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Croatian president cannot be prime minister, top court rules

by editor

Croatia’s constitutional court ruled Friday that its populist President Zoran Milanović cannot become prime minister, Reuters reported, after national elections handed him a potentially influential role in forming the Balkan country’s next government.

The April 17 election in the EU’s most recent joiner left no party able to form a government on its own, meaning coalition talks will be necessary.

Milanović’s Social Democratic Party came second with 42 seats, compared to Prime Minister Andrej Plenković’s center-right Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which won 61 seats, out of the 151 in the chamber. Plenković has been in power since 2016.

Milanović has gained international attention for his criticism of the EU and NATO, whereas Plenković is seen as a staunchly pro-EU and pro-NATO figure.

Milanović dismissed the court’s judgment, saying that parliament was the only institution able to decide who is the country’s prime minister. The constitutional court had already warned him that he could not run to be prime minister while in his current post, which is a largely ceremonial position.

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