Croatia votes to dissolve parliament

World Today

Croatian ParliamentPhoto:

Croatian lawmakers voted Monday to dissolve Parliament, paving the way for early elections after the government fell in a no-confidence vote last week.

The vote was 137 in favor of dissolving Parliament, two against and one abstention.

Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic and his government fell on Thursday after weeks of political deadlock that has stalled much-needed economic reform in the newest European Union member state. Croatia joined the EU in 2013 after fighting a war for independence from Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The ruling right-wing Croatian Democratic Union, which brought Oreskovic to power in January but later turned against him, wanted to form a new government with a new prime minister. Opposition parties, however, collected enough votes in the parliament for the dissolution and the holding of early elections.

Opposition leader Zoran Milanovic described Monday’s vote as a “weak success” for his camp because Parliament had to dismiss itself. But, he added “it was the only way that we could come to the decision on new elections.”

The move takes effect on July 15, and the president is slated to schedule the snap vote, possibly for early September, after the summer holiday. The previous parliamentary election was held last November.

Darko Milinovic, from the Croatian Democratic Union — known as HDZ — said the party is yet to discuss further moves. Milinovic suggested the party leader, Tomislav Karamarko, could resign his post.

“We made the decision, the elections are next,” Milinovic said. “I think the current president of the party will make a decision that will make the Croatian Democratic Union a favorite at the upcoming election.”

Former Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said the parliamentary decision to dissolve means the defeat of the conservative government and HDZ. “One period has ended, what remains is the damage done by this government,” Kosor said.

Meanwhile, Croatia’s President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic met with Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic of neighboring Serbia in an attempt to polish up relations between the two former Balkan war foes as part of reconciliation efforts in the volatile region.

The two leaders pledged to resolve the remaining issues left over from the conflict in Yugoslavia, including the missing, the refugees and minorities living across the borders.

Relations between Serbia and Croatia are key for Balkan stability. They have been strained recently amid political instability and the migrant crisis.

Story by The Associated Press.