Coalition Government set to be Formed in Croatia

In a previous post, I noted the relatively democratic nature of the post-election bargaining amongst the various parties, coalitions, and options. Party leaders and other officials assured the public that a new governing coalition would be sworn in before the expiration of the constitutionally-mandated period. This has, indeed, been the case with an 83-member coalition government presiding over the Croatian Parliament’s (Sabor) 153-seat single chamber. The Financial Times reports on some highlights of the new government:

he prime minister, who has governed in a minority coalition for the past four years, secured a slender parliamentary majority through deals earlier this week with the Peasants and Social Liberal parties and the Serb ethnic-minority party.

Other ethnic-minority representatives and a pensioners’ party member bring the new governing coalition to a comfortable 83-seat total.

A Serb member enters the cabinet for the first time as one of four deputy prime ministers, while the new governing coalition also includes the first-ever member of parliament from the Roma minority.

Croatia has a new Government?

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.