Croatian president opens formal talks to form government

AP News
Posted: Sep 28, 2016 1:17 PM

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — Croatia's president on Wednesday launched formal consultations with political parties in a step toward forming a new government after a snap election earlier this month.

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic wasn't expected to appoint a prime minister designate immediately after the meetings, which were held amid ongoing post-election negotiations between parties.

The Sept. 11 vote produced no clear winner and it could take several more weeks to form a government.

Grabar Kitarovic said after talks that a new round of consultations will be held on Oct. 10 and that Parliament will convene four days later.

"All parties have been constructive and responsible and have shown willingness to deal with the burning issues in Croatia," Grabar Kitarovic said.

The conservative Croatian Democratic Union, or HDZ, won 61 seats in the 151-member parliament and is widely expected to lead the future government.

The party has opened talks with third-placed Most group, which got 13 seats, and also hopes to win backing from ethnic minorities. HDZ leader Andrej Plenkovic expressed confidence the party will gather the future coalition.

Croatia's previous, right-leaning government collapsed in June triggering political turmoil in the European Union's newest member state and slowing down reform.

Croatia is one of the EU's weakest economies despite some signs of recovery.