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By Igor Ilic
ZAGREB Oct 10 Croatia's president named Andrej
Plenkovic, head of the conservative HDZ party, as prime
minister-designate on Monday, with the 46-year-old former
diplomat to lead a coalition government that needs urgently to
tackle a struggling economy.
HDZ won 61 out of 151 seats in a snap election on Sept. 11
and struck a coalition deal with a small centre-right reformist
party Most (Bridge) last week. The coalition also has support
from ethnic minorities which won eight seats.
Plenkovic now has 30 days to win parliament's approval for
his cabinet and must quickly work out a way to spur modest
growth of about 2 percent in order to manage high public debt at
about 85 percent of GDP and unemployment of 13 percent.
"I want to form a cabinet as soon as possible. The work of
the future government will primarily be focused on the economy.
We're now starting serious work," he said after being named, as
Plenkovic secured 91 signatures from deputies, with
additional support not only from ethnic minorities but also from
other smaller parties.
"Plenkovic has proved he has support of a majority of
deputies," President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said.
Highlighting the tough task facing the new government,
Zagreb Economic Institute analyst, Maruska Vizek, said: "Making
the public firms professional and efficient, reform of the
bloated public administration, streamlining of public spending
and improvement of the investment climate as well as work of
judiciary will be the key tests for the government's success."
(Reporting by Igor Ilic; Editing by Louise Ireland)