Croatia plans to dissolve parliament on May 18 ahead of election: PM

FILE PHOTO: Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU’s long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

ZAGREB (Reuters) – The Croatian government has proposed that parliament dissolve itself on May 18 ahead of an election in late June or early July, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Thursday.

“The new government will have to work on recovering the economy, and we want to seek another term in office now. The epidemiological situation is favourable,” Plenkovic said.

President Zoran Milanovic must now officially call the parliamentary election. Possible dates for the vote include June 21 or 28, or July 5 or 12.

The most recent opinion poll showed the conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a senior partner in the current conservative-liberal ruling coalition, has the support of 30.2% of voters while the biggest opposition party, the Social Democrats, trail them with 27.8% support.

The poll suggests that the third force would be the nationalist and eurosceptic block Domovinski Pokret (The Homeland Movement) with 10.1% support.

The election was originally planned for the autumn, but the HDZ wants to bring it forward, citing the currently favourable situation related to the coronavirus pandemic. Croatia has so far reported 2,221 cases of the disease with 94 deaths.

Many observers believe the HDZ wants to take advantage of growing support among voters in recent weeks after Croatia managed to bring the spread of virus under control.

Due to COVID-19, Croatia, which relies heavily on tourism, expects its economy to contract 9.4% this year and then grow 6.1% in 2021.

Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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