Croatia’s ruling coalition lurched toward collapse after its biggest party initiated a no-confidence vote against technocrat Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, threatening a drive to retool the economy and raising the prospect of early elections. Facing dismissal himself in a parliamentary no-confidence vote backed by both the opposition and his ruling partners, Deputy Premier Tomislav Karamarko mounted a counterattack Tuesday, with his Croatian Democratic Union filing for a similar vote against Oreskovic. The measure, which the opposition Social Democrats said they may help push through, can take place on June 15 at the earliest and will bring down the youngest European Union state’s four-month-old government if the premier is defeated. “Considering that the current political groups can’t seem to find a way out of the turmoil, the most efficient and most honest outcome for the country would be snap elections,” Nenad Zakosek, political science professor at the University of Zagreb, said by phone.
The coalition’s disintegration means lost time for a country trying to kindle an economic revival after it lost 12 percent of output in a six-year recession that ended in 2014. It also underscores the trouble that Croatia, which joined the EU in 2013, and the other countries that split in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia are having in overhauling their economies and building political consensus for measures including the sales of state assets and trimming public spending.
While Karamarko said there’s “still room” for his conservative party, known as HDZ, to muster a new majority, the faction and its parliamentary voting-bloc partners control only 59 of the assembly’s 151 seats. Its ruling partners, Bridge, a party comprised mostly by city mayors and independents, and the opposition Social Democrats have rejected joining it in a new administration.