Croat Lawmakers Fail to Form New Parliament After Election

  • Failure to agree on speaker raises prospect of new election
  • President to hold next party consultations on Dec. 7

Croatia’s newly elected lawmakers failed to agree on a speaker for the country’s legislature, extending a deadlock following inconclusive elections and increasing the chance of a new ballot.

Former Speaker Josip Leko ended a meeting of lawmakers after the only candidate for his post, a member of the Most party, withdrew his bid. Most, which is playing potential kingmaker after coming in third in the Nov. 8 vote, is pushing for a governing coalition including the ruling Social Democrats and the opposition Croatian Democratic Union, known as HDZ. The larger parties finished neck-and-neck in the vote, and both have rejected the plan and want to lead talks to form the next government.

“The refusal to cooperate on the appointment of parliament speaker shows the depth of division between the two big parties,” Vuk Vukovic, lecturer at Zagreb School of Management and Economics, said by phone. “A new election seems more likely after today’s events.”

With the Social Democrats or HDZ unable to command a majority alone, the deadlock is threatening an economic recovery following six years of recession. Most wants a grand coalition to push through measures to overhaul the economy and prune the size of the country’s bureaucracy, while both of the bigger parties have refused to work together in government.

President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic called for a second round of party consultations on Dec. 7. The constitution doesn’t prescribe how many rounds of consultations there may be before the president must call a new election.

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