ZAGREB May 5 Croatia's parliament elected a new
speaker on Friday, in a sign the conservative HDZ party may be
able to form a new coalition and avoid a snap election after the
collapse of its alliance with the centre-right Most ("Bridge")
A snap election would only delay economic reforms needed to
improve the investment environment and growth prospects in one
of the European Union's weakest economies.
Parliament confirmed the nomination of the HDZ's Gordan
Jandrokovic as speaker after the party submitted 76 signatures
in his favour, the minimum needed for a majority in the 151-seat
house. HDZ has 58 seats in parliament and received support from
other parties and some independent deputies.
HDZ and Most's alliance effectively broke down after Most
supported the opposition in a no-confidence vote against Finance
Minister Zdravko Maric held on Thursday.
Maric survived the motion by one vote, and Most leader Bozo
Petrov then resigned as parliament speaker.
Prime minister and HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic must now
propose four new ministers to parliament to replace those from
Most. A vote on those appointments, likely to take place early
next month, will be a clear test of whether he has secured
enough parliamentary support.
"My idea is to present the new ministers to parliament for
approval after the local (municipal) elections" on May 21 and
June 4, Plenkovic told reporters while on a visit to Vienna.
Parliament breaks up on Friday for campaigning for the two
rounds of municipal elections. An HDZ parliamentary official
said parliament could reconvene on June 7 or shortly before.
Deputies representing national minorities together with
several independent deputies could prove pivotal for the
formation of a new majority.
The government is now without ministers in charge of
internal affairs, the judiciary, the public administration and
energy and the environment.
(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in Vienna; Editing by