After inter-party negotiations, which have lasted since election night–November 25th–it looks as though Ivo Sanader, head of the center-right Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ), will finally embark on his second governing mandate, this time as the head of a potentially unwieldy coalition government. The big news, however, is that the elections themselves, and the aftermath, proceeded in a fair and just manner, signaling Croatia’s ever deepening democratization. The Financial Times reports from Zagreb:
“He [Sanader] assured me he has the support of 77 elected parliamentary deputies,” [President] Mr Mesic said. The HDZ holds 66 seats – 10 more than the SDP, yet still 11 short of a majority. Mr Sanader appears close to forming a cabinet with the third-place Liberal-Peasant list and could also, as he did before, bring aboard parties for ethnic minorities, including Serbs.
But he could find himself politically weaker than in the past four years, when he ruled through a minority coalition in which the HDZ retained all cabinet ministries.