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Croatian PM declares victory for parliamentary elections

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader declared a victory for his ruling conservative Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) in the parliamentary elections shortly before midnight on Sunday.

Sanader told reporters that he had spoken to President Stjepan Mesic on Sunday evening and told him he expected a mandate to forma government, with which Mesic agreed, the Croatian national news agency HINA reported. Sanader, however, has not yet talked about ruling coalition with Josip Friscic, leader of the Peasant Party (HSS) which, according to preliminary results, is the third strongest party. “Friscic and I have been in regular contact over the past few days, and I believe we will continue to be in touch in the coming days,” Sanader said, adding that the HDZ had had “very creative, sincere and open contacts” with all its potential coalition partners.

According to the latest results of Sunday’s parliamentary election in Croatia, released by the State Election Commission at 23:00 (22:00 GMT), the HDZ won 60 seats in the national parliament, while the main opposition Social Democratic Party won 57 seats. Sanader said that several European statesmen, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European People’s Party leader Wilfried Martens, had congratulated him on winning the election. He cited as priorities of the next government Croatia’s Euro-Atlantic integration, higher living standards, balanced development of the country, completion of infrastructure projects, care for young people and pensioners, and job creation. (