Prime Minister Plenković Expects Hard Cohabitation with President-Elect Milanović

By 6 January 2020

ZAGREB, January 6, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković congratulated Zoran Milanović on winning the presidential election on Sunday, saying he expected a hard cohabitation in accordance with the constitution and law.

"I congratulate Zoran Milanović on winning the trust of the majority of the Croatian electorate in the second round of the presidential election and wish him success in his work. We will work together in accordance with our constitutional powers and the law," Plenković told the press after Milanović, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and several other centre-left parties, won the runoff election against the incumbent president and candidate of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

He added that he would call Milanović to congratulate him on his victory.

Plenković thanked Grabar-Kitarović for her five years in office and her commitment to working for the benefit of Croatia and all its people, strengthening the country's international standing and ensuring the harmonious functioning of all institutions of the state.

He also thanked all HDZ members who had done their best in the campaign so that Grabar-Kitarović would win a second term, as well as all partner parties and their voters for their support to the outgoing president.

Asked if the result of the vote was also a message to him, Plenković said that the HDZ would analyse the election results and why their candidate lost. He said that there were several reasons, recalling that he had said during the campaign in the run-up to the first round that every vote from the right side of the political spectrum that went to Miroslav Škoro, a singer-turned-politician backed by right-wing anti-establishment parties, was a vote for Milanović.

He also mentioned the fact that 4.6 percent of votes in the runoff were declared invalid, adding that this was a huge number. "When people give instructions on how to vote in the second round, they are expected to be mature and responsible. Those were not mature messages," he said alluding to Škoro.

Asked if the HDZ would now go more to the right to win back Škoro's voters, Plenković said that no one owned voters. "Our citizens are smart, wise and responsible, and what is important in every election competition, they should get informed and not fall for sugarcoated lies that abound in politics."

As for pretenders to his position as the HDZ leader, Plenković said that "it is a good position and there are many who crave for it." Asked to comment on the statement by his deputy Milijan Brkić that he would run for the HDZ leadership, Plenković said he respected everyone's ambition and that anyone who wanted to run should do so.

Plenković said that in the three years of his term they had done a lot for the HDZ and its membership, modernising the party and consolidating it financially.

Asked if a grand coalition with the SDP was possible for the next parliamentary election, due this autumn, Plenković said he would do all he could to ensure that the HDZ won the parliamentary election again.

More news about the presidential elections can be found in the Politics section.