Croat Lawmakers Dissolve Parliament to Initiate Snap Ballot

  • Government collapsed after months of coalition infighting
  • General elections must be held between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15

The European Union’s newest member is headed to an early election as Croatia’s leaders look to break a seven-month political impasse that has muddled plans to shore an economy emerging from a record recession.

Croatian lawmakers voted Monday to dissolve parliament on July 15, paving the way for a snap ballot after months of coalition infighting last week led to a collapse of the government amid corruption allegations. President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic will pick the date for the snap ballot, which must be held between Aug. 15 and Sept. 15, less than a year after November inconclusive elections.

The motion ended four months of wrangling inside the ruling coalition consisting of the Croatian Democratic Union, a nationalist party known as HDZ, and the smaller Bridge party made up of mayors and independents. It also halted a drive by Tihomir Oreskovic, Croatia’s first non-partisan prime minister, to push through measures to cut public spending and debt as well as asset sales to support the Adriatic nation’s recovery from a record recession.

“We may be looking at another hung parliament after elections in September,” Zarko Puhovski, a political science professor at the University of Zagreb, said by phone. “The good thing is that after this experience, all parties will probably be ready to talk early on about creating coalitions.”

For the story on collapse of the government, click here.

Oreskovic will remain as the caretaker premier until a new cabinet is formed. The yield on the country’s euro-denominated bonds maturing in 2025 slid five basis points to 3.699 percent at 5:32 p.m. in Zagreb.

HDZ was in a dead heat with opposition Social Democrats at 29 percent in an Ipsos Puls opinion poll published by Nova TV on May 26, before the no-confidence motion against Oreskovic was launched. Bridge was third with 7.9 percent in the poll of 962 likely voters, with the margin of error estimated at 3.6 percentage points.

‘‘The reforms prepared and submitted to the parliament by the outgoing Oreskovic cabinet will now probably be stalled,” Otilia Dhand, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence, said by e-mail. “Any meaningful reform drive will be thus postponed until after the new cabinet enters office in the fall.”

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