union, HDZ, president Tomislav Karamarko in a televised interview as he announced his demand for elections after Zagreb joins the EU on July 1.

The current centre-left ruling coalition, led by Zoran Milanovic’s Social Democratic Party, defeated the HDZ and won elections in December 2011.

But just over a year after it took power, public opinion surveys suggest that most Croatians believe that Milanovic’s government has failed to fulfill its promise to pull the country out of economic crisis.

GDP continued to fall last year, unemployment is steadily rising and no major capital investments are in sight.

Almost three-quarters of the population disagrees with the way the government has been leading the country, recent opinion polls suggest.

However the opposition’s rating is not much better: the HDZ has fallen to its lowest rating in its history, with less than 19 per cent support.

Its former leader Ivo Sanader has been convicted of corruption and is also on trial for creating slush funds for the party using state resources, while the HDZ itself is burdened with internal power struggles.

But Karamarko claimed that the opinion polls were “very relative”.

“In the case of the HDZ, polls usually shows low ratings but election results always prove much better in reality,” Karamarko said.

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